A Guide to Cloud Computing’s IaaS

Procuring computing is getting more complex, and many institutions are finding themselves making difficult choices. As I’ve highlighted in a previous blog post here, keeping all computing decisions and procurements centralized is getting more challenging with the growing popularity of Cloud options. These offerings tend to broaden the addressable direct buyers, and so we see departments making choices, procurement decisions, even provisioning their own services.

This is a disturbing trend for IT and needs to be governed and organized better for a number of reasons. This post focuses on the aspect that by broadening the addressable market space, Cloud offerings are being purchased by a growing set of individuals who may lack certain competencies to ensure a safe selection process. The expansion of the marketplace works though in many cases because certain other competencies are simply not needed (such as installing and maintaining hardware) because of the abstract nature of Infrastructure-as-a-Service.

In either case, it’s helpful to have as much data on vendors, how they compare and their terminology as possible to enable IT and departments to make good choices. A recent paper published by Information Week provides an excellent guide to IaaS vendors:  informationweek.com/reports/iaasguide.

The paper requires registration, but is free. It analyzes nine IaaS vendors (Amaxon, GoGrid, Google, IBM, Internap, Joyent, NaviSite, SoftLayer, and Terremark) and normalizes many of the key terms, units and metrics they each use (Amazon uses an Elastic Compute Unit for example, while Google adopted a Google Compute Engine Unit). The paper shows the computing makeup, operating systems, databases, storage, security, support, other services and costs for each and compares them to enable the reader with some good background when making IaaS selections.

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