Is Amazon or Google best for a particular workload? Cloudyn may be able to tell you

Google Compute Engine just launched to general availability in December and it stands to reason that customers of other cloud platforms are looking at whether it might make sense to switch to GCE.

An announcement today from Cloudyn aims to make it easier for Amazon Web Services customers to figure out if they should switch to GCE (and vice versa). Cloudyn, which monitors AWS deployments to find unused resources and point out ways to reduce costs, is announcing support for GCE today. Not only will GCE customers be able to monitor their deployments, they'll be able to find out if it makes sense to switch from GCE to AWS.

The same is true for current Cloudyn customers monitoring their AWS deployments. Cloudyn customers will be able to look at specific workloads and compare the cost and performance of running those workloads on GCE and AWS.

Cloud pricing is notoriously difficult to compare. Offering an apples to apples comparison, based on real workloads, should help businesses figure out which of the two cloud powerhouses to choose.

Ultimately though, many customers will choose both, Cloudyn's CEO said.

"Some [businesses] are not willing to take the risk and run their app in a single cloud. Some are trying to avoid lock-in and some are looking for the best bang for the buck," said Sharon Wagner, CEO of Cloudyn. "The message we got from clients is 'we're looking for a solution to help us intelligently run our monitoring and optimization across different cloud centers.'"

Cloudyn did a bit of research into existing client workloads and it also did some generic comparisons to offer some examples of what's possible now that it monitors GCE. It confirmed what others have previously noted: that in some cases GCE's faster I/O and networking speed offers a better bet. Customers can often get an equivalent I/O speed from AWS but they'll pay more, said Wagner.

Cloudyn also found that GCE's sub-hour billing pays off for short usage but not necessarily for longer projects. A user with a 40 minute average runtime per instance would save 40 percent by moving to GCE from AWS. But a company with a typical job running 80 minutes and using spot instances on AWS would spend 10 percent more by switching to GCE.

Cloudyn expects GCE to present the best alternative to AWS. "If we are looking at the adoption of Google App Engine and the fact that Google is probably the vendor that has the most robust infrastructure in terms of data centers, we believe Google is going to be the next big thing with Amazon Web Service," he said.

That's not to say GCE is quite there yet. "What's missing is some functionality. But how long is it going to take until GCE will catch up in terms of functionality?" he said. GCE already has around 30,000 paying users. That said, AWS has a huge head start and unarguably has the broadest feature set and biggest customer base of any cloud provider on the market.

Cloudyn also considered adding support for Rackspace. It surveyed customers and found that GCE and Rackspace are the two major cloud vendors that they are considering. However, since Rackspace doesn't break out revenue for hosting and cloud, Cloudyn didn't feel it could accurately predict the demand for Rackspace's cloud services, he said.

Next up for Cloudyn will be a tool that many enterprises may find useful: monitoring of internal OpenStack clouds. Similar to the public cloud monitoring that Cloudyn offers, the private tool will aim to point out inefficiencies and areas that a user might be able to cut costs. "It will answer how much it costs you to run your private cloud then answer where you should run your workload, private or public," Wagner said.

Read more of Nancy Gohring's "To the Cloud" blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @ngohring and on Google+. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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