The term “expert” is obviously somewhat subjective. What exactly makes a platform for cloud computing specialist? The platforms in this section provide additional features beyond the basic platforms that we all know of. Sometimes resources are unique development environments and sometimes they are extra services that are integrated into the platform. This section explores the following specialized platforms: Microsoft Azure, Google App Engine.
The Azure platform was announced by Microsoft in the fourth quarter of 2008. The platform when connected to your operating system, offers a specialized option in Windows. It includes a “hypervisor” for provisioning machine instances dynamically. It is designed to run any application and that includes .NET. Of course. NET-based servers would be natural selection for shifting to the cloud. Microsoft has begun offering many of its server-based products such as Exchange, on the Azure cloud.
However, Azure is not merely a platform on Windows with .NET. Azure also offers other services, including SQL Services – offers a database of highly scalable SQL Servers and Live Services, which are Web services in many popular applications from Microsoft. It also includes entertainment on demand, photo-sharing system, instant messaging, etc.. Azure also offers tight integration with the Microsoft IDE, Visual Studio, thereby making it easier to run, test and deploy applications on the Azure platform.
Azure is a cloud of more proprietary platforms available, but has some obvious attractions, if you are already using Microsoft’s proprietary technologies. You are limited to Microsoft’s proprietary technologies, such as languages. NET and a database based on SQL server. You can use many Windows technologies on the Azure platform and still have rock solid security for all of them.
Google App Engine
App Engine launched by Google in the second quarter of 2008, is quite different from many of the other cloud platforms. There is no provision of hardware in it – you simply deploy your application in it – this can be done for free. However, the use of App engine is limited and extra storage and bandwidth can be purchased according to your requirements just like other cloud computing platforms. There are some special features offered by the service, but weren’t we expecting Google to continue with its legacy of offering above average services?
Google App Engine provides a robust development environment that supports Python. It also provides various services in addition to Python. The user management is integrated with Google. For example, you can log into all applications on the platform using the same credentials as those used for Gmail. There is an API for data storage for storing structured data. Storage and retrieval of the data warehouse is similar to using a relational database, but these are entirely owned by Google. It is based on distributed file system by Google, more popularly known as GFS.
The uniqueness of the platform lies in the compatibility with Python, but in the near future it is expected that many self developed applications would also be introduced by the big G into this cloud computing platform. Google App Engine does not offer any sort of data backup solution, although the underlying data store is designed to be highly fault tolerant.
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