The cloud, the cloud, the cloud. That seems to be all you hear about these days, and how we’ll all eventually live in “the cloud.” Well, there’s a reason for that…it’s pretty much true.
Already you have services such as Twitter using Amazon S3 to serve all of the avatar images on its service, so that just shows it can be used for those little tweaks your users never think of. You can also choose to run your entire SaaS on a grid system if you prefer, scaling up resources only when they are most needed. The best part of most cloud hosting solutions is that they only charge you for what you use, so why should you be paying for resources you never access?
We’ve gathered up 10 cloud solutions to help you get started on your journey into the sky.
Amazon CloudFront: When you combine CloudFront with S3, you get a repository for your original files, and CloudFront helps deliver your files from multiple edge locations so that your users get delivery with low latency and high data transfer speeds. Pricing is based on data transfer and GET requests.
Amazon EC2: The Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, also known as Amazon EC2, allows you to launch and remove web servers as you need with the OS and configurations that you need. Pricing is based on the amount of computer time and bandwidth that you consume with no minimum monthly fees.
Amazon S3: Amazon Simple Storage Service, more commonly known as Amazon S3, has pretty much become the default file storage system for just about every major web application you can think of. As with other Amazon services, you pay only for the resources you consume based on storage, transfer and requests.
Elastic Server: With Elastic Server you can choose pre-existing packages to add to your servers, or you can upload your own and customize it to fit your needs.
FlexiScale: FlexiScale allows you to mix virtual and dedicated servers as you see fit, and you can launch as many virtual boxes as you like from the web control panel or via their API. Images include various flavors of Windows and Linux, offers up to 8 GB of RAM and new instances can be launched in under a minute. As with most cloud hosting options, you only pay for what you use with FlexiScale, and there is no contract minimum length.
GoGrid: GoGrid offers you the ability to set up instant, on-demand servers with “control in the cloud” features. Both Windows and Linux based servers can be launched via the web interface in minutes via numerous offered server image configurations.
Google App Engine: App developers can host their applications on Google’s servers for free. If your app grows beyond the free quotas, you can pay for additional resources, but you only pay for what you actually consume. Python and Java are the only officially supported languages, but there are workarounds for apps programmed in PHP and other languages.
GridLayer: GridLayer goes with a more traditional hosting price structure by offering up priced packages for its various solutions. As the name suggest, the company specializes in grid solutions for on-demand scaling as your service or application demands it.
Softlayer CloudLayer: CloudLayer from Softlayer allows you to deploy on-demand computing instances of various operating systems on a minimum of 2.0 GHz processor in as little as five minutes. You can integrate each instance with others, or you can run them as stand-alone instances. Pricing can be by the hour, or you can get a discount by paying for a month at a time.
The Rackspace Cloud: The Rackspace Cloud, formerly known as Mosso, has a three-step process to launch the servers you need: Choose RAM from 256 MB to 15.5 GB, choose your operating system and off you go to having a new server in just a few minutes. Pricing starts as low as $.015 an hour.
Look out later this year for an exciting book from SitePoint all about cloud computing.