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Cloud Computing on Windows Azure

A Real-World Cloud Case Study and the State Cloud Service Providers

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It’s still cold in San Francisco. No snow today but there are a few “clouds” (sorry).

Posts and articles I saw today:

  • Windows Azure and the many faces of cloud
    “One of the reasons it’s so difficult to satisfactorily define cloud computing is that people have many different needs and expectations from a cloud platform. To start a conversation about cloud — especially one that seeks to evaluate the relative merits of competing cloud platforms — without first identifying what needs are being met is to invite misunderstanding and confusion. So before I come to my analysis of Microsoft’s Windows Azure platform and the hidden danger lurking there for many ISVs looking to embark on a SaaS strategy, I’m going to segment cloud computing into several important but separate categories.” (source: ZDNet)
    • Commentary: This article is an extremely good analysis of Windows Azure and details a series of use cases for companies evaluating Azure as a solution including: “Short-term, overflow or burst capacity to supplement on-premise assets, Cloud-based services and applications that extend on-premise assets with new capabilities, Interim hosting as part of a cloud migration strategy, and, Cloud-based services and applications that replace and supersede on-premise assets.” One way to use Azure and GoGrid together is outlined in this post (with a demo video) where we demonstrate how the GoGrid cloud can be used seamlessly building, deploying and testing applications for Windows Azure.

  • Gartner “Cloud Computing in the Real World” Panel Features Appistry Customer Next Century
    “This year cloud computing is front-and-center at the Gartner Application Architecture, Development and Integration (AADI) Summit in Las Vegas, NV. One of the many interesting items on the agenda this year was today’s no-BS enterprise cloud end-user panel, organized by analysts David Cearley and Gene Phifer, along with the OMG/SOA Consortium. The focus of the panel is on real-world, enterprise-grade cloud computing deployments.” (source: Appistry blog)
    • Commentary: Appistry has been a long-time partner of GoGrid’s. We have a RHEL image that has Appistry already baked into it. It’s nice to get Sam’s analysis (in the form of a case study, albeit from our competitor) of the practical applications of moving physical infrastructure into the cloud. Sam points out how there is a lot of “fluff” around the promotion of Cloud Computing and that actual case studies are the way to cut through the hype. The study talks about how with physical infrastructure costing $80k and consuming 8-14 days of processing time, the same process could be achieved within 12 hours and only costing $130 per run. The same could be done on any Infrastructure-based Cloud with dramatic time and cost savings. It was also nice to see the GoGrid Cloud Pyramid in the graphic.
  • Government Technologist: States As Cloud Service Providers
    “As state CIOs devise cloud computing strategies, they must assess whether their teams can provide services with the same skill and efficiency as commercial providers. Some state CIOs are evaluating cloud computing as the way to provide IT services to state agencies and other groups of users, including local governments and schools. It makes sense for states to go this route, but there’s a right way and a wrong way.” (source: InformationWeek)
    • Commentary: Author John Foley brings up some interesting points here. Do States and Education go with Private or Public Clouds? Or is there a happy medium? It seems that while some items must remain under strict “state” control, others could easily be offloaded to a public cloud. State budgets are in the red now, so plopping down multi-millions of dollars to built their own private cloud is probably not something that tax-payers could swallow very easily. The right strategy I would think is to do a cost-benefit analysis on a gradual move of non-critical/data-sensitive IT infrastructure to a public cloud. The problem here though is that “gradual” is an extremely subjective term. For me, gradual would be over a quarter or two. For state/government, “gradual” means 1-2 years or more. There are many efficiencies to be gained as well as considerable cost saving (that could be invested elsewhere…education perhaps?). One way or another, I agree with Foley in that governments should offload some of the risks and costs onto public cloud providers when implementing their IT strategies.

More Stories By Michael Sheehan

Michael Sheehan is the Technology Evangelist for Cloud Computing Infrastructure provider GoGrid and ServePath and is an avid technology pundit. GoGrid is the cloud hosting division of ServePath Dedicated Hosting, a company with extensive expertise and experience in web hosting infrastructure. Follow him on Twitter.

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