Web Hosting Providers Are Cloud Pioneers
There is no exact right and wrong to what Cloud is
By: Bill Bauman
Mar. 1, 2010 07:30 PM
Web Hosting Session at Cloud Expo
In the 1990s and early 2000s, web hosting was just that, web hosting. Web hosting services were extremely simple or extremely complex. There wasn't much in-between for the average end user. Modern web hosting providers, like DreamHost, have been offering Cloud-like services for some time. It could even be argued that some of these "otherwise simple" web hosting providers are actually the pioneers of public Cloud Computing - driven by a utility computing model.
Let's look at DreamHost's offerings, a provider whose services I know fairly well. DreamHost offers Goodies in which they include their One-Click Installs. These are workloads like WordPress, phpBB (forums), Zenphoto (an image content management system) and about a dozen more, that users can automatically deploy with very little effort and total automation on the back end.
DreamHost also offers integration with Google's Gmail, Apps and Hosting, should a user decide to integrate with their Cloud-based offerings. In addition, there's Amazon CloudFront integration to utilize Amazon's S3 storage for rapid end-user performance worldwide. All of this integration amounts to Cloud-in-Cloud (CiC) offerings that go beyond the hybrid Cloud into Cloud unions and intersections. Fair warning to the numerically challenged: we may soon be expressing Cloud architectures in the form of mathematical sets.
IBM's Blue Cloud and Amazon's EC2, for example, allow developers to write code, utilize tremendous grid-based compilation processing and execute generalized workloads. The presentation of the platform is automated, what the user does on it is generally not. A user's public Cloud experience is generally assumed to be whatever they want it to be, only restricted by the operating systems provided or the capabilities of the Cloud itself.
With DreamHost, the system is self-serviceable and almost completely automated, but that limits what the user can accomplish. It is against the terms of service, for example, to use DreamHost's processing power for large compilation tasks or distributed computational processing. These are generally considered some of the primary purposes of Cloud Computing.
Author's note: DreamHost has informed me that they do offer "virtual private servers that can be used for large computations just like EC2. And all of our automation comes along with the private servers," continuing to blur the lines between web hosting provider and public Cloud provider.
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