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The Cloud is for Rent: Infrastructure-as-a-Service

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Amazon is now 20 years old, and now has a market capitalization of over $150 billion. The company, which was founded in 1995, soon grew from being an online bookseller to the world's largest online retailer of products of all types. In 2006, Amazon launched its own cloud know as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and now dominates in yet another area of the online space: cloud computing.

Amazon Web Services is a collection of web services that developers can access, for a fee based on usage, to add functionality to their websites and applications. This collection of services combines to form a cloud computing platform.

Amazon's cloud includes a vast array of cloud computing products in categories as varied as: computing (virtual servers, data processing services), networking (such as VPNs and direct network connections to AWS), content delivery, storage, database, deployment, management, application services, and more. When it comes to cloud computing, you can rent virtually any type of web service from Amazon Web Services including virtualized servers, storage, databases, billing and account management services, real-time streaming data, and much more. The cloud is for rent using an infrastructure-as-a-service model.

Who Uses AWS?

Amazon Web Services appeals to organizations of all sizes including startups and enterprises alike. Its infrastructure-as-a-service model translates into affordable access to high performance technologies at any scale. According to an article featured on ZDNet, some companies using AWS include Netflix, Pinterest, Unilever, Samsung, and the European Space Agency. According to Werner Vogels, CTO - Amazon.com, AWS is used in over 190 countries by hundreds of thousands of businesses.

Is AWS an All or Nothing Solution?

AWS can provide a company's entire infrastructure or enhance existing infrastructures. It is not an all or nothing solution. This makes its infrastructure-as-a-service quite flexible, too. However, one of the problems that plagues global organizations that use some cloud services involves remote access.

For example, when using AWS, a large organization is typically assigned a single data center close to its headquarters. But what about users in branch locations and distributed offices? These users also have access to Amazon's cloud, but they must access the data center using the public Internet. This can mean sluggish performance, network delays, latency, and congestion.

Fortunately, you can avoid this problem by using emerging cloud-as-a-service solutions which allow for a direct connection to AWS. According to one vendor, Aryaka, this combination results in a "unified infrastructure for accessing global cloud and enterprise resources.” What's more, it is not necessary to install private links or appliances. Like Amazon Web Services, cloud-as-a-service fees are based on usage. This service can also be scaled up or down as needed.

The cloud is indeed for rent, and there's no need to invest in expensive MPLS technologies. The modern, unified cloud infrastructure is about services, not boxes.

Other Sources:

  1. Wikipedia, "Amazon Web Services," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Web_Services.
  2. Aryaka, "Cloud Network as-a-Service," http://www.aryaka.com/products/cloud-network-as-a-service/.

About the Author:

Maxwell Pierce works in IT for many businesses around the world. To learn more about the author, connect with him on Google+.

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