I’m newish to the relatively recent and currently very popular idea of Cloud Computing and I’d like to add the disclaimer that I’m not 100% sure how best to explain what exactly it is so bare with me in this review!!
I first heard of cloud computing while using Amazon’s S3 storage service which basically offers vast amounts of online storage at nominal prices – you pay only for bandwidth you use and S3 has been the basis for a glut of new online storage websites and services. Amazon’s cloud computing service is called Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud in reference to the flexibility that cloud computing can offer. Cloud computing as I understand it is the offer of virtual computer processing power, that is, the raw CPU power of a traditional pc or network of pc’s, made available via the internet.
The idea with GoGrid is that you can sign up for a FREE or ‘Public Beta’ trial account and setup your own virtual pc servers and operating systems from within your GoGrid control panel. Signing up was a little toublesome as it happens as I filled in all my info and submitted a credit card only to be told that there was an ‘Order Processing error’ with no obvious solution. I had to use the Live Web Chat Support and talk to a pretty rude operator but I finally got my confirmation email and a generous credit of $50 to start me off cloud computing.
From within my control panel I could add a new ‘Web/Application Server Operating System’, ‘Load Balancer’ or ‘Database’ so I added the first since I thought I knew what that was! I had a choice of setting up ‘CentOS’, ‘Red Hat Linux’ or ‘Windows Server 2003’ servers so I choose the latter, again because it was the only one I recognized! You also get to pick the amount of RAM the server is to use (512MB – 2GB) and your own IP address (from a predefined list).
When you’re finished setting up the server you can connect to it via XP’s Remote Desktop facility and actually login to a fresh copy of Windows server 2003 which you can navigate and mess with the same as any other Operating System. With the help of a knowlegdable friend, I was able to setup a LAMP environment on my new server and put up a basic web page with links back to my site.
Cloud computing in general is not for the faint-hearted being as it is quite complex to setup and use a server but the potential of running your own virtual web hosting or application testing server without the need for expensive hardware or running costs is massive and for those familiar with the concepts involved it will be a relevation. GoGrid makes the job of setting up your own virtual server as simple as it could possibly be!