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Navigate the Google, Amazon, and Microsoft cloud computing labyrinth

Apr 19, 2009, 16:02 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brett D. McLaughlin)

[ Thanks to An Anonymous Reader for this link. ]

"Everyone's talking about "the cloud" these days. Walk around the floor of a tech conference or hang out with anyone making a paycheck from programming, and you'll quickly be inundated by terms like "cloud computing" and "Google App Engine" and "Amazon's hosted applications."

"Let's assume you've figured out what cloud computing is (there are plenty of great articles to help you do just that in the Resources section of this piece). If cloud computing was ultimately about a programming language, basic understanding would lead you to actual coding. For example, once you understand Java™ object fundamentals, you can dig in and learn much of what else you need to know as you go.

"But cloud computing isn't a language. Really, it's a paradigm. And even if you understand that cloud computing is about all of your services running on, and being hosted by, remote servers on the Internet, you've still got a lot of decisions to make before you can code anything. First and foremost, what platform will you choose for your cloud computing needs?

"There's Amazon's offering; there's Google; there's a Microsoft offering; there are a few one-offs like AppNexus and GoGrid... and they're not all equivalent! In other words, you're not able to just compare apples with apples. In fact, trying to sort through the various feature sets is like navigating a very large, very confusing, maze. With some very careful treatment, though, it's possible to still make a decision based on what your particular app needs."

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