Guest Posting: Standards in the Cloud

Introduction

Everybody in the web hosting industry is obsessed of the words "Clouds", "Cloud computing" and "Cloud hosting". But very few discuss standards that companies use to provide Cloud hosting services.

Actually It is not like there are any standards in Cloud hosting. Most providers who offer some sort of clustered, grid or cloud hosting services do everything from "home". Today’s "Clouds" are home-made technologies! It is like Wild West.

Don’t get me wrong and I do not underestimate anyone’s achievements. RackSpace is great! Other web hosts that run any forms of grid or cloud infrastructures also deserve attention. But all of them (OK, most of them) use proprietary technologies which represent their own approach to cloud computing and virtualization.

Unlike traditional Web Hosting industry, as we know it for years, the emerging Cloud Hosting market looks like jungle. It is not based on standards. Thank god that there are companies like Red Hat (ref: http://www.redhat.com/solutions/cloud/access/guidelines.html) which created standards that can be used as guidelines from Linux development community. Do I forget Microsoft? Of course not! If we should count on Microsoft to help us moving to the clouds it would cost us a fortune and we would fine ourselves tied up to Windows for ages!

In Search of Cloud Hosting Standards

The automation standards of the Cloud hosting industry are about to be established! In traditional Web Hosting industry we have cPanel, Plesk, Direct Admin and other automation software platforms. Web hosts use them for more than a decade and these platforms have become web hosting standards.

All these work good both for consumers and providers. From a user’s perceptive, using these platforms allows consumers to switch servers or to migrate hosting accounts from one web host to another easily. From the perceptive of hosting providers,standardized hosting plaforms help them to create stable and reliable IT hosting service models Some web hosts, like Hostway, Aplus, etc. use their proprietary software to automate web hosting management.

However for most popular web hosting providers, especially those in shared hosting and virtual private server (VPS) hosting, base their business models on the server automation standards mentined above.

The best we can do is to find a way to continue using these web hosting automation platforms in the new Cloud dominated hosting industry. This should help small and middle-sized hosting providers to keep going and to compete (at a leveled ground) with other major Cloud hosting providers. Consumers will also benefit a lot of standards based Cloud hosting services as it encourages healthy competition among the providers (so you get to choose from hundreds or even thousands of different cloud hosting service providers).

Bottom line

I think that the hosting industry has always begun searching for its Cloud standards. Besides the platforms of VMware (too expensive), Sun, IBM, HP used from  major corporations, there is a growing demand for more affordable cloud hosting automation platforms. I can not project which companies will establish themselves as a providers of automation solutions for the Cloud hosting industry. A platforms like Fuscan Linux Cloud, Cloud Linux, Abicloud, Azati, CloudControl, etc.

About the author: Dimitar Avramov

Dimitar Avramov is the CEO and founder of SingleOS LLC, a producer of Cloud computing generation enterprise automation solutions for the hosting industry. His company’s cloud platform Fuscan LBC is a high availability system for cPanel/WHM based Shared Hosting providers. He is an owner of Daw Web Hosting Blog and used to work as journalist in web hosting industry. You can read more of his writing about cloud hosting here and follow his tweets at DimitarAvramov.

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