Cloud Hosting Leaders – Strengths and Weaknesses

Cloud computing has been one of the biggest buzzwords in virtually every application of technology during 2011. No longer just IT jargon, cloud computing has evolved to become a staple in virtually every vertical of business. From test development sandboxes, web hosting, and fully managed:  email, contact management, invoicing, document collaboration, and more; cloud technology is has become a staple in every aspect of business.

When it comes to picking a cloud host for your company there is one key point to keep in mind before picking a provider. That point being cloud hosting differs from traditional hosting heavily due to maturity. Cloud hosting is still a rapidly developing field and therefore is an environment filled with vendor lock-in due to proprietary environments. While this is not a reason to avoid cloud technologies overall, it illustrates the importance of realizing the strengths and weaknesses of a host before placing your entire budget into one provider. Depending on your needs, a combination of vendors might prove best.

To help simplify picking a cloud vendor, below is a short piece of providing an overview of five cloud computing leaders outlining their key aspects and strengths along with weaknesses. ]

Amazon.com

Amazon.com has always been known for their innovations in ecommerce but recently Amazon’s Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2) has allowed them to deeply penetrate the high-performance computing vertical. Despite their notable data center fiascos during 2011, Amazon holds the position as the most innovative company in cloud computing.

Strengths:

  • Has the largest pool of computing capacity
  • Cost effective offerings
  • Strong partner ecosystem
  • Flexible API which is supported by many 3rd parties

Weaknesses:

  • No managed plans means that clients must have their own expertise on hand to handle the servers

Conclusion:

  • Overall, Amazon.com is ideal for projects with highly variable scaling and self-managed cloud hosting for testing and development

Softlayer

Softlayer is another industry leader which focuses on highly standardized infrastructure which can be provisioned very rapidly to meet the needs of even the most complex project. Unlike many other providers which commonly share hardware between cloud clients, Softlayer provides clients with dedicated hardware for their projects.

Strengths:

  • Standardized infrastructure which can be provisioned very rapidly
  • Emphasis on cloud flexibility and agility
  • Provide dedicated cloud hardware to clients

Weaknesses:

  • Rigid support policies mean customers are limited to standard configurations if they need managed hosting

Rackspace

For clients needing excellent customer service and a diverse set of solutions to meet their project needs, Rackspace is the vendor most likely to be a solid fit. Long known for their excellent traditional hosting services, Rackspace has been making the transition to the cloud without missing a beat in overall quality.

Strengths:

  • Industry leading customer service and support
  • Excellent managed plans
  • Below market pricing for complex managed packages
  • Helped greatly with unifying the cloud by open sourcing their cloud software stack (Open Stack)
  • Ability to use their software to roll a cloud system on your own hardware, and still receive expert support

Weaknesses:

  • Managed cloud packages are below enterprise level
  • As Open Stack has recently been released it does not yet have as much of a proven track record as other systems

Media Temple

A boutique web hosting company which specifically focuses much of its advertising on websites for content creators and creative professionals Media Temple provides an excellent array of affordable performance cloud solutions that won’t break the bank.

Strengths:

  • By focusing heavily on creative professionals and companies, Media Temple’s packages are commonly a good fit for A/B website testing where the costs of a full performance solution are not justified
  • A great provider for testing micro sites and landing pages and other short term projects due to the plans rarely requiring contracts
  • Media Temple’s pricing is much lower than the packages offered by the other industry leaders making them an ideal fit for companies just breaking into cloud hosting, or want a reputable budget friendly host

Weaknesses:

  • As Media Temple uses Parallels for virtualization, it is not an ideal platform for enterprise projects
  • Media Temple’s hosting is analogous to “a shared host on steroids” meaning that while you do have cloud hosting, support and performance are significantly lacking when compared to the industry leaders

SunGard

SunGard is best known as being one of the largest enterprise IT solutions providers in the industry. In particular SunGard focuses only on enterprise systems. This focus has made them a leader in the space for clients who have very complex custom systems.

Strengths:

  • By focusing heavily on enterprises, SunGard is able to handle complex projects much more easily than most other vendors which have a more general focus
  • By having a conservative approach to their infrastructure SunGard is able to handle long term and legacy projects easily
  • Pricing for their services is at market averages

Weaknesses:

  • Customer service at SunGard is below market average levels
  • By having a conservative approach to their infrastructure, SunGard does not offer as many features as other vendors
  • Additionally the conservative hardware approach limits agility which can be crucial for projects operating under a rapid development cycle

We are keep updating cloud computing technologies

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