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In my last role before leaving Microsoft, I served as a Web Strategy Lead for the Middle East and Africa. This is where I learned about how telcos and hosters go to market. There are typically 2 different packages that are sold. One is physical hosting where there is actually a piece of hardware given to a customer for use. This hardware can be owned by the customer and “carried in” to the hoster for management (e.g. colocation). Or the hardware can be purchased by the hoster on behalf of the customer. Either way the hoster manages the hardware and infrastructure, whereas the customer is generally responsible for the software and platform. Rackspace is a well known provider of such services. This type of hosting has been around since the late 80s.
Another scenario is virtual hosting. In addition to having a physical box, there will also be virtual instances on that box. There can be many of these, usually up to a certain cap. This cap is designated usually by the amount of money that the customer pays for the hosting. In this scenario, the hoster manages the hardware infrastructure; however the customer may also ask the hoster to manage platform and software too. Drupal Gardens, by Acquia hosting and force.com by Salesforce are two good examples of these. This type of hosting emerged in the last 10 years or so.
These days, this “old school” hosting is often rebranded as Infrastructure as a Service. This is why some hosters claim to have been doing Cloud for decades.
Slalom has a dedicated Advanced Infrastructure Services team that has won awards in this space, especially around the Office 365 suite of products.
For our local Cloud team in New York, we focus on helping customer design, redesign and develop on-premise, hybrid and cloud applications in the Cloud. This goes beyond hosting.
By hosting an application into the Cloud, doesn’t necessarily mean it will take full advantage of the Cloud. Sure, the billing may be cheaper and the management costs may be reduced. However, there are very specific design considerations that need to be adjusted to fully take advantage of the Cloud. Which leads to my next point.
See next: Decades old Software Patterns may not be applicable in the Cloud
Full summary here: Five Opinions on Cloud Computing in New York City