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Summary:

It looks like web hosting giant GoDaddy is getting ready to launch a new cloud computing service called Data Center On Demand that could potentially make a dent in the market share of providers such as Amazon Web Services

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Updated: It looks like web hosting giant GoDaddy  is now in the cloud computing business with a new service called Data Center On Demand, which could potentially make a dent in the market share of providers such as Amazon Web Services or Rackspace. The service is currently in a limited-release phase and is expected to launch in July.

According to a marketing brochure for the service, GoDaddy plans to offer three options for users. However, all three levels provide fixed resource amounts for a monthly fee, with additional resources available “a la carte.” This is a deviation from the standard infrastructure as a service model of charging for resources on an hourly basis and allowing for the number of servers to be spun up or down on demand.

In a fairly major deviation from the standard IaaS value proposition, GoDaddy’s offering also “requires technical expertise,” so the company suggests customers have a professional IT staff in place. Arguably, IaaS always requires some degree of server administration know-how, but those tasks have been handled largely by developer-friendly APIs and GUIs.

Here’s GoDaddy’s disclaimer regarding its management process:

Currently, Data Center On Demand machines do not come with control panels installed. This means, to use Data Center On Demand, you should be comfortable managing machines’ Web services through shell commands (bash) or installing control panels yourself.

Update: A GoDaddy spokesperson informed me that Data Center On Demand will, indeed, include a graphical interface for server management when the service is publicly available. I can attest to this, having seen screenshots of the interface in its current form. GoDaddy’s cloud uses Cloud.com’s CloudStack private-cloud software for the resource-orchestration layer, making it one of many service providers white-labeling the Cloud.com product.

GoDaddy’s take on Infrastructure-as-a-Service looks like it has some shortcomings in terms of developer-friendliness and  pricing flexibility, but the company does have household-name status and a large contingent of satisfied web hosting customers from which to pull cloud users.

Not surprisingly coming from a domain-name registrar, too, GoDaddy is hosting the Data Center On Demand at least two URLs: datacenterondemand.com and elasticdatacenters.com. The company’s support forums seem to indicate that the service has been available to early users since some time in May.

I have contacted GoDaddy for further details and will update this story should I receive additional information.

  1. this is a good sign for cloud computing as Go Daddy seems be keen on what is profitable.

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  2. This is clearly NOT a Cloud, but rather expensive dedicated servers at a web hosting facility. They need to visit Amazon and Rackspace Cloud sites and look at the pricing model. Still scratching my head…

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    1. @DavidMeyer – Care to elaborate? What makes a “cloud” a “cloud”? How do you know they’re dedicated servers? It seems like you’ve got it all figured out, so please share the knowledge. On the other hand it almost seems like you have a grudge against GD??

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      1. Hi Blah. Actually…I have nothing against GoDaddy. In fact, I have been a customer of theirs for years. My statement really reflected the fact that one of the values that Cloud offers is the ability to scale up and scale down as needed, and pay for what you use. When you lock it down to three set configurations you take away that benefit…and you are left with, in my opinion, dedicated servers as opposed to a true Cloud. From the article:

        “According to a marketing brochure for the service, GoDaddy plans to offer three options for users. However, all three levels provide fixed resource amounts for a monthly fee, with additional resources available “a la carte.” This is a deviation from the standard infrastructure as a service model of charging for resources on an hourly basis and allowing for the number of servers to be spun up or down on demand.”

        If this works for GoDaddy and its customers, great! I just am having trouble seeing how this is a Cloud…that’s all. But no…I have NOTHING against GoDaddy. They have provided me with excellent service for many years.

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  3. Any word on how their pricing compares to AWS?

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  4. Sadly the offering described is not very cloud like. True cloud services are consumed and billed in an elastic and “pay for what you use” model. The plans and pricing referenced above represent an evolution of the traditional model that web hosters have offered since the 1990’s. As more and more Web 2.0’s and traditional ISV’s architect their solutions around the cloud model of consumption based billing and auto-scaling architecture, offerings like this will not be considered. It is interesting to see which traditional hosters understand the new paradigm and which are clinging to the past.

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    1. Derrick Harris Friday, June 17, 2011

      William and David,

      I’m holding out final judgment until the offering is public. As I noted in my update, it’s evolving still, so there’s a chance that pricing will change, too.

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      1. To be sure…the end product will likely look different. I think it will be a good thing, but I think they will miss a tremendous opportunity if they don’t adopt the traditional Cloud model giving people the flexibility that characterizes the Clouds that are already out there.

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  5. how is this different from their current virtual dedicated servers offering? i have been a GD customer since their first year in business and this (per the little info we have) is just a repackaging of their current virtual dedicated servers offering.

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  6. Using GoDaddy for cloud services is like riding a bicycle for a Nascar race.

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