Traditional hosting providers are getting a lot more serious about competing for every cloud computing dollar. This week, for example, Rackspace announced the general availability of its cloud computing services based on a Windows server.
Rackspace has been competing for both Linux and Windows applications for months. But the formal rollout of its Windows server platform is a significant waypoint in its all-out war with Amazon and a host of other cloud computing providers.
Amazon basically came up with a way to monetize its excess compute capacity using an on-demand model that proved economically more efficient for a lot of organizations than a traditional hosting service.
Cloud computing doesn't mean that traditional hosting is going away. But a significant amount of business that might once have gone to Rackspace or the EDS unit of Hewlett-Packard has shifted to Amazon, Google and a raft of other companies. In fact, Amazon and rival startup companies were so successful that IBM, Salesforce.com and eventually Microsoft rolled out their own cloud computing platforms.
But now companies such as Rackspace are trying to evict what they perceive to be trespassers that have set up tents in their proverbial back yards. As part of that effort, Jim Battenberg, cloud evangelist for Rackspace, says that in addition to bundling a range of services with its cloud computing service, Rackspace doesn't impose a cap on CPU usage or mark up the cost of network bandwidth to hide the true total cost of the cloud computing service.
In addition, Rackspace, unlike Amazon, can combine cloud computing and hosting services in a way that gives customers the most flexibility, said Battenberg.
Of course, all this competition among cloud vendors is great news for customers who can drive prices down or demand more services than ever for the same dollar. If you really want the best deal possible, invest in coffee mugs with logos from Amazon, EDS, IBM, Salesforce.com, Microsoft, Google, Rackspace and anybody else that comes to mind. Cloud computing platform providers have never been more inclined to make a better deal, especially when they know one of their rivals is sniffing around the same deal.