News Flash - a Bookstore Owns the Cloud!

I think it's marvelous to see that Amazon had it together enough to be the first and the best in the cloud computing arena, something that Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and HP are all salivating over. Take that, ya big technological bullies!

But the EC2 Cloud is only one of a whole string of innovations that Amazon has cooked up, starting from the Web services that allow every Mom and Pop shop in the known universe to sell their books on Amazon. First it was "software as a service" and now it is "computing as a service". Computing as a service is actually a radical idea if you think about it. No longer are we constrained by space or time when it comes to how many computers we can own and use, and just think of the number of warranty forms we won't have to fill out and send in! And don't even get me started about factory rebates, that's a rant topic all on its own - if the Cloud saves us from that hell it is ROI enough if you ask me!

Of course, all the CIOs of the world are asking the same questions, namely will the total cost of ownership be less, will their applications and data be secure enough, will the service be reliable enough, and will they get equal or better performance. Once all those questions are answered in the affirmative we can expect our landfills to fill up quickly with discarded servers and server racks. Either that or Obama can ship them off to Fidel as a gesture of good will and as compensation for not having Amazon EC2 down there. Ouch.

Microsoft and Google have both launched cloud computing initiatives but if you ask me they have completely missed the boat. They are more into application hosting, which to me is not any different from existing web hosting providers - for now their services are free (or at least Microsof's Azure is) but if they aren't doing cloud computing like Amazon is doing it they've been left behind in the pit on the very first lap.

On the subject of being left behind in the pit, it seems to me that the Amazon Cloud, or cloud computing in general, is where Linux will finally come into its own. Windows has evolved into massive bloatware as you know, and waiting for Windows Server 2003 to boot up is like waiting for water to boil. But the CapCal Agent runs on a stripped down version of Linux that weighs only 125MB and boots up in 20 to 30 seconds rather than the 5 minutes Windows Server takes!

The Tortoise and the Hare, the race car and the VW bug - the analogies are abundant and will be exploited with great relish in posts to come. Suffice it to say that if Windows were a car and Bill Gates was driving it he would never have gotten a speeding ticket, that's for sure!

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