Cloud Computing

ProfitBricks under the hood: IaaS from Germany – be curious

Last week I had a briefing with ProfitBricks to get a better understanding of the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering from Germany and to ask specific questions. I examined ProfitBricks critically with two articles in the past, number one here and number two here. First, because I don’t like marketing phrases that just promise much more than really is behind it and secondly because even the technical promises must be kept.

ProfitBricks details

ProfitBricks presents itself as a typical infrastructure-as-a-service providers. A graphical web interface is used to form customized servers to an entire data center. A complex network structure shall ensure a real isolation of the customer’s network in the virtual datacenter. A meshed network with a redundant Infiniband connection and a highly redundant storage (including automatic backup) provides the performance and availability of data.

In addition, ProfitBricks has its own security team and highly experienced system administrators that provide a round the clock support.


ProfitBricks has data centers or co-locations in Germany (Karlsruhe) and the USA (Las Vegas). However, both data centers are not connected with each other – physical nor virtual. So no data exchange between Germany and the United States can take place in this way.

The infrastructure components

At ProfitBricks servers can be equip from 1 to 48 cores, and between 1 GB and 196 GB of RAM. The maximum is currently at 60 cores and 250 GB of RAM per server, which can be enabled through a support contact. Storage is available between 1 GB and 5000 GB. However, this can only be assigned to one server directly. So there is no central storage. To realize this, one has to build its own central storage appliance and distribute the storage over it.

Within a self-designed data center (see below), two zones (similar to Amazon Availability Zones) are available. This allows to configure two servers, whereby one of them will not notice about problems in the area of the second server.

There is no centralized firewall. Instead, each of all NICs in a server can be configured with their own rules. A central firewall can achieved by creating a dedicated firewall appliance (Linux + IPTables or a prepared commercial firewall as an ISO image).

Although a load balancer is available, ProfitBricks recommends to build an own one based on an appliance because among others the ProfitBricks one has no monitoring included.

ProfitBricks do not offer additional own value-added services. And on their own admission, this will never happen. Instead, the provider relies on a network of partners that will provide appropriate services for the infrastructure platform.

Currently unique: The Data Center Designer

What really convinced me at ProfitBricks is the “Data Center Design (DCD)”. Such a one no IaaS provider worldwide has it in this format.

Based on these graphical web interface one is able to create a complete virtual data center individually and activate the configuration or modify it with a mouse click – whether it’s about servers, storage, load balancers, firewalls, or the corresponding network.

Is a data center design ready, it can be saved and deployed. Previously the user obtained more information about a check through the system. Here is determined whether everything is configured correctly – e.g. that all servers have a boot drive with the corresponding image. Then the total cost per month for this virtual data center is itemized.

However, the DCD has still a weak point. Is a data center deployed, no single server can be removed from the design or stopped via the web interface. Therefore the entire data center must be un-deployed. Then the server is removed and the data center must be re-deployed. Using the proprietary SOAP API that supports, among other things Java and C #, a single server should be removed. This web feature is to follow, as well as a REST API, in the future.

The customer is mostly left on its own

ProfitBricks offers a German support, which has either worked for years as an administrator, or was involved in the development of the system. Support is included for free. Even if one evaluates the platform only with a test account.

Otherwise ProfitBricks is a common self-service like all the other IaaS providers. This means that a customer is self-responsible for the design of its virtual infrastructure and how an application on the infrastructure can scale and provided highly available.

With additional questions and approaches, for example for configuring a separate firewall appliance or a dedicated load balancer, external partners should help.


The billing follows exact to the minute per hour. The cost break down on this as follows:

  • 1 Core = 0,04 EUR per hour
  • (Windows Server plus 0,01 EUR per hour)
  • 1 GB RAM = 0,09 EUR per hour
  • 1 GB storage = 0,09 EUR per 30 days
  • 1 GB traffic = 0,06 EUR per GB traffic

For the US market:

  • 1 Core = 0,05 USD per hour
  • (Windows Server plus 0,02 USD per hour)
  • 1 GB RAM = 0,015 USD per hour
  • 1 GB storage = 0,09 USD per 30 days
  • 1 GB traffic = 0,08 USD per GB traffic

Live Vertical Scaling

ProfitBricks supports the so-called Live Vertical Scaling. This means that further resources such as CPU and RAM can be add to a virtual server during operation. This feature must be enabled separately for each server, and the server must then be restarted once.

However, what I have noted here and what has be confirmed by ProfitBricks during the briefing, the operating system, database, software and the own application must support it. The systems need to realize that suddenly more cores and RAM are available and use it. And in the opposite case also deal with, when the resources scale down again.

ProfitBricks is interesting

ProfitBricks is an interesting infrastructure-as-a-service offering. Especially in the very cloud-sparse (IaaS) Germany with a data center in Germany. Particularly noteworthy is the Data Center Designer (the only USP), which is currently unique in the world and provides convenience features, that the other IaaS providers are neglecting. Admittedly the designer rakes at one point or another (Example: removing server), but that will certainly change in a next version.

At the end of the day ProfitBricks is a pure infrastructure-as-a-service provider that has its strengths in infrastructure operations. This also showed the briefing. Therefore an interview with CEO Achim Weiss confuses me, which I had read a few weeks ago. Besides enterprises he called Internet startups as ProfitBricks target customers. Today, I consider this as an utopia. Without a services portfolio like the offering of the Amazon Web Services, this target group can not be achieved. The service gap can and should be closed by service partners. Another but quite legitimate approach if the strengths are in a different area.

Cloud Computing

Netflix releases more “Monkeys” as open source – Eucalyptus Cloud will be pleased

As GigaOM reported, Netflix will publish more services similar to its Chaos Monkey and the Simian Army under the open source license on Github in the near future.

The Chaos Monkey

The Chaos Monkey is a service running on the Amazon Web Services which is looking for Auto Scaling Groups (ASG) and terminates instances (virtual machines) for each group randomly. The software is designed flexible enough that it works well on the platforms of other cloud providers. The service is fully configurable, but by default runs on ordinary weekdays from 09.00 until 15.00 o’clock. In most cases, Netflix has written their applications so that they continue to work when an instance has some problems. In special cases, this does not happen consciously, so that their own people have to resolve the problem in order to learn from it. The Chaos Monkey thus runs only a few hours a day so that the developers are not 100% rely on him.

Find more information about the Chaos Monkey and the Simian Army under Netflix: Der Chaos Monkey und die Simian Army – Das Vorbild für eine gute Cloud Systemarchitektur.

More services from Netflix Monkey portfolio

  • Denominator: A tool for managing multiple DNS provider.
  • Odin: An orchestration API that can be called by Jenkins and Asgard, the Netflix deployment tool. It is designed to help developers deploy more convenient.
  • Recipes: These are blueprints, which can be used to roll out several Netflix components together more easy.
  • Launcher:Rolls out the final blueprints by pressing a button.
  • Mehr Monkeys: Other Netflix Monkeys are to follow later this year, including the Conformity Monkey, the Latency Monkey and the Latency Howler Monkey. The Conformity Monkey ensures that all relevant instances are placed equivalent. The Latency Monkey simulates latencies and more errors. The Howler Monkey latency monitor whether a workload meets AWS possible limitations and reports it.

The Chaos Gorilla which randomly simulates the crash of an entire AWS Availability Zone and the Chaos Kong that simulative shoots an entire AWS region should also follow soon.


Although Netflix would offer its “Monkeys” across multiple clouds, so that e.g. also OpenStack users can refer to it. However, with the steady release of its HA test suite Netflix plays more and more in Eucalyptus hands.

Eucalyptus Cloud lets you build a private cloud based on the basic functions of the Amazon cloud infrastructure. What is at Amazon for example an AWS Availiablty Zone represents in Eucalyptus a “Cluster”. Thus the Netflix tools allow similar HA functionality testing in the private / hybrid cloud, like Netflix already uses it themselves in the Amazon public cloud. In addition, Eucalyptus will certainly integrate the Netflix tools in its own cloud solution in the midterm to have an own HA test in their portfolio.

The release of the Netflix tools under the open source license will strengthen, not least, the cooperation of Amazon Web Services and Eucalyptus but rather make Eucalyptus more attractive for Amazon as a takeover target.

Cloud Computing

Office 365 Home Premium – Microsoft does not rely on software-as-a-service

Yesterday Microsoft has introduced its new Office for the retail market. The new Office 365 Home Premium promises to deliver new capabilities for direct connection to social networks, SkyDrive and Skype to facilitate communication with family and friends. In addition, each user has his personal office anywhere. Use it on a PC, tablet or smartphone – and even on the Mac. The control is done in addition to keyboard by touch or pen input. But who thought that Microsoft offers its new office to the idea of the cloud as SaaS (software-as-a-service), is mistaken.

Cloud but not software-as-a-service

Office 365 Home Premium is not SaaS or a cloud service in the strict sense, because the office is not provided or used over the browser. (Although there are the completely free Office Web Apps, which have directly nothing to do with Office 365 Home Premium.) Microsoft gives the reason that not all Office functions can be operated performant in the browser. Instead, Microsoft is going an “interesting” way which is totally new. Microsoft Office becomes hybrid. Microsoft names this truly innovative technology as “Office streaming”. Through “Click 2 Run” an office suite can be installed in minutes. The interesting thing is that Microsoft initially installed the statistically most used basic functions, so you can quickly start working with Office. So you are able to work with Office already during the installation. In the background the rest is installed. The cluo: If a function is called, for example of Word, while Office is still in installation mode, this function is prioritized accurately and directly streamed. (Whether this type of installation, a user really needs is another question, but the idea is good.)

Cloud is just in the backend

Office 365 Home Premium syncs all personal settings and documents automatically to the cloud. Thus all data are available on all connected PCs. This also works on other PCs, if you log on there with a Microsoft account of, or Based on the new technology “Office on Demand” the office is then streamed from the cloud for processing on the respective computer. “Office on Demand” installs Office on the local system in a virtual environment. When the session is closed, the virtual environment and the Office with all the data completely disappears from the system. Thus, Microsoft would ensure privacy when using on other computers.

Prices and goodies

Office 365 Home Premium includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and also Outlook, Access and Publisher. By subscribing a user automatically has to have the latest Office solution on the hard drive or on the road via”Office on Demand”. Other goodies: 60 minutes per month with Skype to landlines, additional 20 GB SkyDrive storage and use rights for up to five devices, laptops, tablets and smartphones, for both Windows and Mac environments.


  • Office 365 Home Premium: 99 EUR per year
  • Office 365 University: 79 EUR for 4 years
  • Office Home & Student 2013 for 139 EUR
  • Office Home & Business 2013 for 269 EUR
  • Office Professional 2013 for 539 EUR

Office 365-Business

From 27 February 2013 also new Office 365 business services with new functions will be available, which will probably also include a SkyDrive Pro version.

The strategy is consistent with Windows 8

That Microsoft does not rely on SaaS is a little surprising, but it fits into the Windows 8 strategy. The applications are mostly held locally to ensure the speed and necessarily not have to rely on a data connection. All personal settings and documents, if the user wants, are stored in the cloud in order to ensure the location and platform independent access. This is ensured by “Office on Demand” and streaming.

Is the Microsoft Office suite still contemporary?

For me, the question arises, why Microsoft continued its commitment to this massive office suite and does not offer applications separately. I understand the strategy to give end users access to Outlook. Parents can e.g. organize the family. But who does that really? After Microsoft’s research probably some. So, reference customers were allowed to talk about their use cases during the launch event. I’m not so sure. If you look at the behavior of (young) users, who prefer to self assemble their productivity suite and do not want to get dictated by mom and dad. (The influence of their friends is much greater.) Dropbox for storage, Evernote for taking notes, Remember the Milk or Wunderlist for tasks, GMail or for e-mail are among the favorite candidates. The Cloud and Mobile apps make it possible.

Office is good, no question! But is this powerful solution still contemporary? Do users really want to get dictated what they should use or do they prefer to assemble their own solutions. Word and Excel are an added value for each personal productivity suite, but for that they must be offered separately, and I do not mean the Office Web Apps.

Cloud Computing

Amazon Web Services vs. Microsoft Windows Azure – A direct comparison

Many companies are currently in the evaluation of public cloud services such as IaaS. The first thoughts brush the two large and supposedly known providers in the scene – Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Windows Azure. Both have an extensive and growing range of cloud services today. But, if you want to compare both portfolios the challenges increase with the number of services.

Amazon Cloud vs. Windows Azure

The following table shows the cloud service portfolio towards 1:1 and provides clarity. Who provides what in which area, what is the name of the respective service and under what URL to find more information about it.


Amazon Web Services

Microsoft Windows Azure

Computing power

Virtual machines Elastic Compute Cloud Role Instances
High Performance Computing Cluster Compute Instances HPC Scheduler
MapReduce Elastic Map Reduce Hadoop on Azure
Dynamic scaling Auto Scaling Auto Scaling Application Block


Unstructured storage Simple Storage Service Azure Blob
Flexible entities SimpleDB Azure Tables
Block Level Storage Elastic Block Store Azure Drive
Archiving Amazon Glacier
Storage Gateway AWS Storage Gateway


RDBMS Relational Database Service SQL Azure
NoSQL DynamoDB Azure Tables


CDN CloudFront CDN
In-Memory ElastiCache Cache


Load Balancer Elastic Load Balancer Fabric Controller / Traffic Manager
Hybrid Cloud Virtual Private Cloud Azure Connect
Peering Direct Connect
DNS Route 53

Messaging & Applications

Async Messaging Simple Queue Service Azure Queues
Push Notifications Simple Notification Service Service Bus
Bulk Email Simple Email Service
Workflows Amazon Simple Workflow Service
Search Amazon CloudSearch


Resource monitoring CloudWatch System Center


Identity Management Identity Access Management Azure Active Directory


Resource creation CloudFormation
Web Application Container Elastic Beanstalk Web Role
Cloud Computing

Amazon acquires Eucalyptus cloud – It’s merely a matter of time

In the public cloud Amazon Web Services (AWS) is currently the undisputed leader. Regarding private or hybrid cloud solutions providers such as Microsoft and HP are in a better position. AWS itself has currently no own offering in this area. Instead, an exclusive partnership with Eucalyptus Systems was received in March 2012. Eucalyptus is some kind of an image of the basic AWS functions. This strategic decision is understandable and will have consequences for the future.

The cooperation between AWS and Eucalyptus

In March 2012, AWS and Eucalyptus Systems, a provider of a private cloud infrastructure software that can be used to build up the basic functions of the Amazon cloud in the own data center, have decided to work together in closer. This cooperation was strengthened by Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos and has the background to support the better migration of data between the Amazon Cloud and an Eucalyptus private cloud. Furthermore, and even more important is that the customer should be able to use the same management tools and their knowledge for both platforms. In addition, the Amazon Web Services will provide Eucalyptus with further information to improve the compatibility with the AWS APIs.

The competition is catching up

Although it is currently very rosy in the public cloud, the future lies in the hybrid cloud. In addition, many companies are flirting with their own private cloud rather than changing into the public cloud. This means that the private respectively the hybrid cloud gain increasingly important. Here the Amazon Web Services, except for the virtual private cloud, offer nothing. Microsoft and HP already have a very balanced portfolio that offers solutions and services both for the public and for the private cloud. Furthermore, both have a large customer base.

Also, another point is clear. Where Microsoft and HP focus on the big enterprises, Amazon Web Services are presently the Mecca for startups. The success speaks for itself. However, if we look at Amazon’s efforts in recent months, the target direction is clear. AWS needs and wants in the enterprise. But that’s only possible with a private / hybrid cloud strategy. Therefore Amazon will arrive at some point where it is actively looking to conquer these markets aggressively, too.

Amazon is a service provider

AWS did not make any acquisitions in the cloud space so far, because they easily do not have to. As an innovation leader, they set the standards in the public cloud. In the private / hybrid cloud, it looks different. Here, in my point of view, there is almost no expertise. Even if Amazon operates its own data centers, the operation of a quasi-standard solution for enterprise is different. Here, Microsoft and HP have years of experience, and thus a clear advantage. The Amazon Web Services are a typical service provider. This means they deliver their services from the cloud, which will simply be consumed only. Cloud software for the mass market is not developed. Providing, delivering, maintaining and rolling out updates and new releases as well as appease the customers the experience is missing. Therefore, the cooperation with Eucalyptus has been the first right step. What is not part of the core business will be outsourced. Just as Amazon market cloud computing, they seem to live it themselves.

However, Amazon will want to have more influence on the private and hybrid cloud, and also want to enjoy a piece of this cake. Therefore, the next logical step will be to acquire Eucalyptus Systems. On the one hand it is about more impact on Eucalyptus. Because even though Marten Mickos has promoted the cooperation with AWS, he will not bow to anything that Amazon requires. On the other hand, the hybrid cloud integration needs to be strengthened. In addition, qualified staff is needed for private cloud consulting, which Eucalyptus including its affiliates also brings along.

It’s merely a matter of time

When Eucalyptus Systems is taken over by Amazon is a matter of time. Perhaps in 2013 or in 2014/2015. In any case, it will happen. How Eucalyptus is then integrated is difficult to say. I assume that Eucalyptus will initially operate independently and put under the umbrella brand of Amazon described as “An Amazon company”. According to the saying, concentrate on your core business, AWS will continue to focus on the public cloud and quite look how the hybrid and private cloud will develop under their own influence. In any case, with Eucalyptus they would have the right solution for their needs in their own portfolio.

Cloud Computing

“Infrastructure-as-a-Platform” – More convience in the cloud

The future of enterprise IT is x-as-a-service. Especially infrastructure-as-a-services enable quick access to computing and storage resources and are becoming more and more popular. However, what many IaaS do lack is the convenience, the comfortable configuration of the infrastructure. With infrastructure-as-a-platform (IaaP) especially small-and medium-sized businesses that do not have the necessary IT expertise get easy access to build up their virtual data center out of standard IaaS resources.

Infrastructure-as-a-Platform – Simplicity counts

What most IaaS solutions do lack is the easy access to resources that can be used to build virtual infrastructures. These are usually cloud services providers of the first generation. The offer is accessed through an API, in order to control the virtual machines and let interact all infrastructure components and services together. Graphical management / configuration interfaces are available but only with very small features. Instances can be started, stopped and shutted down, but for the configuration of complex infrastructures expertise and extensive know-how with parallel programming is necessary.

And that is the crucial factor. The ordinary user is not an cloud cloud computing expert nor must or should he be someone. He does not understand the issues that make a cloud to a cloud. And this is not necessary for him, he just wants to use the “black box” for his own purposes. Moreover, he is not interested or even have the time to deal with the often complex systems and processes, and to learn it. Usually the average cloud user expects a coherent and integrated platform on which he can assemble his necessary IT resources over a certain period of time for his own purposes.

The future belongs to infrastructure-as-a-platform

Besides the ease of access to the resources, in particular infrastructure-as-a-platform solutions combine various IaaS resources such as computing power, storage, network components, etc. with “some clicks” and allow companies in order to build their own data center on demand, so a “data-center-as-a-service “(DCaaS).

Already established cloud computing provider – the first generation – must begin to catch up in this area and offer their existing and new customers more convenience, so that they can use the infrastructure more conveniently and also require less time and expertise at configuration. Because IT departments, especially of small-and medium-sized companies will be watching for more comfort in the future.

Cloud Computing

“Variable cloud contracts” Please What?

I’ve found an interview in the German CIO magazine with the title “We need variable cloud contracts“. Please what? Variable cloud contracts? These are three words which together don’t make sense and show that the cloud computing concept somehow has not arrived yet or, and this will be very awkward, the providers wrongly advised.

Fragmented: “Variable cloud contracts”

Let us disassemble this word-mesh and image it to the generally principles of cloud computing we have the following result:


Cloud computing is inherently variable. Even more variable than any form of outsourcing we have seen in the history of information technology. And that regarding on the time of use and as well as the accounting. See next item.


Resumed in a nutshell cloud (computing) means the flexible (variable) on demand use of (IT)-resources over a data link, preferential the Internet.

Flexible respectively variable means for a customer obtaining the resources, use them and “give them back” when he wants (on demand). Beyond that the customer just pay for the resources he used within this period and which resources he truly used (pay as you go).

So, highly variable!


In classical thought, there are no “real” contracts within cloud computing as we normally know. In the public cloud you just need a credit card. Of course you have a kind of a contract, but this is or should be designed by the providers side, so that you as a customer will receive the maximum of flexibility. That means that the accounting ensued e.g. per hour and no monthly or even annually contract is signed. If the infrastructure of the provider is no longer needed after a certain time the settlement ends.

The tangible statement

The statement in the interview reads as follows:

“Cloud computing is a trend you have to use. Essential for us is the contractual implementation. What the cloud does, is the quick usability of IT services and the availability is separated from the company. But it will be only interesting for us, if all relevant safety requirements are met, if you can switch from one provider to another and the contracts can be designed variably. This means concretely the related resources have to be adapted within 24 hours of both upward and downward.”

In particular the last (marked in bold) part is worrying!

“… if you can switch from one provider to another and the contracts can be designed variably. This means concretely the related resources have to be adapted within 24 hours of both upward and downward.”

This statement shows to me on the one hand, that the view of the market is missing. Because there are already enough (real) cloud computing providers where exactly this demand is possible. Mentioned here for example Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Windows Azure or CloudSigma. On the other hand, this also means that so many providers continue to play a double game and define cloud computing by their own rules and so confuse the customers.

Cloud Computing

Don’t compete against the Amazon Web Services just with Infrastructure

More and more providers try to seek their fortune in Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) hoping to get something from the alpha males cake – Amazon Web Services (AWS). GigaOm recently asked the question: “Will there be an Amazon of Europe?” and they have the clear answer: No. I am also of the opinion, that there will be no significant competition from Europe in the near future. I go even one step further and assume that there is currently no public provider in the world who is able to compete with AWS. Because unlike GigaOm, you have to look at the cloud market from a global point of view. Based on their structure there are no regional limitations for the cloud. Each user can get his ressources from all over the world. I don’t want to exhibit AWS a free ticket, but it will be very tough for the competitors to get a good marekt share in IaaS.

The market is big enough, but…

The IaaS market is big enough and offers plenty of room for multiple infrastructure vendors. However, you should keep in mind who currently decides for the public cloud, and who for the private cloud. After that take a look of each providers offerings to separate the wheat from the chaff. Then it becomes clear why Amazon has the lead, and it will be hard for newbies, if they focus just on pure infrastructure. Some vendors try to compete Amazon, for example with a higher (network) performance. That is certainly a nice try, but not a conclusive argument.

Public Cloud: Developer & Startups

The public cloud is preferentially used by developers and startups. Based on the simple resource access and the pay per use model of the cloud they build their business models. My favorite example is Pinterest. By their own admission they were not as successful without cloud computing. This was partly due to the possibility of an ever-growing and expand the resources to meet the needs without the huge capital for its own server farm. On the other hand, the cloud has allowed Pinterest to work efficiently and experiment cost-effectively. In addition, the website could grow very fast while only a very small team had to worry about maintenance. In December 2011, Pinterest employed only 12 people.

Private Cloud: Enterprise

Many established companies are focused on the subject of data protection and security regardless of the high investment costs and maintenance costs of a private cloud. In addition, I hear in conversations that “investments have already made ​​in hardware/ software” which still has to be exploit. According to a Gartner survey, 75% of respondents plan a strategy in this area until 2014. Many different companies have private cloud solutions in pilot projects and in-production as well. The main goal is to draw the most out of virtualization.

Infrastructure means more than just infrastructure

Most IaaS provider make the mistake to focus on pure infrastructure only. That means they only offer the typical resources such as processing power, memory, operating system images, and other software solutions such as databases. That fits in the basic idea of IaaS, but it is no longer enough to compete against Amazon.

Services, Services, Services

If you look at the offering of the Amazon Web Services in detail, it now consists of much more than just virtual resources, computing power and storage. This is a comprehensive service portfolio, which is being steadily enlarged with a huge pace. All services are fully integrated with each other and form their own ecosystem. With that you are able to built your own virtual data center and develop and host complex applications.

Developers are Amazon’s disciples

On the basis of this cohesive offering Amazon is a popular place for developers and startups, who find a lot of capabilities to implement their own ideas. I have already written about this situation critically and stick to it that Amazon should also focused increasingly on the needs of businesses. Nevertheless, developers are currently Amazon’s trump making the cloud provider to be the leading IaaS in the world.


What Amazon currently missing is comfort, convenience. Here new players combine IaaS resources such as computing power, storage, network components, etc. to an “Infrastructure-as-a-Platform” (IaaP) solution. They allow companies to build their own data center on-demand, thus a “Data-Centre-as-a-Service” (DCaaS). In this area Amazon must begin to catch up and offer their existing and new customers more convenience, to let them use their infrastructure more conveniently and need less time and expertise at configuration. IT departments, especially in small-and medium-sized companies will be watching on these comfort in the future.

Difficult but not impossible

Amazon is one of the first generation cloud providers, and there are areas in which they need to catch up. But the concept is very sophisticated. Under the hood, they may no longer be technologically up to date. But the question is how much a customer is interested, whether technology A or technology B is used in the “black box” as long as the services are available, with which the objective can be realized. In addition, certain technologies are based on the loose coupling of infrastructure and services (building blocks) can be exchange.

As I wrote above, the market is big enough and not all companies will go to Amazon. I just would like to point out that it is now no longer enough to focus only on the basic IaaS properties when sending an IaaS offering against Amazon in the ring. Some time ago I had faced the Amazon Web Services with the Google Cloud Platform (AWS vs. Google) and Microsoft Windows Azure (AWS vs. Azure). To me both are those public IaaS providers that are currently in a position to catch up. However looking at Google’s table particularly, some places still have to many service gaps.

Image source: Bildquelle: ©Stephanie Hofschlaeger / PIXELIO

Cloud Computing

Dear cloud, what’s coming up next?

The cloud is here and nobody will be able to stop this trend! So what’s going on within the cloud?

At first all kind of applications we are still using locally will find the way into a SaaS application. But we still need local mobile apps in situations when we do not have an internet connection. That means that our data will not be fully mobile and a copy of all the things we are working on is stored locally and synchronized when we have an internet connection.

Next, for me a big future trend is an extended PaaS like Development-as-a-Service, where everything is stored and developed in the cloud. There are some solutions yet, but we still need a more and better integrated stack. What I mean is a combination of SaaS plus PaaS, a powerfull solution which implements the whole stack including the image of a company. Just call it „Company Service Broker“. This is for example a broker who is putting the services a company needs together e.g. ERP and CMS. So you do not need one account for each service you have to authorized with. It’s one platform which integrates everything into one application/ frontend with a single sign on for the enduser.

For me it’s inconvenient to work with more than one application. I always have to open up to 5+ browser windows and authorized for each service. So we have the same situation we know from on premise solutions – isolated applications for each problem. One solution for CMS, one for ERP etc. As an example for SaaS: GMail and Salesforce plus other applications. Honestly the integration between Salesforce and Google Apps is not well-engineered so far.

Bottom line: there is a need for one (cloud) interface to the customer.

Image sources:,,