The Web: is it the future Datacenter ?

Yahoo, Amazon and Google among others are effectively forging an emerging computing model as an alternative to setting and operating conventional computing facilities for a company.

This emerging model offers vasts amounts of computing resources available to small and not so small companies to host their applications and services using a common 'computing cloud' as described in this Economist's article in reference to the partnership between Google and Salesforce.com.

Examples of this 'computing in the cloud' include services such as:

  • network.com. Sun's $1/CPU-hr, pay-per-use computing service, offers a catalogue of registered applications as well as the ability to develop, test and operate custom applications across the Internet.
  • Amazon. Amazon's Simple Storage Service - s3 - offers unlimited storage via a programable interface priced at $0.15 per GB-Month of storage used. Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2) offers virtual on-demand Linux images that live in S3 for booting and stopping; root access is provided.
  • salesforce.com. "Planning and implementing customer relationship management (CRM) solutions can be a significant undertaking. Salesforce.com's Successforce helps you succeed by unlocking the power of our business solutions and providing you with the greatest value from your investment."
  • Google. Several Google services and APIs as referenced here.
This trend does not mean that Datacenters will be replaced by Web-based services. No; but what will likely happen is that 'computing in the cloud' will be increasingly attractive to at least two groups of applications/services:
  1. New companies/services. Avoiding a large capital expenditure and logistics and cost of operating a computing facility(ies) will be very attractive for new business and services.
  2. New applications within large corporations. Often in-house IT organizations are unable to respond rapidly to new applications/services and corporate end-users may look to external providers for solutions.

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