Giving today's leading cloud-computing vendors a good run for their money is Mosso , the cloud-computing division of hosting provider Rackspace US Inc . Rackspace is betting on Mosso's managed-services model to provide the edge it needs to win new customers and beat competitors.
The Nuts and Bolts of Mosso
Here's how Mosso works: Applications are loaded on Mosso's Hosting Cloud platform and automatically inherit clustered processing, load-balancing and redundant storage. The moment an application is uploaded, it's set to scale across an entire fleet of computers. There are no devices to think about or servers to configure. Rather than install an OS (operating system), a company simply selects one. Nor is there any need for administering the underlying systems. The result is a unique combination of cloud-computing scalability and the simplicity of a shared hosting environment.
A few features separate Mosso from the rest of the cloud-computing pack:
- By keeping its hosting platform standardized with pre-configured servers and software options, Mosso can easily monitor and scale the services its customers require.
- Unlike Amazon.com Inc.'s cloud-computing service , which does not support Microsoft Windows, Mosso supports Windows and Linux, PHP, Ruby on Rails, .Net, Perl, Python, MySQL and SQL Server. The Mosso system implements these on demand.
- There's no need for a company to worry about scaling up its infrastructure as traffic grows. Instead, Mosso saves site developers the headache by automatically configuring and provisioning each layer of the technology stack in order to maximize performance so that Web applications automatically scale as traffic surges.
- The Mosso Hosting Cloud includes live 24/7 phone support and live chat — a far cry from the community-based support offered by Amazon's EC2 cloud-computing platform.
- The Hosting Cloud is competitively priced at $100 per month. This includes online software to create sites, databases and email accounts; 50GB of SAN storage space; 500GB of monthly bandwidth; and 10,000 compute cycles to measure how much processing time your applications require on the Mosso cloud.
Originality aside, Mosso still faces some stiff competition. Amazon's EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) solution provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It offers companies complete control of their computing resources while running applications on Amazon's computing environment. Amazon EC2 reduces the time required to obtain and boot new server instances to minutes, allowing businesses to quickly scale capacity as computing requirements change.
Late last year, in Shanghai, IBM Corp. unveiled plans for Blue Cloud , a series of cloud-computing services that will enable computing across a large number of machines to deliver high-speed data analysis. Blue Cloud will be based on open-standards and open-source software supported by IBM software, systems technology and services.
Yahoo! Inc. recently announced plans to allow researchers at Carnegie Mellon University to modify and evaluate systems software running on a 4,000-processor supercomputer provided by Yahoo. It's part of the company's new open-source program aimed at advancing the research and development of systems software for distributed computing.
And finally, Google has promised to make hundreds of processors in its datacenters available to schools including the University of Washington, Stanford University and MIT to help students get a handle on the underlying hardware and software technologies involved in cloud computing.