Sep 082012

In the IT shops have long proliferated intense religious wars between popular technologies. From the programmer’s perspective, debates over Java versus .Net or PHP versus ASP have caused many high profile feuds. Similarly in the system administrator space, Windows versus Linux or UNIX, and even infighting between different flavors of UNIX or Linux has made many tech mag headlines.
While cloud computing comes with the promise of abstracting business users and programmers from underlying technology decisions, these platform wars have still played a significant role in the choice of which cloud computing environment to support.

This year, however, we have seen great strides in interoperability on the cloud. What is making interoperability possible is a concept called Platform as a Service (PaaS). The idea behind Platform as a Service cloud services is that the user controls their entire solution stack from the operating system on up. This includes not only the configuration of the operating system but also all of the choices around programming environment and third party software installations. The PaaS cloud provider is responsible for providing the hardware and management tools to host and maintain the servers and network that host the operating platform and resultant solution stack.
The idea of Platform as a Service has been around for a number of years and was made popular by Amazon Cloud Services around three or four years ago. Amazon Cloud Services offered all of the scalability and management that their competitor cloud providers promised, but they also allowed you to manage an entire virtual environment on the operating system level. This means that users could create their entire software stack from the operating system up to the web application server and then port it onto Amazon’s cloud. Amazon Cloud Services then managed any hardware and networking responsibilities, such as increases in bandwidth or increases in processing power and memory.
In the past, Linux users who wished to run their service on the cloud would need to contract with a cloud service that offered Linux support. These cloud providers were built on the Linux stack and did not support Windows environments or the .Net environment. Users who had requirements for the support of both Linux and Windows would have to choose two different cloud providers, or at least two separate service agreements.

The newest generation of cloud services now eliminates the need to separate all of your platforms into different vendors, different service agreements, or even different management platforms. Many cloud providers have taken a queue from Amazon’s success with Platform as a Service offering. The big difference between the original Amazon cloud service and the new generation of cloud services is the integration of both Windows and Linux operating system platforms into a single management tool. This is extremely useful for many medium sized to large organizations as most IT enterprises today run a combination of several platforms. This hegemony of platform stacks has made a move to the cloud difficult for larger IT departments as there has not been a single management suite until now that can handle all of the platforms from Windows to Linux and Unix.
The most important news in the cloud industry in terms of Linux, however, is the announcement by Microsoft that it will now provide Linux support in its newest version of its cloud service, Azure. The decision seems to come from a realization by Microsoft that most of the cloud industry runs on the Linux platform, and if it wanted to compete in the cloud space it would need to provide support for Linux sooner or later.

Author bio: The post is written by Jason Phillips. He is an engineer. Apart from his profession he loves to write on various topics of his domain. Cloud computing is one of his favorite topic and in fact he is currently writing on crm cloud.

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