Cloud Computing Products
Many vendors offer a variety of products that fall into the Cloud Computing category. Some of the products qualify as full SaaS solutions, while others may only expose lower layers of the Cloud Computing paradigm. Below are examples, and brief descriptions, of three of the more popular Cloud Computing offerings. The post will briefly discuss the pricing of the products. Keep in mind that many different pricing plans are available and that prices may change.
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
The Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is an example of an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) environment, providing the basic resources needed for customers to deploy their applications and services. A Web Service Interface is provided that can obtain and boot new server instances allowing the customer to scale capacity as the requirements change and the customer only pays for the resources actually consumed. A large standard on-demand instance, running a windows OS, is priced at $0.48 per instance-hour for each instance launched. Currently, any incoming data transfer is free and the outgoing data transfer is $0.15 per GB for the first 10 terabytes each month. After 10 TB, the cost per GB decreases. These costs ultimately stabilize at $0.08 per GB after 150 TB have been transferred in a given month.
Microsoft’s Windows Azure is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) Cloud Computing solution. Windows Azure provides an application server, data storage, and networking in a combined infrastructure that can be used for building and deploying Windows applications. Azure relies on virtualized data centers with pools on hardware that create a Utility Computing environment. Applications can be created using the existing Microsoft Visual Studio software development product and deployed into the Azure cloud.
Windows Azure offers a payment plan that bills based on computing time, data transfers, storage space, and storage transactions. Currently, a medium Azure instance cost $0.24 per CPU compute hour and data transfers cost $0.10 per GB income and $0.15/GB outgoing. In addition, storage cost $0.15/GB per month with an additional $0.01 per 10KB for storage transaction.
The software giant Google is one of the leaders in the field of SaaS (19). Their Google Apps suite offers a variety of applications using a subscription model. These applications include a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation tool, email server, and more. The Google Docs portion of the Google Apps package includes applications similar to those found in Microsoft Office 2007, standard edition. The cost of Microsoft Office is $399.95 per user. The current cost for Google Apps is $50 per year for each user. The Google Apps cost is a recurring yearly cost, but upgrades and patches are implemented with no additional cost.
With the MS Office desktop program, a license is required for each physical computer that will have the software. This means an employee would need a second license to use the product from home. In addition, the office software must be installed on a desktop and there is some maintenance cost with application patches. Periodically, the application is upgraded and the cost of the new version is usually a few hundred dollars.