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Tiny (comparatively) GoGrid takes on Amazon Web Services

Company provides graphical user interface-based control panel to cloud computing, as well as access to Windows services. It's pitch: We're cheaper. And easier.

SAN FRANCISCO--Here at the Structure conference, everything is cloud, cloud, cloud. No one wants to own their own Web hardware anymore, it seems, and the company representatives speaking here are happy to provide the software and virtual services to replace the hardware.

One of those is GoGrid, which is shooting for the same cloud-computing market that is making a run at with its EC2, or Elastic Compute Cloud, service and related Web services.

The GoGrid pitch: We're cheaper. And easier.

GoGrid CEO John Keagy told me that, at volume, his services undercut Amazon's. He charges 8 cents a gigabyte-hour for compute services, compared to EC2's 10 cents. Also, data storage is associated with compute servers, and if a server goes offline, when it comes back, the storage will still be there.

At Structure on Wednesday, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels pitched "persistent storage" as a new offering from Amazon.

Keagy also said GoGrid has a graphical user interface-based control panel for its customers, allowing them to quickly set up their compute environment in a simpler manner than Amazon's service allows.

I can't do a hands-on with these two cloud services, but there are a few other points that I found interesting. First, GoGrid offers virtual Windows services, as well as Linux, and about 50 percent of its installations are for Windows processes. Some popular Web 2.0 services, like CommunityServer, are still Windows-only.

Also, GoGrid has never had a system-wide outage, as Amazon has. Keagy is realistic, though: "We're in beta. It will happen to us too." But, he says, with well-designed systems, recovery can be swift.

One thing GoGrid certainly doesn't have is Amazon's scale. Although the company is a division of the well-established ServePath, its single 20,000 square-foot facility can't hold a generator to Amazon's massive distributed infrastructure. Keagy did say he is building out distribution for GoGrid, using more of ServePath's locations.

Like the new Mosso cloud-based storage service, GoGrid is accessible through REST (representational state transfer) application programming interfaces.

Click here to see more stories from the Structure 08 conference and on cloud computing generally.