Tonight’s Cloud Computing Panel at VLAB

Interesting panel on “Cloud Computing: Creating Value for Web 2.0 Apps” cloud computing tonight at VLAB. Here are a couple of key things I took away:

  • Jonathan Bryce, a co-founder at Mosso, gave the history of Rackspace’s incubation of a new model that can disrupt their existing business. At a starting price of $100 a month for a virtual server their price is 1/4 of the Rackspace entry point. It was refreshing to hear that they had the fortitude to follow through.
    • It’s clear that cloud computing is also creating value for traditional (web 1.0?) web applications as well.
  • Michael Crandell of Rightscale talked about porting apps to Amazon’s EC2 in a matter of a few days to two weeks.
    • A fully utilized Amazon virtual host will run about $70/month, Rightscale runs $500/month to manage 20.
    • Crandell was articulate and to the point in his answers on the panel, I was not surprised to find that he has written a succinct and informative overview of Cloud Computing (John Willis has a nice table “Cloud Vendors A-Z” that is mentioned in the comments and also worth reading).
  • One of the key advantages that a cloud computing infrastructure can offer is the ability to offer a rapidly scalable infrastructure in the face of skyrocketing demand. One success story that was mentioned was Animoto‘s ability to grow from 25,000 users on a Tuesday to 250,000 users two days later. Jeff Barr has the numbers in “Animoto Scaling Through Viral Growth” which shows them managing 400 hosts on Tue-Apr-15 and 3400 hosts by Fri-Apr-18.
    • But price/performance, robustness, and built-in disaster recovery should not be overlooked as drivers.

I think we are still very early days on this approach to computing. I was impressed by 3Tera‘s demo at Office 2.0 two years ago, but it was clearly very early days. Today it’s real: even though Amazon’s EC2 is marked beta, there are a number of firms in production and building businesses on it (and many other cloud platforms).

On a side note I had forgotten what an interesting mix of entrepreneurs the VLAB events attract. I had a number of excellent conversations with folks who were serious about enhancing or leveraging this technology in some way. It’s a shame this is the last event until September.

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