Your IaaS strategy: Why you need a football field of sandboxes

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The IaaS space is getting crowded. Here's why you need to speed date.

Amazon Web Services, Google's Compute Engine and Microsoft Azure are engaged in a price war that's headed to near free computing for you. IBM, Cisco, Verizon, Oracle and Hewlett-Packard are also in the game. Toss in Rackspace and its infrastructure as a service with actual customer service riff and it's a crowded space.

Also see: Research: IaaS impact on data center design and staffing | Savings: 67 percent report budget reduction with IaaS implementation

What's a tech buyer to do? Pick a winner? Standardize on AWS just due to price, velocity and innovation? Give Google a spin? Go with Microsoft since you're a Microsoft shop anyway? Bundle IBM's SoftLayer infrastructure since you run on Big Blue applications on many fronts anyway? Nah. Go speed dating.

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In other words, try all of them. Tech buyers are the belles of the ball. Everyone wants you because in many cases---think Oracle---infrastructure as a service is just the tip of the up sell sphere. These vendors want you on their cloud apps and platform and will cut you an infrastructure break to land you.

Here's where this IaaS scrum is going: One day there will be an algorithm attached to your data center management console that will pit computing clouds against each other to get the maximum value. Every computing instance will be up for grabs. This vision isn't new, but it may be a few years away. Clouds don't exactly interoperate well. Projects such as Open Stack may change that equation over time. In the meantime, you need to date.

Remember how you got started with AWS? It was a small project. Perhaps a dev team playing around. All it took was a credit card. Over time, AWS landed more of your workloads. Take that approach and rinse and repeat. Try Google Compute Engine. Take IBM's SoftLayer for a spin. In fact, any instance you can get without a lot of sales grief should wind up in a sandbox somewhere.

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