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Posts Tagged ‘Clouds’

The cost of cloud computing

Featuring an analysis of the top 3 cloud computing companies by Dion Hinchcliffe in terms of current pricing and feature sets.This is probably one of the first time a cost, feature benefit of cloud computing is being examined and from the looks of it this space is gong to get red hot in future.

Lessons from today’s cloud computing value propositions

Taking a look at all this, I’ve come away with five conclusions about the top providers of cloud computing today given their current pricing and feature sets:

  1. Amazon is currently the lowest cost cloud computing option overall. At least for production applications that need more than 6.5 hours of CPU/day, otherwise GAE (Google Apps Engine) is technically cheaper because it’s free until this usage level. Amazon’s current pricing advantage is entirely due to its reserved instances model. It’s also the provider with the most experience right now and this makes it the one to beat with low prices + maturity. However, expect subscriptions from Azure to give it a run for its money when Microsoft’s cloud platform formally launches in a few months (probably November).
  2. Windows costs at least 20% more to run in the cloud. Both Microsoft and Amazon offer almost identical pricing for Windows instances while Google App Engine is not even a player in Windows compute clouds. There are undoubtedly cheaper offerings from smaller clouds but they are less likely to be suitable for enterprise use, though certainly there are exceptions.
  3. Subscriptions will be one of the lock-in models for cloud computing. Pre-pay for your cloud to get the most value and you’ll get great prices. But you’ll be committed to providers for years potentially without a way to leave without stranded investments.
  4. Better elasticity does not confer major price advantages. GAE is one of the most granular of the cloud computing services, only requiring for you to pay for what you actually use (for example, you have to commit to at least an hour of compute time at a time from Amazon) but does not provide a major cost advantage for large applications.
  5. You can’t pay more for better uptime and existing SLAs are not sufficient for important business systems. It’s unclear why, given open questions about cloud reliability, why no vendors will offer differentiated service where enterprises can pay more for a better SLA. The best you can get right now is also the worst, or 99.95% uptime. This is about 4 hours of expected but unscheduled downtime a year. For business critical applications, this is still too much. This will end up being an opportunity for other vendors entering the space though I expect the Big 3 listed here will improve their SLAs over time as they mature.

Biomass-Burning 'Behind Asian Brown Clouds'

The pollution consists of pollutants from woodfires, cars and factories.
(AFP: Frederic J Brown)

From SciDev.net:

[NEW DELHI] Burning biomass is the main cause of the dense ‘brown clouds’ that plague South Asia each winter, and both biomass and fossil fuel burning should be targeted to combat climate change and improve air quality.

These are the conclusions of a study published today (23 January) in Science. The study, conducted at two sites in South Asia, attempted to find the main source of the carbon soot particles that comprise much of the clouds.

While the brown cloud acts as a ‘global dimmer’ by absorbing heat trapped by greenhouse gases, it also affects the regional climate by melting glaciers, affecting crop growth and impacting the Asian monsoon.

Read more ….

Scientists Resolve Mystery Of How Massive Stars Form

Volume renderings of the density field in a region of the simulation at 55,000 years of evolution. The left panel shows a polar view, and the right panel shows an equatorial view. The fingers feeding the equatorial disk are clearly visible. (Credit: Image courtesy of DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

From Science Daily:

ScienceDaily (Jan. 18, 2009) — Scientists may have solved one of the most longstanding astrophysical mysteries of all times: How massive stars – up to 120 times the mass of our sun – form without blowing away the clouds of gas and dust that feed their growth.

New research by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, University of California, Santa Cruz and UC Berkeley has shown how a massive star can grow despite outward-flowing radiation pressure that exceeds the gravitational force pulling material inward. The study appears in the Jan. 15 online edition of Science Express.

Read more ….

Cosmic Rays Do Not Explain Global Warming, Study Finds

Changes in cosmic rays are not likely to contribute to climate change.
(Credit: iStockphoto)

From Science Daily:

ScienceDaily (Dec. 17, 2008) — A new study supports earlier findings by stating that changes in cosmic rays most likely do not contribute to climate change. It is sometimes claimed that changes in radiation from space, so-called galactic cosmic rays, can be one of the causes of global warming. A new study, investigating the effect of cosmic rays on clouds, concludes that the likelihood of this is very small.

A group of researchers from the University of Oslo, Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU), CICERO Center for Climate and Environmental Research, and the University of Iceland, are behind the study.

Read more ….

Look Up Tonight For A Spectacular Treat In The Sky


From Times Online:

Biggest full moon for years enhanced by shooting stars

If the full moon tonight looks unusually large, it is not your imagination – it is the biggest and brightest full moon to be seen for 15 years.

Each month the Moon makes a full orbit around the Earth in a slightly oval-shaped path, and tonight it will swing by the Earth at its closest distance, or perigee. It will pass by 356,613km (221,595 miles) away, which is about 28,000km closer than average.

The unusual feature of tonight is that the perigee also coincides with a full moon, which will make it appear 14 per cent bigger and some 30 per cent brighter than most full moons this year – so long as the clouds hold off from blocking the view.

Read more ….