Rackspace vs. Amazon EC2 - Which Trusted Names in Cloud Computing Will Give You What You Need?
We've all embraced the cloud in some way, whether you've just dabbled with web-based e-mail like Gmail or Hotmail, or taken the real plunge and uploaded crucial business information and all your personal details to the ether. Now the question is: who can we trust to look after our best online interests?
Two big names in this field are Amazon—everybody knows Amazon, and that gives them an immediate edge in terms of small businesses—and Rackspace. You might not be as immediately familiar with Rackspace, but the big hitters know them and trust them.
So what can they do for your business? We already know that Amazon Cloud can let you store your data and keep it safe and available, but there's more to their services than just archiving. Amazon's EC2, or Elastic Compute Cloud, will let you move the whole business of computing out of your building and into theirs.
Amazon EC2 lets you set up virtual computers on their servers to do the hard work of whatever computing your business might require. You can use them to crunch data, host web applications, or carry out just about any computing task that might currently be carried out by the servers busy keeping your basement warm.
They offer some distinct advantages over hardware you own and operate for yourself:
- If it breaks, you don't have to fix it.
- If it's not big enough, you can upgrade it instantly.
- If you're not using it all, you can downgrade it just as fast.
- If it's too slow, you can make it quicker.
- You don't have to buy it.
- You don't have to make a long-term commitment to it (but you can if you want).
- You need only pay for the services you actually use.
Your business will have the appearance of having all its own servers in-house, but without the burden of maintenance or the necessity for over-capacity to deal with changing demands on your facilities. Amazon EC2 offers a range of virtual hardware options, from virtual machines (or Instances, as they call them), each capable of running a range of operating systems. There are template machines preconfigured, and all you need to do to use one, or to create another one, is to decide which one you want and call it into virtual existence on the Amazon servers. The servers are distributed around the world, so if you need belt-and-suspenders up-time assurance, you can spread the virtual load across the globe and be sure your customers can always get to you when they need you.
Rackspace may be less familiar to you, and while it may seem to be a more expensive option, it's the choice of the Fortune 500. More than half of them currently use Rackspace's facilities for their cloud computing needs. Rackspace has very wisely realized that a small company often needs a bit of guidance when taking the leap into the world of cloud computing, and offer fairly targeted support to make sure you are channelled into the stream that best suits your needs. Their categories are:
- Rich Media Webhosting
- E-commerce Website Hosting
- Software-as-a-Service Application Hosting
- Corporate Webhosting
- Test & Development Environments
Rackspace also offers a more flexible approach to computing resources. In addition to the services offered by Amazon's EC2, Rackspace offers you smaller virtual machines if your requirements should be modest, 100% guaranteed up-time without having to make additional provision to spread your computing needs to other regions, and the ability to spread computing solutions seamlessly between your hardware and theirs.
Their hardware is reckoned to be considerably faster than Amazon's, and they offer a better level of support than Amazon, including support for third-party software.
The full picture is complicated; the actual price you pay and service you get hinges on many variables, and what's best for you will not be best for everyone.
To sort through the options and figure out which is best for you, give the IT experts at Infidati a call.
We're always on hand to offer advice and support. Our team of experts can find the best solution for you to make sure you keep your business leaner and more profitable than the other guy's, and make sure you stay ahead of the curve.