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Introduction to Cloud Services

Cloud services are one of the most over-hyped marketing and buzzwords these days.  Its seems like every company that has a web site is calling themselves a cloud service provider.  Although, once you get past the hype, and understand the technology it's very impressive in what it can deliver.

Cloud services are a game changer, they will shift the foundation of how web applications are built, supported, and delivered to customers.  They will help lower cost, provide faster times to market for application developers.  While providing organizations with a way to quickly deploy applications and services to their employees, while reducing cost.

Below is a high-level list of the three distinct types of cloud services:

Challenges of Cloud Computing

Cloud services comes with a lot of promises of lower cost and rapid development/deployment cycles, but this technology doesn't come without its issues. 

Below is a high-level list of some of the technical and administrative challenges that any organization will face when deploying this technology:
  • Managing the security infrastructure
  • Application development paradigm changes
  • Infrastructure paradigm changes
  • Managing the vendor relationships and billing
  • Vendor lock-in and service availability issues
  • Compliance and regulation challenges

Cloud Providers Profiles

Below is a brief list of some of the top cloud service providers, and a short description of their service offerings.

Windows Azure
Type: PaaS
Description: A platform of various on-demand services to build and host web applications in Microsoft-managed data centers..
  • Windows Azure: Run your web applications and services in the cloud.
  • Windows Azure AppFabric. A set of services that provide core capabilities.
  • SQL Azure: Transactional database based on Microsoft SQL Server.

Microsoft Office365
Type: SaaS
Description: Hosted Microsoft Office services delivered over the Internet.
  • Exchange
  • SharePoint
  • Lync

Google Apps
Type: SaaS
Description: Google web  applications targeted at businesses, and host in Google-managed data centers.
  • Gmail
  • Google Groups
  • Google Calendar
  • Talk
  • Docs and Sites

Google AppEngine
Type: PaaS
Description: A platform for developing and hosting web applications in Google-managed data centers.
  • Can host web based Python and Java applications.

Amazon Web Services
Type: IaaS
Description: A collection of Amazon's web-based cloud computing platform services.
  • Amazon EC2
  • Amazon S3

Rackspace Cloud

Type: IaaS
Description: A collection of Rackspace's web-based cloud computing platform services
  • Cloud Servers
  • Cloud Files
  • Cloud Sites