Cloudkick, a Y Combinator startup that offers a free server management system to businesses whose web infrastructure is maintained by Amazon’s EC2 or Slicehost cloud-based servers, is unveiling a nifty feature today at Under the Radar. Cloudkick has added the ability for users to migrate their Amazon Machine Images (the template for servers on EC2) on their EC2 servers to another service provider, like Slicehost (which is owned by Amazon Web Services competitor Rackspace). This lets users who are tied to Amazon’s servers be able to easily switch to a less-expensive provider.
When we first reviewed Cloudkick, the company only managed the 350 servers of the 40 Y Combinator startups. Now, Cloudkick is managing 10,000 servers and increasing clients rapidly. Built off of Amazon Web Services’ API, Cloudkick gives users a single control panel where you can manage all of your servers (or instances) through various platforms.
Cloudkick provides detailed graphs on the health of your servers, and tools to categorize and keep information about what each server is doing. Cloudkick’s dashboard allows you to easily add or remove EC2 or Slicehost servers with a click and then monitor an unlimited amount of instances. You can see all the servers in one place, and color-code and label each server. Cloudkick will check whether servers are alive and functioning and then alert you, via email or voicemail, if servers go down. Cloudkick also provides data on bandwith and other metrics on servers in easy to use graphs and tables, allowing you a visual snapshot of server activity. You can also access servers straight from web and can run commands through your web browser remotely, which is handy when you are trying to manage servers from another computer
As we said in our earlier review of Cloudkick, Amazon offers a web-console along with their product but you cannot add servers from other cloud platform, you can’t tag or label servers, you can’t run commands on servers from the web and EC2 doesn’t offer graphing or monitoring features. Rightscale is another cloud management platform that offers similar services to Cloudkick but its a paid service.
Cloudkick is part of the birth of cross-cloud applications and management tools. As technology companies roll out their cloud platforms and businesses begin to become increasingly reliant on the cloud, these management tools will become even more useful, especially when the service is free and it lets you optimize your investment in the cloud by easily switching to a less expensive
provider. There’s is definitely positive results from deploying interoperability between cloud servers. Having more than one alternative cloud service will create competition between Amazon, Rackpsace and other server providers which will probably drive down costs for customers.