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Measuring the Growth of Cloud Computing

As cloud computing has grown in recognition, and the marketplace has started to attract serious cash, some people are beginning to put some serious effort in to tracking and measuring actual cloud usage. Here’s a small collection of links that show, with some veracity, the state of cloud computing today.

Guy Rosen has the rough cut of usage for public clouds, which finds that among IaaS providers, Amazon EC2 leads the pack, followed by Rackspace, Joyent and GoGrid.

But there are caveats to Rosen’s data. Rosen is only counting websites running in the cloud. The raw data comes from Quantcast, which Rosen has analyzed according to IP location to generate comparisons.

It’s worth questioning how useful Rosen’s analysis is. Classically, Web servers are a primary use case for cloud computing, but increasingly, data processing stacks, test and dev and similar applications are pitched as potential uses for the public cloud. With Amazon continually making hay over its use by the enterprise, this analysis may be accurate, but it is certainly limited.

Another stab at quantifying the cloud comes from those beloved propeller-headed comp sci types, which they dub “Cloud Cartography.” In the course of analyzing multi-tenancy security vulnerabilities, researchers at the University of California, San Diego and MIT came up with a bone-simple way to coarsely measure actual servers on Amazon’s EC2 cloud. (Hint: it involved a credit card, nmap, wget and Amazon’s DNS servers.) According to their cursory research, the number of responding server instances on EC2 currently stands at 14,054.

Cloud Cartography promises to be a very entertaining arms race between cloud providers and the curious, and will doubtless be emulated by others for different sites. I’ll try to keep this space updated as new metrics come around. In the meantime, vendor-neutral suggestions about ways to gauge the state of cloud computing are welcome. Let’s make this a haven for learning what’s really going on.

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Cloud computing, the dynamic data center. Cloud computing helps to increase the speed at which applications are deployed, helping to increase the pace of innovated networked computing. Service deployed applications; Cloud computing can be provided using an enterprise data center’s own servers, or it can be provided by a cloud provider that takes all of the capital risk of owning the infrastructure. Cloud computing incorporates virtualization, data and application on-demand deployment, internet delivery of services, and open source software. Virtualization enables a dynamic data center where servers provide resources that are utilized as needed with resources changing dynamically in order to meet the needed workload. The combination of virtual machines and virtual appliances used for server deployment objects is one of the key features of cloud computing. Additionally, company’s can merge a storage cloud that provides a virtualized storage platform and is managed through an API, or Web-based interfaces for file management, and application data deployments. Layered Service providers offering pay-by-use cloud computing solutions can be adjacent to company’s equipment leases. Public clouds are run by third party service providers and applications from different customers are likely to be mixed together on the cloud’s servers, storage systems, and networks. Private clouds are built for the exclusive use of one client, providing the utmost control over data, security, and quality of service. Private clouds can also be built and managed by a company’s own IT administrator. Hybrid clouds combine both public and private cloud models which may be used to handle planned workload spikes, or storage clouds configuration. Dedicated audits for security policies are a must. The benefits of deploying applications using cloud computing include reducing run time and response time, minimizing the purchasing and deployment of physical infrastructure. Considerations for Energy efficiency, flexibility, simplified systems administration, pricing based on consumption, and most of all limiting the footprint of the data center. Virtualized solutions:
This long, really boring comment does a terrible job of promoting the site you link to at the bottom, that has absolutely nothing to do with cloud computing or Carl's post. Please refrain from doing this again. Thanks.