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Category: Ways to run your web application

GreenQloud – 100% Green Cloud Services

In 2007, Gartner reported that the IT industry was responsible for approximately 2% of global green house gas emissions– equivalent to the aviation industry at the time. Since then the number of data centers worldwide has surpassed 500,000. This massive and growing need for energy is contributing, in a big way, to the global carbon emissions crisis, due in part to  the energy grids data centers use, which are powered by ”dirty energy,” or fossil fuels.

You can do your bit, by Going green and reducing your organizations green house gas emissions. An Icelandic company offers a green infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), including compute,  network and storage resources – all based on open source technologies and commodity hardware. GreenQloud is truly GreenIT cloud services and the  GreenQloud’s public compute cloud and data storage services are hosted at renewable energy-powered facilities.

GreenQloud has built partnerships with software, platform, and database vendors to also seamlessly provide Saas, Pass, and DBaaS services. And in addition, to ensure ease of use for eco-friendly clients transferring their data and/or computing from Amazon, GreenQloud says that it is Amazon-compatible.

GreenQloud’s APIs are compatible with the most widely used IaaS clouds on the market — with existing tools made for other cloud solutions, out of the box, without having to tailor them specifically for GreenQloud.

You should really take a look at this GreenQloud, they have an advantage that similar services from Amazon, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace and HP Openstack do not have, and that is that they are not a US based companys, so your sensitive data falls under Icelandic laws and would not be open to the USA PATRIOT Act. if a request comes to hand over data.

The other advantages are the commitment to open-source, this makes it a truly open platform, with many options to integrated applications and services.

The cloud services explained

Cloud computing is the use of computing resources (hardware and software) that are delivered as a service over a network (typically the Internet). The name comes from the use of a cloud-shaped symbol as an abstraction for the complex infrastructure it contains in system diagrams. Cloud computing entrusts remote services with a user’s data, software and computation.

You are probably already using cloud-based services without your realizing it. Facebook, Twitter and Google are offering cloud-based software as a free online service to billions of users across the world. Google, for example, hosts a set of online productivity tools and applications in the cloud such as email, word processing, calendars, photo sharing, and website creation tools.

Three Flavours of Cloud – the “service models”

One of the biggest confusions over cloud comes from the fact that it actually applies to a number of different layers in the “stack”. There are three flavours of cloud, which broadly go down in cost but up in the required level of technical know-how in the order I have listed below:

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

These are usually applications or services that you access via a Web browser. Google Mail and Google Docs are examples of this kind of cloud computing. Some companies host an application on the internet that many users sign-up for and use without any concern about where, how, by whom the compute cycles and storage bits are provided.

SaaS is usually the most expensive form of cloud since you are paying for the software as well as the underlying infrastructure and it requires no technical know-how. Examples of paid SaaS include, though presently the most widely known examples are “free”.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

This is a set of lower-level services such as an operating system or computer language interpreter or web server offered by a cloud provider to software developers. Developers write their application to a more or less open specification and then upload their code into the cloud where the app is hosted and automatically scaled without the developer having to worry about it overly. Appfog,  Google App Engine and cloudControl are examples of PaaS.

Because of the auto-scaling and ease-of-use afforded by PaaS, and the abstraction/obfuscation it gives the vendor, it usually costs a premium over renting the underlying infrastructure directly (IaaS).

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

IaaS is the provision of virtual servers and storage that organisations use on a pay-as-you-go basis. This is the most powerful type of cloud in that virtually any application and any configuration that is fit for the internet can be mapped to this type of service, but is also the most technically challenging to exploit. Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Simple Storage Service (S3), HP Openstack, Microsoft Azure and GreenQloud are examples of IaaS,.

In practice, cloud suppliers often provide additional services alongside IaaS offerings, so the boundary between IaaS and PaaS can become blurred. However in its purest form compute IaaS can be considered as a bunch of un-managed virtual machines (VMs) for which you provide the operating system image, that can be scaled up and down (by spinning up and tearing down VMs) according to your application’s needs in near-real time (ie. within minutes). IaaS data storage is more simple, working like a giant disk drive where you only get billed for what you are using, usually on an hour-by-hour basis.

Private vs. Public – “deployment models”

Public cloud means that your virtual machines are sat on the same physical host servers as other clients. A private cloud is where the host servers, and in some cases the physical network or even an entire data centre facility, is dedicated to one client. A private cloud are infrastructure dedicated to one client that scales as necessary. Some people would call that a “virtual private cloud”.

Pick your own cloud with Appfog

Want to focus your application development on the web application and not getting down with infrastructure issues, then you should seriously look for a Platform as a service provider.  Simply write the code of your core application, run a command or two and you a have a fully working and scalable application available online.

We recommend Appfog, which we use to power our website, AppFog  abstracts out the tweaking and tuning of cloud servers, databases and storage. And, if you want to run your work on Amazon and then move it to, say, Rackspace, or Microsoft Windows Azure, or the HP Cloud, you can do so with the click of a button.

You can go to AppFog’s site to set up a free account with 2 GB of RAM.  No need to worry about instances or storage type or database choice. AppFog prices on RAM requirement only.  Monthly plans with additional RAM are available:  2GB for $50, 4GB for $100; 16GB for $380 and 32 GB for $720. AppFog will bill the customer for the entire infrastructure stack, including the backend cloud, giving it pretty good account control.

Appfog comes with an add-on program to give users of their platforms the ability to acquire and provision third party services that are already integrated with the core development environment. From your Appfog console with a click of  of your mouse you can integrate additional functionality complimenting your web app, to mention a few useful add-on’s that we use for our websites are Logentries, Blitz,  MongoLab and New Relic.

We have been on the Apffog platform for 4 months and it is performing amazingly, all the work we did before maintain our own server are now use for developing new functionality for our web apps and focus more on our customers.