GoDaddy unveils its take on cloud computing

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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.

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