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IaaS Providers List: Comparison And Guide
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a cloud model which allows organizations to outsource computing equipment and resources such as servers, storage, networking as well as services, such as load balancing and content delivery networks. The IaaS provider owns and maintains the equipment while the organization rents out the specific services it needs, usually on a “pay as you go” basis. Today, the question is less about whether or not to use IaaS services, but rather which IaaS providers to use.
It’s easy to think of IaaS as a commodity product, that all virtual machines are essentially the same regardless of where they reside. There is some truth in that, however the distinguishing features of each cloud provider, especially around management and specialized services, are what’s important to administrators. When evaluating IaaS providers, it’s important to look beyond the range of cloud services that are offered and consider management functions, monitoring tools, identity management, service level agreements and customer support.
We help you get started by summarizing these key considerations of several IaaS providers. Although this is not a comprehensive list, the vendors represent a sample of the major IaaS offerings that are available today. As you’ll notice, some vendors focus on helping you integrate public cloud services with your existing infrastructure creating a hybrid environment. And many offer a free trial so you can see if their services and management platforms are right for your organization’s needs.
Amazon Web Services offers a full range of compute and storage offerings, including on-demand instances and specialized services such as Amazon Elastic Map Reduce (EMR) and Cluster GPU instances, as well as Elastic Block Storage (EBS) and high performance SSDs on the storage side. Additionally, the IaaS offers infrastructure services such as workflows, message passing, archival storage, in-memory caching services, search services, both relational and NoSQL databases and more.
Rich set of services and integrated monitoring tools; competitive pricing model.
AWS can also be used as a PaaS.
AWS is a complex mixture of services. As your workflows become more complex and you use more services it can be difficult to project expenses. However, Amazon offers a monthly calculator to help estimate your costs.
Instances range from $0.113/hour to $6.82/hour, with volume discounts available for reserved instances. Storage prices range from $0.095/GB/month to $0.125/GB/month. Additional charges for application services and data egress may apply.
New users can get 750 hours, 30GB storage and 15GB bandwidth for free with AWS’s Free Usage Tier.
Despite the name, Windows Azure is not a Windows-only IaaS. The compute and storage services offered are typical of what you’ll find in other IaaS providers, and administrators used to Microsoft platforms will find working with Windows Azure much easier. The IaaS offers ready access to virtual networks, service buses, message queues, and non-relational storage platforms as well.
Easy-to-use administration tool, especially for Windows admins. Windows Azure can also be used as a PaaS.
Google Compute Engine is well suited for big data, data warehousing, high performance computing and other analytics-focused applications. It is well integrated with other Google services, such as Google Cloud Storage, Google BigQeury and Google Cloud SQL. Although Google Compute Engine is still relatively new in the IaaS market, the fact that it runs on Google’s global infrastructure, including the company’s private global fiber network and high efficiency data centers sets it apart.
With the Google infrastructure backing it up, this IaaS is designed to scale.
Lacks ease of administration features. Running Hadoop on Google Compute Engine, for example, requires more from users; because it’s not integrated you have to download the Hadoop package, a patch for Hadoop and a set of JDK packages along with several other steps (outlined here ) to deploy a Hadoop cluster.
Instances range from $0.019/hour to $1.659/hour. Provisioned storage is $0.04/GB/month; snapshot storage is $0.125/GB/month.