Old-School Web Hosts Fight Back…
Old-School Web Hosts Fight Back Against Amazon Cloud
Since its launch in 2006, Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud — aka EC2 — has changed the way companies and developers think about hosting software applications. In the past, you called up a web hosting outfit, negotiated a price, and signed contract, and they assigned you a certain number of servers sitting in a data center. But with EC2, you just opened a web browser and spun up a few virtual servers, paying only for what you needed.
But now, the traditional web hosts are fighting back.
This week, two of the biggest names in web hosting — Dreamhost and Media Temple — announced new cloud services based on OpenStack, an open source platform that seeks to mimic the Amazon way.
OpenStack has received tremendous hype since it was announced in 2010, but it’s only recently that the platform has been used in production. Rackspace officially switched its servers to OpenStack in August, offering a “public cloud” along the lines of Amazon, and HP rolled out its public cloud offering in May. Meanwhile, countless outfits are using OpenStack to help you set up a “private cloud” — an Amazon-style service that’s only available to your own employees.
Dreamhost is entering the public cloud fray with DreamCompute, while MediaTemple is adding private cloud services to its portfolio of offerings.
Dreamhost’s entry into the public cloud market has been long anticipated. It joined the OpenStack Foundation in April and has not been quiet about its ambitions.
Central to Dreamhost’s cloud computing strategy is Ceph, an open source storage system created by Dreamhost founder Sage Weil. DreamCompute is based on OpenStack with Ceph and network virtualization from VMware’s recent acquisition Nicira.
Weil launched a separate company called Inktank in May to support Ceph, but Dreamhost does offer a Ceph-based storage service called DreamObjects that can integrate with DreamCompute.
Other companies looking to get into storage for OpenStack include Basho, which already has a partnership with Citrix to provide block storage for CloudStack, a competing open source cloud computing system.
Media Temple’s offering is based on an OpenStack appliance from Morphlabs called the mCloud Helix Solution. The appliance includes OpenStack running on Dell servers with solid-state disks, along with Dell’s open source deployment software Crowbar. The appliance will also include 24/7 remote support and maintenance.
DreamCompute actually uses Dell servers and Crowbar as well. Dell has been part of the OpenStack project since it began in 2010. The company also offers many cloud related services, including the design and management of private clouds based on OpenStack and/or VMware vCloud.
Success is far from guaranteed for these hosting incumbents trying to get into the cloud computing market. Just last month, GigaOM reported that hosting giant GoDaddy shuttered its cloud service less than a year after it launched. Although Joyent was able to successfully pivot from web hosting to cloud computing, it did so years before Dreamhost. Companies like Amazon and Rackspace have a big head start these hosts are going up against some of the biggest names in IT and telecommunications.