Cloud computing arose out of an operational dissatisfaction with large inflexible server infrastructure that needed to be maintained meticulously, even when such maintenance was not a core competency. It was of course fortuitous that the technology matured at the right time, but that's the case with most successful technologies.

Amazon with its AWS suite and Rack Space were the early entrants into the market, with Google, Microsoft and GoGrid joining the party two years later. AWS is the undisputed leader in the public cloud space, but other players are successfully carving out their own niches.

If you're in the market for new cloud offerings, the services need to be evaluated on platforms supported, languages, integrated DB support, pricing policy, support response time, maximum limits, Support for human-only tasks, availability of service level agreements and service credit in the event of an outage.

Data Security is a big one and each provider addresses this in their own ways. Google's app engine for example runs Java applications using the Java 6 virtual machine (JVM). The JVM runs in a secured "sandbox" environment to isolate your application for service and security. The JVM can execute any Java bytecode that operates within the sandbox restrictions.The Python interpreter also runs in a secured "sandbox" environment to isolate your application for service and security.

There isn't a one size fits all requirement for cloud. Each of the four major public players should be evaluated on the basic parameters above and the list below:

  1. Platform Supported
  2. Languages Supported
  3. Cloud Services and Tools
  4. Integrated Db
  • Maximum limits on storage, volume
  • Support for Human tasks
  • SLAs
  • Support pricing
  • Incidence Notification approach
  • Community/NewsBlogs
  • Resource Pricing
  • Prepaid plan availability
  • Special Payment Services
  • Data Hosting location
  • Data Backup
  • Data after termination
  • Notice period for termination
  • Data Security
  • Industry regulatory compliance
  • Virtualization platform
  • Control Panel
  • Age of Service

If you want more information a free and detailed and updated breakdown of the comparison between AWS, Windows Azure, Rack Space, Google app engine, GoGrid and has been provided at the THBS Insights at

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