Micro Instances Do Not a Web Host Make

Amazon’s announcement of Micro Instances this week ist great news for web sites who need a lower-capacity intense type for simple operations or low-volume processes. Some people have equated Micro Instances with a VPS model, or specifically as competition to traditional mass market web hosts.

A small instances is not an offering that replaces a web host.

Is there pushbutton deployment of WordPress or Drupal? No.

Can you provision a FREE MySQL database as part of the service? No.

Is there an easy to use cpanel-like front end? No. Do they have reseller accounts? No.

Do they offer built-in POP, SMTP, mailboxes, FTP and other standard web host services? No.

You have to install all of that software manually, configure it, and make sure it stays running. Godaddy does this for you, for $4.95/month.

It’s nice they have a cheaper option, but this doesn’t change Amazon’s fundamental service one iota.

Amazon Named “CloudBzz Innovator of the Year”

2009 has certainly been a cloudy year.  The sheer volume of real innovation somehow makes all of the hype worthwhile.

amazonnumber1-b

While there were many companies doing interesting and innovative things in the cloud – Microsoft Windows Azure could be a strong 2010 contender – the decision on who wins for 2009 is no contest.

Amazon gets the CloudBzz “Innovator of the Year” award with a never-ending stream of great stuff that only seemed to accelerate as the year progressed. Here are just some of the great announcements out of the big river in 2009:

JanuaryManagement Console makes it easier to manage your instances.

FebruaryIBM Adds DB2/WebSphere AMIs and starts endorsing AWS for the enterprise.

March Reserved Instances results in lower pricing, Eclipse support is added to make it easier for larger Java projects.

April – Hadoop support is added as Elastic MapReduce which builds on one of the most strategically powerful ways enterprises can use AWS, IBM support is productized with a range of offerings.

May – In a big move that impacted RightScale, Amazon added a host of needed features including auto-scaling, load balancing, and real-time instance monitoring with CloudWatch.  Recognizing the limitations and costs of moving terabytes into AWS over the Internet, physical data transfer is supported for customers with large data sets.

June & July were pretty slow – minor announcements only.

August – beyond dropping the prices for Reserved Instances, the Virtual Private Cloud announcement shakes up the enterprise cloud market.  They also make some nice moves in security with rotating credentials and multi-factor authentication.

September – mostly upgrades to earlier releases, though their Solution Providers Program is a nice boost for partners.

October – Amazon announced lowered the pricing for EC2 instances (price war heats up), added instances with high (though not really high) memory, and my favorite announcement of the year (closely beating VPC) — Relational Database Service.

November – Amazon got their SAS70 Type II audit done (big whoop), expanded into Asia, and added a .NET SDK to counter Microsoft Windows Azure.

December pricing changes, EBS-based EC2 boot, and  a few other announcements were nice, but EC2 SPOT INSTANCES really shakes things up. In addition, Virtual Private Cloud moves to unlimited beta (previously limited beta).

Cloud BI & Amazon VPC – Low Hanging Fruit for the Enterprise

Today RightScale did a webinar on their Cloud Business Intelligence offering with Talend, Jaspersoft and Vertica.  One of the bigger objections to cloud BI in the past has been security — how can I move all of this mission critical data to a public insecure cloud?

With Amazon VPC now in the picture, the BI datasets are now as secure at Amazon as they are in your data center.  Why wouldn’t you use the cloud for your BI needs?

Cloud Computing Announcement of the Year – Amazon Virtual Private Cloud!

amazonnumber1-bLast night Amazon announced the most significant cloud development of 2009 – the Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). The AWS Developer Blog version is here.  The importance of VPC cannot be overstated.  It will literally change how enterprises think about public cloud providers and the opportunity to gain efficiency and flexibility in datacenter operations.

By integrating with the security, governance and compliance infrastructures of enterprise IT, VPC eliminates one of the primary barriers to cloud adoption for mainstream business computing. Sure, there are still going to be issues, but this was the big one.

I won’t rehash all of the offering details here.  You can read them on Werner Vogels blog and TechCrunch.

The hybrid cloud is a reality.  You can now integrate your internal fixed IT infrastructure with large external clouds with a high degree of integration with enterprise tools. VPC allows you to assign IP addresses, create subnets, and connect your existing data centers to Amazon using secure VPN technology. Sure, this is not the same level of connectivity via dedicated secure lines that most big outsourcers provide, but it’s pretty strong and many very smart people (including Chris Hoff at Cisco) are bullish from a security perspective.

VPC_Diagram

I will think about this a bit more, but Werner Vogels makes the claim that “private clouds are not clouds” mainly because they are not truly elastic.  There may be some benefits to using Eucalyptus or VMware’s vSphere in your data center, but you still need to buy hardware and install it and that’s not cloud computing according to Vogels.

One thing that’s certain, the game has changed – again!  Amazon’s VPC is far and away the most significant cloud computing announcement so far this year, and I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that on December 31 it will still hold that distinction.

What do you think??

Deep Data from InfiBase

Update: InfiBase has ceased operations, but the analyses they are providing may continue.  Stay tuned.

A stealth start-up called InfiBase has published some very interesting data on their blog recently. It makes me want to know more about them, so if you have the scoop let me know.

First, they have put out two posts on sites using Amazon EC2, with other cloud providers included in the last posting earlier this month. Here is their chart showing the top 500,000 sites by cloud providers.  Note how close Amazon EC2 and Rackspace CloudServers (based on Slicehost) are in this ranking.

cloud_providers5
Source: InfiBase

I was interested to see Joyent in third place, well ahead of both Google and GoGrid, and I wonder what this might look like a year from now.

In another post InfiBase performed a deep dive into the processing dynamic of various EC2 instances, including which processors are being used and how they stack up.  Here is just one of their great charts which shows that AMD processors are used at the low end of EC2 while Intel takes over at the very high end.

amd_intel_processor_by_instance1
Source: InfiBase

With the data they are previewing in their blog (see the full posts there), I am intrigued.