For a growing number of companies, the cloud is an incredibly appealing proposition. It allows organizations to scale up (and down) infrastructure and services as needed, and you generally pay only for what you use.
But that doesn't mean that the cloud isn't without its challenges. Some, such as architecting fail-proof applications, are well documented. But there are others which don't often get as much attention. One: keeping track of what your company is spending.
When it comes to building and operating the infrastructure to power some of the most popular services on the internet, it's no surprise that many companies have decided that Amazon can do a better, more cost-effective job than they can.
Amazon's AWS infrastructure-as-a-service offerings, of course, aren't perfect. Outages, some of them quite large and ugly, do happen.
In the .com boom of the 1990s, companies building a presence on the nascent commercial web bought servers and put them in data centers. In many cases, this costly approach was a necessity.
Fast forward to today. Some of the most popular sites on the internet -- run by large, established companies and young startups alike -- don't own servers, and they've never set foot inside a data center thanks to cloud services like Amazon AWS.
According to a report from research firm DeepField Networks, Amazon's AWS cloud now powers 1% of the internet. If this number is anywhere close to accurate, it's a stunning figure, particularly when one considers that Amazon started as an online retailer of books.
But Amazon's cloud ambitions are huge, and in an effort to grow its cloud even more, Amazon today launched the AWS Marketplace, a one-stop shop for AWS customers to, with a single click, purchase and deploy cloud servers running the software they need.
When it comes to the cloud, Amazon has fast become an 800 pound gorilla thanks to Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Sure, it's had some problems, but thanks to the breadth and depth of its offering, and its pricing, Amazon continues to be the go-to choice for many companies looking to put their applications in the cloud.
Cloud computing may be significantly changing the way many companies do business on the internet, but it isn't perfect.
As we've seen time and time again, the cloud infrastructure can fail, leaving users which made poor architectural decisions in a bind. There are also security and financial concerns that the cloud raises, some of which companies fail to deal with intelligently.
Amazon is not just the kingpin of online retail. Increasingly, thanks to Amazon Web Services (AWS), the Seattle-based company is at the center of many companies' clouds.
The rise of AWS is impressive, and Amazon owes much of its success to the breadth and depth of its cloud platform, which is used by hundreds of thousands of customers, large and small.
With cloud solutions becoming more and more popular with businesses,
selecting the right providers is becoming more and more important.
Thanks to its skyrocketing popularity, established technology
companies and upstarts alike have rushed to create cloud offerings. The
competition this produces is a boon for companies shopping for cloud
offerings, but it also creates challenges when looking for a provider
that can be trusted.
The cloud may be the future of computing, but that doesn't mean that users will always have sunny days ahead.
PC Magazine's John C. Dvorak is a confessed cloud skeptic, but it's
hard to avoid the cloud these days and he learned the hard way that the cloud often doesn't mean a whole lot.
The economy is still hurting and businesses are still cutting back.
But there are plenty of little (and not so little) things that businesses are still overpaying for online that can add up to real savings when addressed.