Amazon claims 400,000 web services users

An industry insider on the brink of Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) business unit told us the corporate claims to possess 400,000 customers using its web services offering.AWS includes EC2, the compute-on-demand offering, S3, the hosted storage service, SimpleDB for hosted databases, Simple Queue Service (SQS) a channel for developers to store messages and CloudFront, which may be a content delivery network. In conversations with IT users, it’s clear they're curious about these services, but need more reference cases on the way to use it. an excellent success story goes an extended way During a webinar on cloud computing today, James Staten, principal analyst at Forrester Research said enterprises need more transparency from EC2 to point out that it can meet SLAs. “The predictability [of the service] isn't ok for business,” he said, noting that EC2 had two lengthy outages in 2008. virtualization technology small businesses and gaming and entertainment companies are the most important adopters of EC2, he said.

 the previous can’t afford to create their own data centers, while gaming and movie companies require extra infrastructure around the release of the latest games and films, which may be set up and torn down as required. Staten said enterprises are using cloud services like EC2 for R&D projects, quick promotions, partner integration and collaboration, and new ventures. He involved more companies to share how they're using these services and recommended that IT shops begin to experiment with it. Staten suggested endorsing one to 2 clouds as “IT approved” and establishing an indoor policy for using these services. cloud technology He urged IT organizations to let cloud providers know what you would like and what’s more important to you? Secure enterprise links, standards, SLA expectations, levels of support (24/7 phone support, for instance )? My guess would be all of the above. If you’d rather, I can hammer on the vendors, so let me know.

Amazon has not publicly discussed much detail about its customers and the way they're using AWS. as an example, of those 400,000 users, what percentage are using EC2 and S3, just S3 or simply EC2? Is anyone using SimpleDB or CloudFront yet? what percentage of those users were one-time customers? My hunch is that 400,000 number includes any customer that has touched AWS no matter whether or not they are still using it. Cloud computing providers choose XenServer over XenToday most cloud computing providers use the open-source Xen hypervisor as their virtualization backbone. But users may increasingly gravitate toward commercial options -- a number of which, in fact, are supported Xen's open ASCII text file -- like Citrix XenServer. These offerings provide out-of-the-box capabilities and attractive management features that users have deemed well worth the price. As more providers enter the cloud, they too may choose a packaged hypervisor that facilitates management tasks and alleviates the burden of writing code with open-source Xen. Consider Singapore Computer Systems (SCS).

 information technology education A channel partner of Citrix Systems and therefore the managed service provider for grid computing services for Alatum, Singapore's largest commercial grid computing platform, SCS recently chose Citrix XenServer virtualization and support for its Platform as a Service offering. Why XenServer?  SCS' grid infrastructure is made on a scalable and redundant architecture and promises 99.9% availability. it's quite 2,400 CPU cores and 16 TB of usable storage to support thousands of consumers simultaneously, consistent with Lim Jee Yen, the director of grid computing at SCS. so far the corporate has deployed XenServer on 200 physical servers with between four and eight virtual machines per physical server, Yen said. SCS chose XenServer over open-source Xen primarily because it wanted a server virtualization product with features and benefits inbuilt, Yen said via email. One such advantage of XenServer over open-source Xen is that the management console, XenCenter, which provides SCS control of and visibility into its virtualized resources, Yen said.

 SCS couldn't disclose what proportion it invested in Citrix, but the corporate uses XenServer Enterprise Edition, which starts at $1,599 for an annual subscription license per dual-socket server. So, on 200 dual-socket servers, the entire cost of XenServer Enterprise edition at asking price would cost the corporate about $320,000 (in U.S. dollars). The price of XenServer was cost-effective for SCS due to the hypervisor's included features -- like shared-storage repositories and server resource pools, live re-location, high availability and disaster recovery – all of which are standard features of XenServer Enterprise, Yen said. "XenServer helps in accelerating our speed to plug, besides its strong support and training services from Citrix, which are all important to the Alatum consortium," he said XenServer suits cloud SCS could also integrate XenServer with its existing management software through programmable Web services-based application programming interfaces (APIs) and scripting technologies. Further, XenServer also supports management APIs supported the Open Virtualization Format (OVF) created by virtualization providers and accepted by the Distributed Management Task Force, or DMTF.

Standards-based virtualization is vital to cloud providers because eventually, it'll enable seamless movement of applications and data from one cloud environment to subsequent, Charrington said. OVF, for example, standardizes the means to package and distribute virtual machines across different platforms. SCS also found Citrix's support of cloud providers and its plans to make an ecosystem of cloud-based partners attractive. "This open, partner-friendly strategy helps partners like us to supply value-added security, high availability and multitenant services that allow our customers to profit within the end of the day," Yen said./ SCS's need for a billboard virtualization platform and its willingness to buy built-in features is an example of what Gartner Inc. VP and distinguished analyst Tom Bittman recently cited as a trend as cloud platform providers become more ubiquitous. "They won't want to write down their own software using Xen; they're going to want to shop for software, which is where companies like Sun Microsystems, [VMware and Citrix] could make a play," Bittman said.

No hypervisor leader in cloud 
Still, despite Citrix's benefits, no vendor has yet made a reputation for itself because the de facto virtualization platform for cloud computing, and no cloud software suites are designed for cloud environments. This stands in contrast with enterprise IT environments using virtualization (i.e., VMware Virtual Infrastructure). "Neither commercial nor open-source virtualization platforms provide an entire solution for up-and-coming cloud providers, so companies trying to enter this market have significant development and integration hurdles to beat ," said Sam Charrington, the vice-chairman of product management and marketing at the St. Louis, Mo.-based cloud application platform provider Appistry Inc.
That said, cloud platform providers typically choose either open source or commercial virtualization technologies supported factors like the speed with which they have to urge up and running, Charrington said.

"In cloud computing and virtualization," said Charrington, "choosing between open source and commercial offerings means trading off between speed to plug, features, support and development costs on the one hand and up-front licensing fees on the opposite. during a fast-moving market like cloud computing, many organizations will prefer to jump-start their efforts by going with a billboard offering," said Charrington, who works closely with cloud providers. During VMworld 2008, VMware introduced its vCloud initiative, aimed toward helping managed service providers become cloud platform providers. At an equivalent time, Citrix announced the cloud platform Cloud Center, or C3, alongside the discharge of XenServer Cloud Edition. For companies with data centers, the main advantage of outsourcing to cloud environments is that it gives them how to proportion quickly without investing in new hardware and software. Many cloud computing providers like SCS charge customers on a per-usage basis.

"There could be areas of my business I do not have economies of scale for, so I can outsource certain portions of the business," said, Bittman. "For example, SmugMug [a photo-sharing website] uses Amazon EC2 for peak loads and keeps the fixed-load stuff in-house," said Bittman. The new self-service portal is vital to the offering and to enterprises' acceptance of cloud computing generally, said Bryan Doerr, Savvis CTO. They caught a glimpse of self-service through cloud offerings like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), and need an equivalent thing from their enterprise-class hosting providers. The degree of control [offered by EC2] is extremely empowering and our customers are asking us for an identical model," Doerr said. T-Systems, another VMware vCloud partner, said it's getting easier to influence customers to run on shared infrastructure. years ago, convincing customers that they ought to run on shared infrastructure was a troublesome sell," said Dr. Gregory Smith, the vice-chairman of technical deal solutions management.

 "Now, the acceptability of doing that's almost a non-issue. I tell them 'I'm getting to run you on shared infrastructure,' and that they go 'OK.'" That's because utility models like T-Systems' Dynamic Compute Platform are nearly always cheaper due to shared infrastructure and since they're purchased during a "pure pay-as-you-use model," he said. "Everybody loves that." Mike Casullo, the CIO at high-speed satellite Internet provider WildBlue, exemplifies this new breed of cloud-friendly IT professionals. the corporate recently signed with Skytap, a cloud provider that gives virtual environments for test and development purposes. For a flat fee of $3,000 per month, WildBlue's test and quality assurance engineers gain access to any number of virtual machines. Compared with maintaining test and development hardware internally, "it's much faster, and it's less expensive," Casullo reports. within the past, "we've spent millions trying to clone these environments."

Nor does Casullo have any compunction about using the underlying shared infrastructure. "I'm all about Software as a Service [SaaS], outsourcing, colors." In fact, provided Skytap could deliver the proper service-level agreement, "most of the items I run in production I might feel comfortable running on Skytap."Cloud computing creates software testing challenges "cloud" promises to make new opportunities for enterprise developers also as for suppliers offering services and tools for this new paradigm. For testing organizations, there'll be both new challenges and new tools for answering what Soasta CEO Tom Lounibos calls the one key question: am I able to go live? Testing all the layers — from your application to the cloud service provider — are some things testers will need to become efficient in," said Vik Chaudhary, vice chairman of product management and company development at Keynote Systems Inc. in San Mateo, Calif.

According to marketing research firm IDC, spending thereon cloud services is predicted to grow nearly threefold, to $42 billion by 2012. Cloud computing also will account for 25% of IT spending growth in 2012 and nearly a 3rd of the IT spending growth in 2013, IDC projected. IDC makes a distinction between "cloud services" and "cloud computing." Cloud services, consistent with the marketing research firm, are "consumer and business products, services, and solutions that are delivered and consumed in real-time over the web ." In contrast, cloud computing as defined by IDC is that the infrastructure or "stack" for development and deployment that permits the "real-time delivery of products, services, and solutions over the web ." Chaudhary explains the shift: "Enterprises like Schwab, Travelocity, etc. are deploying their own data centers for years. The challenge was to manage highly scalable applications and the way to make sure of the simplest experience. Legions of individuals were employed by these companies to monitor/test/add servers, etc."

What's happening more recently with new cloud infrastructure like Google App Engine, he said, is that organizations can run their applications on Google's infrastructure.
 That means the bar to deploy applications within the cloud is such a lot lower. you do not need to have data centers or ops teams; you'll specialize in building the appliance and therefore the functionality. it is a paradigm shift in application development," he said.