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The infrastructure as a service business model has been successfully implemented in many enterprises large and small. Cloud hosting provides scalability, lower cost, processing, and distribution efficiencies. Organizations could see significant cost savings by extending utilization of these offerings or other such cloud technologies. This is ideal for organizations looking to keep overhead low in order to grow fast and focus.


Advanced Pricing Comparison Tools and Agencies

Ideas International has released a tool to help with competitive pricing of cloud solutions, CloudSizer but has since been purchased by Gartner. The solution had allowed for someone to perform a direct comparison of providers side by side in a slick format. We have found HR Rank as a similar service to help with this comparison with free and lower cos engagements.

Gartner Reviews
VPS Benchmarks
HRank - Shared Hosting Providers Rating by Uptime

 

A Select set of Providers:

Amazon Web Services Conference 2011One of the issues many organizations face is the transition process. The most compelling story of such a transition is Amazon Retail.  John Jenkins(JJ) from the Retail division frequently shares that Amazon Web Services was not a result of Amazon.com's infrastructure needs.  Instead the retailer slowly migrated their infrastructure over to AWS. Vadim Jelezniakov, Director of Infrastructure Engineering at The New York Times, shared several large scale implementation success stories across several projects. Outages are always a cause for concern, but with the growth of server monitoring like Cloudkick Dynatrace, Nagios, New Relic, and IsTheService down for AWS along with comparison tools above have allowed cloud infrastructure to become prevalent. There is also the option to mitigate issues through hybrid environments, mixing cloud services and managed on premise hosting.

(Image: Alcatel, NY Times on the AWS Implementation Panel)   

Domains

Tools to help identify available domains, like, Bust A Name can help find domains that are actively being sold. The service helps buyers connect and place offers for current owners of the domains.

Open Source Experience Management

DrupalOne of the best resources for assessing and selecting experience management, or content management (CMS) are independent analyst companies like Forrester and Gartner. Forrester produces quarterly reports on Enterprise Content Management while Gartner produces a Magic Quandrant. These reports are written with a broad view and not industry specific. Luke Hinchliffe of Kurtosys writes of the 9 considerations for investment managers in selecting a content management solution. He discusses cost, functionality, performance, implementation time, integration, scalability, security, compliance, and futureproofing.

The method for choosing the right fit comes down to requirements and resources. Open Source solutions, like Wordpress and Drupal, may not cost money up front but require an investment in time that should be a major factor in assessment. As Luke concludes his piece it is important that the actual users are committed to leveraging the solution, and actually using it to the full potential.

For those with server administration expertise that are looking for a more affordable solution open source is a great way to go. If the team does not have this expertise or plan to build it out hosted providers are the way to go. The founder of Drupal, Dries co-founded a service company, Acquia to serve this need. A free alternative for Drupal based cloud hosting is Drupal Gardens.  It utilizes Acquia's enterprise level hosting architecture, but limits funcationality.

At Fund Wisdom we chose to use Drupal. This decision was based on all the factors Luke describes. The cost was $0 for the software itself, but hidden costs have arisen from time spent customizing through modules and themes. It also helps we are in Boston which is the same city Acquia is based.

Conclusion

When considering a hosting provider be sure to check out Gartner Reviews, VPS Benchmarks, and HRank to help with the decision. We leverage A2 Hosting, Dreamhost, and have historically used AWS and Rackspace. Much of our decision was based off the high level of resources required to run the set of modules in Drupal. We look forward to reading your thoughts and feedback in the comments below.

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