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Infrastructure as a Service: 12 Providers Analyzed

Network Computing's new online buyer's guide aims to help take some of the confusion out of the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) market. This market is constantly changing, whether it's vendors adding new capabilities and services or a change in prices. In other words, it's hard to keep up, and even harder collect and analyze key details.

Enter the buyer's guide, which has assembled data on a dozen vendors: Amazon, GoGrid, Google, IBM, Internap, Joyent, Microsoft, Navisite, Rackspace, Savvis, SoftLayer and Terremark. Readers can get an overview of core service offerings and download detailed features charts that include more than 60 data points, including server and storage pricing, security features and SLA options.

In addition to raw data, the IaaS buyer's guide site collects the latest news coverage and commentary, relevant research from InformationWeek Reports, and vendor white papers. It's a one-stop resource if you're considering a new purchase, building a short list of potential products or vendors or just browsing for the latest information on a particular provider.

The cloud is now an accepted component of a company's technology infrastructure, whether it's cloud-based applications such as Salesforce or raw compute and storage services that can be rented at pennies per hour. According to the 2012 State of Cloud Computing report from InformationWeek, only 6% of respondents say they won't be delivering IT services from the cloud over the next two years. By contrast, a combined 15% of respondents say that within the next 24 months, 50% or more of their IT services will come from cloud providers.

When it comes to IaaS, the simple concepts of usage- and capacity-based pricing get complicated once you dig into the details and differences between one provider and another. For instance, the amount of processing power associated with a VM will likely differ from one provider to another. As Joe Emison writes in his IaaS Buyer's Guide report, "Amazon defines an Elastic Compute Unit, or ECU, as 'the equivalent CPU capacity of a 1.0-1.2 GHz 2007 Opteron or 2007 Xeon processor.' Google uses a Google Compute Engine Unit, or GQ, and it defines 2.75 GQs as 'the minimum power of one logical core (a hardware hyper-thread) on our Sandy Bridge platform.'"

We'll update the guide as providers augment their services, and we'll add new providers over time. Readers can sign up to be notified of changes to the guide. Check it out here and leave a comment to let us know what you think.