web hosting media

martin-adreev-vp-operations-host-color“We do not consider “Cheap” as an option even in our marketing campaigns”, explains Martin Andreev a VP of Operations of HostColor.com, a well-known middle-sized web hosting provider. He adds that his company can not be found in any Search engine by keywords like “cheap hosting” or “cheap web hosting”. The company he runs has been around for more than 12 years and it’s managing team has been part of the rapidly changing web hosting industry. We are speaking to Martin about Host Color’s business and about his view about hosting industry’s developments.

Hi Martin, good to have you here. If you have to describe Host Color with a few words, what would you say? Is it a “Shared Hosting provider”, is it a “cheap hosting provider” or anything else?

It is my pleasure to do this interview for B10WH. Thank you for the opportunity. Speaking about Host Color I would say just “Quality Web Hosting”. It could be also “Shared Hosting”, “cPanel Hosting” or “Quality Dedicated Hosting”, but not “cheap”. I don’t understand “cheap” as “low in price”. In web hosting “cheap” does not refer to the price. It refers to unreliable. I know that many people would disagree with me, but just take a look any of those “cheap hosting” offerings. They are not based on the stability of the hardware systems, redundancy of the network or on how does the hosting company’s support work. All they say to customer is “you can get it cheap”. And “cheap” means a lack of standards. Cheap means that someone got a budget server or even a desktop computer with one hard drive and put a few hundreds of virtual hosting accounts on it. This is exactly what any reputable web hosting company must not do!

“Cheap” is not an option for Host Color. Nothing is cheap and  we do not do cheap. We do “low cost”, Quality Shared Hosting, VPS and Dedicated servers. Hope that this answers your question, despite that I would not use such words to describe Host Color’s business.

What would you say then?

It is on our website. We say we do “Web hosting about people, not about websites”.

How important is Shared Hosting in your customer portfolio?

It is quite important. Our company entered into the web hosting market as Shared Hosting provider in 2000. I wasn’t named Host Color at that time, however. HostColor.com was registered in January 2002. We started with dedicated servers hosted in what was RackShack, at the time, a company based out of Houston, Texas, that doesn’t exist anymore (It entered to mergers to become part of ThePlanet). What I know from those who founded Host Color that it wasn’t a reliable dedicated server provider so we moved quickly to set up our own IT hosting infrastructure in South Bend, Indiana.

Why Indiana? It doesn’t sound like a popular location for a web hosting provider?

It is very good however! We are very close to Chicago (the ping time is 4.5 ms) and the location works great for all American customers, no matter they are from East coast, West coast or live in the central states. It is great location for Canadian customers as well. The RTT (Editor’s note: Round-trip time) is low for Europe and Asia as well.

You claim to offer redundant network. Which provider do you have?

We are connected to Level3, Cogent and to Internap through a local ISP. We are also working to add two more provide or quality bandwidth in Q1 – Q3 of 2013. One would provide access to European peering to our customers, while the other one would shorten the RTT to Asia. We are also using a few smaller IP bandwidth providers which operate in Midwestern U.S.. Our network is reliable and we guarantee 100% network uptime in our Service Level Agreement. Most of our Shared and Dedicated servers customers are currently enjoying more than 1300 days up-time. However I should say that there is more to be done and we are working on it.

I saw that Host Color manages customers’ accounts with a control panel named NextColor. I wasn’t able to find anyone else to using that one. Tell me more about it. Is it a proprietary technology?

Yes. We developed it in 2003 – 2004 and it was one of the best server automation software on the market at the time. However we decided not to release a commercial distribution and to use it in-house only. This wasn’t the best decision for other control panel itself, because we did not work hard to update it the way commercial hosting automation panels are updated. So in 2010 we have decided to migrate all customers of ours to cPanel/WHM. We still have a few thousands of customers on NextColor, but we decided to migrate to cPanel. I know that we have plans to rebrand our control panel and to release a commercial version, but this would happen in 2013 – 2014.

Why? Do you say your control panel isn’t good enough?

I don not say that! It is an excellent web server automation software. It is stable, secure and easy to use. However we are not a software producer. We are a web host and we decided to focus in providing high quality web hosting, not in developing a hosting automation product. We are spending on improving the network, on testing and then implementing the best hosting automation standards and to continue providing the best possible customer support. These are very different from software development.

There is one more thing. We have seen that cPanel has become truly great software automation product within the last few years. Most web hosts abandoned the server management systems they used to use to migrate to cPanel. If we didn’t migrate our customers to cPanel we’d loose value.

How would any hosting provider loose value if they use Plesk or any other control panel, not cPanel for example?

cPanel has become the most popular server automation standard in Linux hosting. Having Enkompass they are now a player in the Windows hosting market as well. Plesk is also good, we offer it to VPS customers hosted on the Parallels Virtuozzo Containers virtualization platform. However we use cPanel/WHM for Shared hosting. It is indisputably the best automation product for Shared and Reseller Hosting, which means that it is the same for managing a stand-alone dedicated servers. I have a good news for our customers as well. We have begun offering cPanel Cloud Hosting.

Isn’t it something that any web hosting provider already does?

Not really! Take a look at Cloud hosting offerings announced by different providers and you will that they are Virtual Private Servers delivered from any Cloud computing platform. What we do is a High Availability cPanel based virtual hosting. This means that we offer Shared Hosting accounts hosted on a Cloud. We have a cluster of servers, which feature load-balancing and High Availability and the accounts of our Shared Hosting customers reside on top of the cluster. It is an excellent service, because our customers save money and time on software licensing and on virtual private server management. We use a technology called Fuscan Linux Cloud to automate cPanel Cloud management and provisioning of virtual hosting accounts on the cloud. It is a new technology and we were one of the first to implement it.

I’m skeptical when it comes to Cloud computing. Nowadays everyone is speaking about it and most providers claims to have it. At the same time it requires a huge investment to build a Cloud computing hosting service? So how could a small or a middle-size d hosting company afford to own a cloud computing infrastructure ?

Well, the major providers want consumers to think that they are the ones who could build and operate a stable Cloud computing hosting infrastructure. However the reality is different. It requires an investment to build a Cloud infrastructure, but it is not a mission impossible. I’d say that any company would start with an investment of $50,000 and to scale its Cloud infrastructure up, depending on the growth rates.

Host Color Cloud is not a monster infrastructure. It is growing and the growth rate depends on customers’ demand. So if anyone says that Cloud computing is a privilege for a companies of large scale like Amazon, RackSpace, etc. then you know one’s opinion is biased. You can see a that more and more web hosting providers adopt some kind of Cloud computing technologies. You can see a growing number of Cloud enablers. So without claiming to be an expert, I can say that we see a lot of competition in the Cloud Hosting market. It is not a competition of corporations however.

Let’s get back to Host Color’s business? How do you see your company in the today’s very competitive hosting market? What do you do to attract customers? I didn’t see much of an advertising for Host Color, compared to some other hosting providers.

We have our own sales and marketing channels and they work good for us. We do not heavily advertise our Shared Hosting, because we do not do “unlimited” disc space and unlimited everything Shared Hosting. We are working to get customers who need stable and customized web hosting environment, which means VPS and Dedicated servers. In the Shared hosting niche we recommend and are trying to attract web designers and developers who are using specific content management systems like MODx, CMS Made Simple, TextPattern, bEvolution, Drupal, Joomla, Typo3. This is not something other do not do, but we have a tradition in supporting different Open Source CMS.

Do you do any Affiliate program?

Yes we do and we offer good payout rates, because unlike Shared Hosting providers Host Color is a popular for its Virtual Private Servers and Dedicated Hosting services. But we don’t do crazy, unrealistic commissions on Shared hosting like $100 or $120 per sale. Our standard affiliate commission is 25% of the sale amount. The lowest commission is $11.97 for Blog Hosting plan. The highest one is a $199.75 per a sale of Dedicated Hosting Power, purchased on monthly contract. However we have customers who buy dedicated hosting services on annual basis, which means that an affiliate could make $1,437 if they refer a customer, who buys a Dedicated Power, dedicated server.

Would you sale Host Color if any bigger web host makes an offer?

I don’t know. This is not my responsibility. Owners must decide on any such offerings. What I know from them is that we would never sell our customers. I have seen a lot of statements like “We buy customers” or “Sell your customers”. It is ridiculous! Host Color has more than 10 years of  business history in the web hosting industry. Our brand and our reputation bring business. So I presume that the company would consider any buyout offering, only if it accounts Host Color’s brand reputation and business history, not just our annual revenue.

Thank you very much for this interview Martin.

It was my pleasure. Thank you for your  time and your business. I’m glad to be one of the hosting industry professionals featured at B10WH.

A Cloud Hosting Debate

Posted by hosttycoon On January - 4 - 2010

cloud-hosting-debate-b10wh“How do you understand “Cloud Hosting”? What kind of infrastructure and platform do you imagine when someone mentions Cloud hosting?”, asked in the popular web hosting forum Hosting Discussion a member named HostColor. The forum user suggested 6 “fields” to be filled with answers: Operating system; Virtualization; Software; Network; Data center; Other features.

“You should include instances in your list also”, responded Conor Treacy a “Community Advisor” at HostingDiscussion board. “Remember a TRUE REDUNDANT cloud will be in multiple data centers.  For me, I see too many hosting companies attempting to run their own cloud, or offer cloud hosting, and operate out of a single data center facility. Yes it likely does satisfy the requirements to be “cloud” but really, the purpose is to have instances in various parts of the world to serve the data faster”, added Conor who also said that it costs more to do this, but “when you’re dealing with enterprise sites, you get what you pay for”. He mentioned that he does not pretend to know all about the cloud. “It’s too new and seems to be more “concepts” to many places than anything else”, said Conor.

An user with a name XeHost posted that “The cloud sounds great in theory but to implement proper cloud hosting infrastructure is very expensive”.

“I shall disagree that a true redundant Cloud shall be in multiple data centers”, responded HostColor and added that this is only an option. The user who opened the thread said that “operating infrastructure in different data centers is a different concept – CDN, something which according to the user, businesses did many years before the concept of Cloud computing to emerge. “If you use global redundant network for Cloud hosting service, you don’t need to have infrastructure in different physical locations, unless you really need some kind of localization similar to Google local search. If you are service provider, you do not need this”, said the user.

Can you define “global redundant network”? If you do not need to have data in different locations, if a data center goes offline (like they do – it’s not UNCOMMON), how does the data stay active for viewers on the web? Doesn’t the data need to be replicated to an outside machine SOMEWHERE?”, was the Conor’s response.

“I’ll throw my hat in the ring here”, said a HostingDiscussion user named “Bmdub”. HE said that he has been in the hosting business for over 6 years. “I’d compare cloud hosting with the shared hosting methodology of the late 1990’s to early 2000’s. Today however, Cloud Computing has become a much different animal. There are higher levels of security, performance and manageability that are defining what cloud computing truly should be and is becoming right now”, explained the forum member and summarized his understanding of Cloud hosting in 6 key points.

1. OS: I really think the OS selection is based on the capabilities of the provider and their ability to support those needs with experts. In my mind, Cloud Computing should offer both Microsoft and Linux based operating systems.

2. Virtualization: This is a piece of the puzzle. Right now, VMWARE, Citrix and Parallels are the only companies providing what I’d say is an easy to deploy platform to offer a scalable and secure computing platform. In the future, the underlying virtualization technology will matter less when API’s and customization become more prevalent. At this moment, I’d say that Citrix and VMWare will dominate for quite some time because of their financial capabilities and their general acceptance as reliable products. Although Microsoft and Google will have something to say about that.

3. Software: Id say any development platform should be built to live in a multi-tenant configuration and can easily scale across multiple processors.

4. Network: This is a big thing and the cloud most certainly should have more than 1 Tier-1 (Verizon,ATT, Level3) provider connected to it. As someone mentioned earlier, geo-diversity- or federated cloud- will build a truly resilient network for maximum uptime. Look for this from hosting.com in 2010.

5. Datacenter: Tier3 or better data center. Multiple carrier access, N+1 or better power and cooling. 24x7x365 support.

6. Other features: Well, API support, geographic load balancing, easy to use customer interface (Self Service).

A meaningless post, I believe followed, in which a user said “Some hosting companies claim that there are using a Cloud Hosting structure. But sometimes… it isn’t”.

Here came HostColor again to respond to Conor ans said “I’ll give an example. Having a good and stable connections with 2 or 3 major U.S. carriers + NTT and another one to Asia and 2 more to Europe… will be enough to say you have a “global redundant network”.”

Conor responded by saying “So “global redundant network” is not the same as a “global redundant site” then. You’re just looking at multiple carriers for the data. If the data center goes offline (network issue, power issue, someone trips over the power cord (ahem – rackspace), or the electric room catches on fire (ahem – the planet), or the basement is flooded (uhh.. can’t remember the datacenter, but it was in Chicago) – so those items don’t necessarily play into the roll of a redundant NETWORK – these relate to the SITE in particular”.

He also said that for him the idea of redundant means a multi-location site where if someone’s websites go offline at one place, they will be up in another. “This is what has been broadcasted on a number of places offering cloud and how stable and superior Cloud really is. Where in fact it’s nothing more than shared hosting with the ability to increase processing power, disk space, memory etc all on the fly”, added Conor Treacy who represents a company named “Hands On Web Hosting“.

A HD use from UK’s web hosting provider CSN-UK.net joined the discussion. He said that the concept of cloud computing isn’t new considering the concept goes back as far as the 60’s, though the way in which it is being used by providers. “The whole point of cloud computing is from a hosting standpoint to provide speed, stability and redundancy across as wide an area as possible in order to increase the benefit for the potential client base, done by virtualization”, posted CSN’s representative.

“However brining in the point that Conor made, the whole point of a cloud network is to provide a redundant network across multiple locations in order to avoid many of the problems of traditional systems and combine them with the benefits of the similar VPS technologies. Otherwise the effectiveness of the cloud within a single datacentre is simply to provide an expandable VPS solution mirrored across multiple machines as essentially it would have similar redundancy for many of the issues that cause us as providers downtime”, added the HD member.

He explained that the use of multiple transit providers does little to nothing to provide redundancy if a primary switch on the network has a malfunction for example or any of the examples provided above, as such the virtualisation layer of the cloud network ensures that the data is mirrored across multiple sites and an alternate site would take or share the load with other sites in order for the users site to remain available and unaffected by the malfunction or natural disaster. “Where my knowledge is lacking is the information from scripts that are held in RAM or being processed which could lead to corruption, though there are a number of solutions I’m yet to read that in-depth to any particular approach”, said the CSN-UK.

“Sure! There’s only one thing that I would like to point out and it is that having infrastructure and redundant network across multiple locations IS NOT part of the “Cloud” concept. However I shall admit that if a company operates 2 or more facilities in a CDN, which is part of a cloud platform and/or service is something that shall be appreciated from its customers”, said HostColor, a user who represents a quite popular web hosting company Host Color.

This is the last post to the thread “Your Notion Of Cloud Hosting?“. Follow the link to see how does it continue and what do other HD members think about Cloud hosting. To find reviews about Cloud Hosting Providers visit CloudHostingList.com.

Meet The Cloud Computing Evangelist – Diego Parrilla from Abiquo

Posted by hosttycoon On August - 25 - 2009

diego-parrilla-santamariaI met Diego during the WebHostingDay 2009 in Germany. My first impression was he was very open and friendly person. I asked him what did he do and he explained me that his company was producing a Cloud computing class software. When I went back to the hotel room the same day I began searching for other similar solutions produced by European software companies (this was during an EU based event) and I wasn’t able to find that many. So I’ve decided to ask Diego to give me an interview, to talk about Cloud computing, and of course about  his company. Then I begun preparing for this interview and started browsing the web, to find some information about Diego Parrilla. Information which would help me to find out more about the person I was about to interview. Let’s see whether I made it this time.

Hi Diego, it was good to meet you. And it is good talking to you. So, tell me how do you moved to the clouds? I’ve seen you see yourself as “Cloud computing evangelist”. I’m curious when did you get yourself familiar with Cloud computing?

I was the Professional Services Manager of Amplía Soluciones. We developed a platform for Telcos heavily based in distributed and grid computing. Late in 2006 I discover Amazon EC2 and started to use it as testing platform for Amplía and for my own pet projects. I resigned in Amplía in late 2007 and started to work in ‘stealth mode’ for Abiquo, redesigning their grid computing platform to become a cloud computing. And that’s why I’m here.

Something happened in mid 2008. I get a phone call of somebody from Amazon Web Services, and he asked me what was the status of the Cloud Computing in Spain. I was shocked with the question because obviously they should know more about it than me. Then I realized that Evangelization (Evangelism, of course figuratively) was key in the Hispanic world. The “Cloud Computing Evangelist title”? It’s a SEO strategy a colleague recommend me.

What did you do before getting done to Cloud computing? Have you been involved in development of any enterprise applications and software architectures?

I have been involved for almost 15 years in software and product development. Most of these projects, because of their nature and their complexity needed distributed computing (first) and grid (later) computing (later). Scalability was always an issue, and most of the times we could not use standard technology to solve our problems. In 2004 I became a partner of Amplía Soluciones. We developed a Machine-to-Machine (M2M) platform for Telcos and Big Wireless Carriers. In late 2007 I resigned and joined Abiquo to build what we think a cloud computing has to be.

My experience with software technologies? A lot of Java, C++, middlewares all around, and lot of open source of course. I have also trained people in the execution of Agile Projects with Scrum and Lean.

Now tell me more about Abiquo. Is it a company created to produce Cloud computing generation technologies?

Abiquo is a spin off a Grid Computing research department of the Politechnic University of Catalonia. We started in 2006 developing a Grid Computing framework called AbiNtense. But we soon realized that Grid Computing frameworks (and probably development frameworks in general) is a extremely hard market. So we move our focus towards Cloud Computing technologies.

Our vision is to let the users to choose. Choose the technology, the vendor, the timings… We develop a Cloud Computing Platform -AbiCloud- that give the power to the users.

I’ve see that you offer AbiCloud. Tell me more about this type of Cloud and its architecture. It is Linux one, isn’t it?

Well, not necessarily. Abicloud is composed of two main components: The Abicloud Server is the core management software running in centralized servers: it’s the command control. This software has been developed in Java and has been succesfully deployed in Windows, Linux and Solaris.

The other component, the Abicloud Node, is an agent installed on each ‘Cloud Node’. With this agent, an hypervisor must be installed. We support VirtualBox, XEN and KVM. This Cloud Node software is linux dependant (well, we are doing some experiments with VirtualBox and OpenSolaris). We also support VMware ESXi, but in this case the hypervisor is an embedded Linux OS.

Abicloud integrates with third party storage Software like Sun OpenStorage, NexentaStor. It can work with even simpler configurations like ZFS on Solaris/OpenSolaris or LVM+iSCSI targets in Linux. Abicloud is like a big ‘enabler’.

What kind of communication link do you use to connect load-balancer, web servers and database servers? Do you use Fibre Channel, iSCSI or InfiniBand?

We are using iSCSI as our main communication channel. With the new 10 GBit ethernet communications, we think that most of the traffic will pass through these new Fabrics. Some customers has requested FC as an option in the platform. We hope that it will be an option very soon.

Has a stable, commercial version of AbiCloud already been released or it is still in development. Please also tell me what kind of equipment does anyone need to deploy AbiCloud?

Abicloud 1.0 will be released in October 2009. It will include three different versions:

  • Community: This is the version already available to download in our site. It’s a complete platform, and it’s the perfect tool to enter and understand what is the private cloud concept.
  • Enterprise: This version will be focused on the needs of enterprises with the Private Cloud in their goals.
  • xSP: This version complemets the Enterprise version with some key features that Service Providers need to deploy a Public Cloud.

Abicloud can run on any commoditized x86 hardware. If you just want to test drive our platform, you can do it with really modest hardware specs. If you want to deploy a private or public cloud, then you need to take it seriously. We can help with the deployment of this cloud, of course.

I’ve seen that you are connected in on or other way to Nubeblog.com. Is this blog yours and what do you write about?

Yes it’s my blog. It’s the most popular Cloud Computing blog in Spanish. It is one of the activities I perform to evangelize in the Hispanic world.

How do you plan to position AbiCloud on the market. As a IaaS solution or as a platform? Do you plan to offer services on top of AbiCloud as a SaaS provider, or you will stay as cloud software producer?

Abiquo is a software producer. Abicloud is a software product. It’s a software product that helps your to abstract your existing hardware and become a IaaS provider (no matter if external or internal).

How does the Spanish market adopt the idea of Cloud computing. Are Spanish It companies looking to deploy and use cloud architectures?

Spain is a difficult market. It’s hard to find early adopters because cultural reasons. But we have seen a lot of interest in Cloud Computing (not only in our platform), and there are a lot of initiatives around it. Some big Spanish companies are launching Private Cloud Computing initiatives, and I hope this market will ramp up in the near future.

OK. Final question. Would you reveal more about AbiCloud’s pricing? How do you price your solution and how much will cost to be deployed?

The price range will start at 0€ (community versions) and we will try to keep it on average €12 per month. There will be several options available. In october we will launch our commercial offering. Regarding the cost of deployment of the solution, it depends on a lot of factors, but it will be similar to the cost of virtualization and/or hardware consolitation of a data center.

Thank you for your time Diego. It was good to talk to you. Once Abicloud is already released we would present it here in B10WH.com.

WHT Members Say: What Is Cloud Computing?

Posted by hosttycoon On May - 5 - 2009

cloud-computing“I think a good way to start off this forum section is to determine what cloud computing means to everyone, I know there are a lot of different views and it should be interesting to see them.”, says HP-Kevin in a thread titled “What is Cloud computing?” in WHT. Members named “Karbon” adds that he is “curious as to what is it as well” and ads the he never have heard of it. “Is it where you host in the clouds?” writes the WHT member and adds “joke, don’t yell at me”. This are only one of many examples that show that the average web user is still unfamiliar with the concept of cloud computing and cloud hosting in particular. Wikipedia offers an explanation of the term “Cloud Computing”. Web Hosting Talk also has a detailed explanation in its Wiki section. So we will not go over the “Cloud”. Most important is to see what people think of the Cloud computing.

“Interested as well in knowing what cloud hosting is and does”, this is another Cloud newbie post in WHT. As always happens the first one who know more on the topic emerges, this time on the 4th place. His nickname in WHT is Plutomic-Andrew and he offers an explanation about “Cloud”.

Cloud is…

“Cloud hosting, in one form or another, is the clustering of multiple physical hardware nodes together to act as a single server, with nearly unlimited resources since it can be continually added to seamlessly without adversely affecting the applications running on the cloud currently” says Plutomic-Andrew. He adds that such a single cluster or grid is then broken down into individual VEs or Virtual Environments.

“Each VE is a self-contained LAMP stack running on top of any OS the customer would like while having access to the computing power of multiple processor and multiple GBs of RAM to perform its computing tasks. In most cases depending on the architecture of the cloud, each VE can expand dynamically to withstand the influx of heavy traffic or in other cases storage demands. These demands are typically caused by a site being dugg, slashdotted or in one way or another gaining more exposure than they would under typical daily circumstances”, writes Plutomic-Andrew and becomes the first to know something about Cloud computing. However it is very tech explanation and most forums users probably lost themselves on the 3rd row.

A proof of this is the Karbons remark – “Ah, I feel stupid now. I should of known what it was. It’s basically a server cluster”.

“Its really exciting I cant wait to try it out for my new project, but I do have some doughts. He adds that on his course he was taught that “the cloud will be when all applications and data are stored on the web and we simply connect using “terminal Pcs” in effcet moving backwards”.

… a Buzzword

“To some ‘the cloud’ is the answer to everything – to others just an overhyped buzzword… We (UK2group) takes it very seriously, and I see this taking over most of the dedicated server market within the coming 5 years. It is very far from mature though – one of those things everyone talks about but really only a handfull actually provide. Buzzword or not, it is bound to change some of the mechanics of the hosting industry”, says WHT member with nickname “eming” and becomes the first self promoter in the thread who underlines that his company takes Cloud computing seriously. He how ever provides a URL ( to some ‘the cloud’ is the answer to everything – to others just an overhyped buzzword… We (UK2group) takes it very seriously, and I see this taking over most of the dedicated server market within the coming 5 years. It is very far from mature though – one of those things everyone talks about but really only a handfull actually provide. Buzzword or not, it is bound to change some of the mechanics of the hosting industry. EDIT: take a moment and read this article published today from Wall Street Journal, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123802623665542725.html – it will help give a better understanding… ) to Wall Street Journal’s article that should clear the air around the clouds, according to him.

“Thats a great explaination”, posts WHT member named himself “you86” and ask the questions “Will all these hardware nodes in queue? What will happen if one/two will broken down? everything will stop working?”.

It is just marketing…?

HP-Kevin who has opened the thread about Cloud computing responds to Andrew’s Cloud hosting explanation and asks him “Can you name some/any company out there that can provide you a VE with a “self-contained LAMP stack” with nearly unlimited scalability? Or even scalability beyond the resources of a single physical hardware node?”.

“What you have explained is what I find many people expect from “cloud hosting”, but I disagree, and I am not sure the functionality you have described yet exists. So far I am with Tim on this, and its just marketing”, posts HP-Kevin.

An example of a Cloud

Plutomic-Andrew responds to HP-Kevin by saying that “Most all cloud computing environments will allow you to use more than one physical piece or hardware for computing power”. He gives an example with AppLogic of 3tera., and says to “you86” that depending on the architecture of the Cloud the services can be re-provisioned and started on other physical equipment in the cloud.

“True, but AFAIK even applogic does not allow you to scale one wm across more than one physical hypervisor”, responds user “eming” – Ditlev Bredahl, CEO, uk2Group.com.

“There was a good article in the Financial Times last Thursday about cloud computing… it’s definitely picking up momentum”, posts “dazmanultra”. “Jonrdouglas” says that hybrid clouds let anyone to run “what is generally code that runs only on Windows, in the same directory as your files you generally run on Linx What”.

According to “HostedFTP” it is a huge market and the expectations are to be a $100 billion industry within the next 10 years. “Amazon AWS S3 amd Ec2 is the major player at this time. Many companies are already moving into the cloud as it is very inexpensive to host”, says HostedFTP.

“I am involved in a SaaS based software project that my partners and I are hoping will grow exponentially for us over the next few years. We are working on some contracts now and I really think that it will be in my best benefit to launch our software on a cloud so that we can quickly and easily grow as needed”, says VertexBilly and ads that he has just contacted 3tera to get their sales info and learn more about what they can do “to help us launch this”. “I am not sure if we are ready for this infrastructure and cost yet (as we would do our own cloud in house) but I really do think that for companies that are working on a similar SaaS type business model as us that a cloud based infrastructure is probably the way to go and not just hype”, explains the WHTmember.

… Waste of time + Extra Costs

Nathaniel which forum name is “logikstudios” posts that his personal thoughts on the cloud are potentially a waste of time on a major skill. “Look at it like this. Look at all the current providers out there. They are WAY! to expensive for 95% of the users and you can’t really benefit the use of them. I was looking at moving a project to the cloud and thought to myself, to get the same type of power we require now was going to cost us £250+ extra a month(approx 2.5 x the amount). I can see websites/companys possibly having there own mini clouds setup, but interms of of processing power and storage (nothing more really than a super server with a DAS), its going to have to come down alot! before it really kicks off i think personally, maybe around VPS pricing”, says Nathaniel.

“I would class cloud computing as basically making your documents available to you anywehere, microsoft is really trying to get the lead on this by launching live services like Azure and Live Skydrive, profile and whatever else”, responds “FortressDewey” and adds that if he needs to view a file he just emails it to himself”.

A “Web Hosting Talk” forum member with nickname “hwmcneill” says in his first post that he have just come across the thread which he found interesting and he would like to comment on some points made.

“AmirKhan” raises the point that it is a platform for the “no software” approach. This, as far I am concerned is correct. In a sense the two processes have occurred in parallel thus creating the virtual cloud concept. “You86” asked about what happens when a node breaks down and I might add runs into capacity problems. These instances are handled by normal overload chaining to other live servers. In the case of breakdown, that is the autochaining is incapacitated, the use of virtual client technology (VCT) can have the browser detect non-response and switch to a predetermined priority list of servers. Thus even if the “central server” fails the VCT component keeps operations running with a gap in operations equivalent to less than 1 sec (depending upopn sys bandwidth).

“HostedFTP” mentions that clouds are expensive to host. Well each node or server can be hosted like any other. The configuration is in the software so a cloud can be made up of servers located anywhere in the world. Sharing such resources and making use of online applications rather than multiple redundancy sw at the client end saves an enormous amount of money in outlays. And any updates at the nodes affect all users making “roll outs” extremely low cost. Logikstudios raises the point of high costs but I am not sure what these refer to so I cant comment. Certainly higher users make the whole thing cheap and so the cost issue can be an issue of not having enough users to justify the initial outlays. “DHD-Chris” mentions clouds as being a facilitation of global access to docs etc. Yes, this is also part of the support functions i.e. data processing, transmission and storage with web document rendering being essentially a dialogue in a browser combining storage access and transmission”,posts hwmcneill. He adds that this is just his initial response to thread and he is going to rustle up some notes to provide a follow up on this. He also says that he will provide some examples of his own experience in Cloud computing field.

… Concept Still Unclear?

“The concept is still somehow unclear for me”, writes “HSNM”. “What I can see is a matter of distributed computing that handles the problem of connecting different pieces together to let a single service run in an abstract way”, say the forum member and explains that Google calendar can be an example which uses cloud computing. According to him “the Internet is a big cloud by itself”.

… Its About Distributing Servers And Loads Between Many Computers

“I guess one can look at it from several angles. For me its about distributing servers and loads between many computers and in some cases geographic locations. It adds ability to dynamically or at least quickly scale out. Allowing to handle spikes in server loads as well as adds a layer of redundancy”, comments “dariusf“. He adds that the problem he sees with it is two folds, one is the cost for larger requirements.

“It does cost more then getting part of a rack and installing a bunch of servers. It removes the layer of server management and support and this could be a very large cost of the operation when you have to maintain multiple servers, clusters, load balancers and other networking hardware. So perhaps the overall cost will be lower”, explains the WHT member. The biggest question he has at this point and he just didn’t have much time to investigate is the question of user session replication on the application layer between the virtual nodes.

“With at least ColdFusion one has the option to store user session specific information on the database and in this case every node in the cloud would be able to hit that database cloud and the session for the user. Its slow and not as elegant as doing something like Jini and buddy under Java, which ColdFusion being in essence java and running under the JVM can use. Doing session replication between the nodes with something like Jini would be the best solution but how does that work and what about dynamic new nodes added in the cloud?”

“Another question is the database replication. Does it get moved in to the cloud and then replicated between the nodes or does it stay out of the cloud and gets only hit by the cloud?”

“If it stays in the cloud, would one set a fixed number of nodes and then replicate between them or is there a way to dynamically replicate as nodes are created or removed based on the loads? Any ideas out there? Anyone has any experience with this”, asks the WHT member?

… Grid Computing Has Been A Hot Topic Some 5+ Years Ago

“So what is the ‘cloud’? What is the difference between a ‘cloud’ and the ‘grid’ and a ‘server farm’?”, ask “andria”. “Grid computing has been a hot topic some 5+ years ago. In my understanding, Grid consists of server farms located on different locations. Connected with each other, acting as one”, writes the WHT user.

“I can recall that around 2000 there have been big headlines each time when someone would set a new record for the biggest server farm. Most of them were set up in scientific field. With grid computing or a server farm, you throw a task into it and it gets distributed across the place. So basically, to me, it looks like a cloud hosting company is doing nothing different. They are running a number of virtualization tasks on a grid computer (or on a single server farm)”, posts “andria”.

According to this WHT member each virtualization task gets certain resources allocated and that’s it. “I assume for hosting company this solution is somewhat easier to handle, since all resources are seen as one and the whole load is also put together. There are no boundaries of a single server. On the customer side only those who need clusters would profit from this. A VPS customer could not care less if he is getting 1/20th of a single server or 1/20.000th of 1.000 servers. So, to me, the ‘cloud’ seems to be either a single server farm or a grid network of server farms”, concludes “andria” and asks “Or am I wrong? So why call it a cloud?”.

The Dominator – Cloud hosting exists!

The last word (May 5th, 11.45 am EST) has the WHT member with name “The Dominator”. “Cloud computing exists, but most end user customers don’t get it – coders have no idea how to code to use extra nodes on the cloud, and cloud computing is so vaguely defined – it depends who you talk to – we sell lots of dedicated servers direct through discussions with customers, and customers ask me is my server cloud computing?”, explains “The Dominator”.

He adds that in the last 2 years most cloud (grid) computing data centers had major outages. The user says that the “future is coming” and he expects computers to connect to some form of Clouds, but data centers to “take a bit longer to transition to grid models everywhere”.

Still Unclear?

If I had to make myself clear of what Cloud computing was, from the above conversation, I would loose myself. So folks, the best you can do, if you need to know what really cloud means is to spend a few hours reading in Wikipedia, WHT Wiki and other library resources. Then stop and think about what you have read. And if you still do not understand the “Cloud”, stop thinking about it and just use it.

To find providers that operate Cloud computing based infrastructures, please visit the cloud hosting review website CloudHostingList.com.

Eucalyptus Open-Source Cloud Went Commercial

Posted by hosttycoon On May - 5 - 2009

eucalyptus-cloudEucalyptus, the open-source project which was the core Amazon’s cloud infrastructures set up has been established as a private company, named Eucalyptus Systems. The Eucalyptus said that its new venture raised $5.5 million. The company aims to support the open-source cloud platform and  to deliver on-premise private and hybrid cloud computing solutions for large-scale businesses.

Eucalyptus is an acronym from “Elastic Utility Computing Architecture for Linking Your Programs to Useful Systems”. It has recently became a component of the Ubuntu Linux server distribution.  According to company founder Rich Wolski “Eucalyptus Systems will enable businesses of any size to leverage their own IT resources to get the benefits of cloud computing without the concerns of lock-in, security ambiguity, and unexpected storage costs that can be associated with public clouds”.

Eucalyptus is the only private cloud platform today that supports the same application programming interfaces (APIs) as Amazon Web Services.