Friday, 4 March 2016

The quest for the Holy Cloud.

The last 10 days I am struggling myself to choose a cloud provider.  

My selection criteria:

  • Free of charge for a trial use. No credit card registration.
  • Easy to use with what I know without having to invest on extra study
  • The resources the cloud provider offers for trial/free tries, like CPU, allowed Network bandwidth. The more resources offered, the best scoring for the cloud provider.
  • Technology used for Automation and VM provisioning. 

I tried several cloud providers by the order they appear on Google. 

First of all, I dumped Amazon Cloud Services only for one reason: I don not really want to put my Credit Card even before I have to pay for something just because the site asks it. If it was not Amazon behind the site- would you put your card? So no Amazon for me.

Second try with Openshift from Red Hat. I registered there and created a VM with Tomcat7/JBoss "cartridge". Cool - worked out easy and in about 10 minutes I managed to register and create a VM. However:  the machine has too many restrictions, for example you cannot add the packages you like with RPM or yum. Moreover, the Tomcat7 differs from the standard tomcat you download from Apache. When I tried to deploy one of my apps in the new machine there the deployment failed. Also, I did not like the approach of automation implementation with rhc tools. It reminded me some nightmares I had with Chef´s knife. 

My next try was with DigitalOcean. They do not have a free plan but instead they offer a voucher with discount. Again when I tried to register, after following the link in the confirmation email that was sent from them, I was redirected to their page asking for my Credit Card details again: "Thanks! Please add a credit card to activate your account." Thanks but no thanks guys. "There are other orange trees that also make oranges" as an old Greek piece of mind says.

Finally I got there:  No credit card requirement for a test drive of 7 days. So I created a VM with Fedora 22 in less than a minute. If you register with them you can run your instance for free for 7 days with a limitation about port 25 for email. They offer VNC client on their site to connect to the running VM. I also got connected using Putty and OpenSSL tools with a minimal configuration of the security keys. At some point, I could not find the Super user credentials for the VM but there was a message box with 24/7 online help even for the trial users. The operator responded instantly and gave me some hints.  The extra bonus for this cloud provider is the billing scheme they apply: they bill the usage of the resources not the resources. So you pay if you exceed your contract threshold per 5 minutes sampling. They utilize HTTP/HTTPS API for cloud management and Operations, a design that according to my opinion is the most flexible way to build your applications on top. 

From my quest for the holy cloud I think I made the correct decision with

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