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July 28, 2008

Quality, not Quantity

Derrick Harris

Like the pace of pretty much every facet of life in the face of the relentless sun, the news cycle has a way of slowing down as summer rolls on. Maybe it’s because people are on vacation, maybe it’s because the conference calendar is so sparsely populate, or maybe it’s something else altogether (what do I know?). Whatever the case, there is no denying the result. Such was the case last week, where the number of news announcements (at least in this space) was noticeably low.

However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t news. A prime example of that is our feature on’s use of Mosso’s cloud hosting platform, appropriately named the Hosting Cloud. This is the classic use case of an early cloud adopter, especially in regard to a platform-style solution like Mosso’s. In speaking with Douglas Porter, the man behind Apple iPhone School, it became even clearer to me that cloud computing is not just about big companies saving CAPEX and OPEX, but also about giving the little guy the opportunity to ride the wave when his Web site or Web application strikes a chord. In the case of Porter, who along with his wife, Brooke, started Apple iPhone School with no intention of it becoming a source of income, cloud computing gave him the scalability and support he needed to handle unexpected success. For every Fortune 500 company using EC2, there are dozens (if not more) users moving to the cloud for slightly less Earth-shaking, but no less important (at least to them) reasons. Apple iPhone School is the epitome of this class of cloud user.

During my discussion with Mosso’s Jonathan Bryce regarding this story, he alluded to the possibility of an integrated solution where users aren’t limited to choosing either a standard platform like Mosso or more enterprise-ready offerings like those offered by Mosso parent company Rackspace. “Into the future, with things like CloudFS and some Rackspace integration we’re working on, I think we’re going to get to the point where across Rackspace and Mosso, you’re going to be able to choose from a whole portfolio of hosting options that are traditionally managed — where you have the ability to fully customize and build out a complex environment, where you need to run something like SAP or an Oracle RAC cluster — but then you’ll also be able to combine that with the application stack that Mosso has,” forecasted Bryce. “You’ll be able to put your big files on CloudFS, and really have a whole solution for all of your hosting needs.” 

If you ask me, that will be a big day for cloud computing, and on-demand computing, in general. A lot of barriers will be removed when users can work seamlessly between the two classes of solutions, utilizing an enterprise solution like Rackspace for mission-critical apps and leveraging the cloud platform for R&D or non-critical Web apps. Will the rest of the managed hosting and/or cloud providers follow suit? Will users take advantage? We’ll have to wait and see. But the promise of such an integration should be obvious.

And just because the news is sparse, it doesn’t mean what news there is isn’t worth reading. Be sure to check out the following announcements from the past week: “Electronic Trading Systems Provider NYFIX Chooses Egenera”; “Terracotta Ensures Availability for Adobe ConnectNow”; “RightScale Partners with EnterpriseDB”; “Good Data Secures Funding for Cloud-Based BI Solution”; “NET2S Research Says Trading Latency Generated by Apps Alone”; “Mellanox Accelerates Exegy Ticker Plant at Major Exchanges”; and “On-Demand Enabler Appirio Gets $6M in VC Funding.” Also, make sure to read Dennis Barker’s spotlight on ExaGrid, a company leveraging grid technology to optimize the backup process, and “Fujitsu, NICE Enable Global Scaling through Web Interface,” an interesting announcement that slipped through my net last month.

The news should pick up in the weeks to come, though, as LinuxWorld/Next Generation Data Center is right around the corner. I’ll be there reporting from the floor, and you just know there will be a whole slew of product announcements. We’ve also got some big features slated for mid-August around the actual connection between grid computing and cloud computing, as well as a closer look at Yahoo’s new cloud computing division. So keep an eye out for them.


Comments about GRIDtoday are welcomed and encouraged. Write to me, Derrick Harris, at


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