Cloud Hosting/Storage Toolbox: Options & Tools

Cloud hosting, storage & content delivery networks (CDNs) are very popular services for the last few years, which is very normal, as they offer a series of advantages in running + serving web applications.

An application hosted in the cloud will:

  • easily scale (with instantly deployable & API controlled instances, unlimited diskspaces, etc..)
  • serve files faster with content delivery network (CDN) support
  • have a better availability (with strong SLAs)

With the increasing number of providers & tools created, cloud hosting is getting simpler & simpler everyday.

Getting in the cloud, in most cases, will save so much time & resources when running a growing web application. You won?t need to think of the hardware, better react to the system resources & bandwidth usage fluctuations, pay exactly for what you use & much more.

Here is a collection of popular options & tools that can help you in hosting your applications in the cloud:

Cloud Hosting & Storage Options

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) – (hosting)

Amazon EC2

Amazon EC2 is a web service that provides you the environment to instantly launch (or remove) new servers (instances) with the OS & configuration you need which makes scaling of a web application much easier.

This functionality can be controlled via the web service APIs or tools to be mentioned in this post.

You are charged with the resources consumed like hours your servers (instances) work or the bandwidth used.

Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) (storage)

Amazon S3

Amazon S3 is the cloud storage option of AWS where unlimited number of files can be stored & retrieved.

It can be used with the API provided or various tools (mentioned in this post).

Pricing of the service is calculated with the number of requests made, amount of data stored & bandwidth used (transfers between EC2 & S3 are free)

AWS also offers other services that power (or powered by) EC2 & S3:

  • Amazon CloudFront: content delivery network which enables faster delivery of files hosted on S3 to end users by distributing the files to various locations.
  • Amazon CloudWatch: monitoring for EC2 resources like CPU, RAM, disk read/writes & more.
  • Amazon SimpleDB: a simple web based database which provides basic db functions.



GoGrid Cloud Hosting

Like S3, GoGrid also comes with ready to deploy server images with various configurations (Linux & Windows).

The system can be controlled via a web-based GUI or an API.

It also offers a service named Cloud Connect which combines the elasticity of cloud computing with the customization of dedicated servers in one unified solution.


GoGrid Cloud Storage can be reached by mounting the drive to any server (protocols supported are: SCP, FTP, SAMBA/CIFS, and RSYNC). An API for this service is not yet available but on the way.


Cloud Servers – (hosting)

Mosso Cloud Servers

The service provides instantly deployable servers with a choice of popular Linux distributions (no Windows). Currently, there is no API support but it is on the way.

Cloud Files – (storage)

Mosso Cloud Files

A redundant data storage service which replicates the data in 3 seperate locations.

Files can be managed from a web-based interface or an API. The system is integrated with LimeLight content delivery network & files can be selected to be served faster via this network.

Google App Engine (hosting)

Google App Engine

Google enables developers to host their applications inside its own infrastructure. And besides many other cloud hosting systems, Google doesn?t provide you root access but gives the possibility of unlimited resource usage.

The platform supports 2 languages: Python & Java. But there are tricks to run other languages in the engine (Run PHP on the Google App Engine).

The service comes with a free quota where a basic application can be easily hosted for free. For over-quota, the pricing is applied.


Softlayer Cloudlayer

CloudLayer Computing – (hosting)

On-demand computing instances with several OS options can be ran in a very short time like 5 minutes.

Created instances can be standalone or integrated with other SoftLayer dedicated servers, virtual servers, automated services, and additional CloudLayer Services which makes the usage highly flexible.

Instances can be reached via KVM over IP & managed via an API or the web-based control panel.

CloudLayer Storage – (storage)

The cloud storage of SoftLayer can be reached via API, a native Windows client, WebDav, or mobile devices. The system also integrates with CloudLayer CDN which offers fast delivery of content from 21 locations around the world.

NewServers (hosting)


NewServers is a cloud hosting provider which offers controlling the system via a web app. or an API.

Currently no cloud storage or CDN is offered.

Cloud Hosting & Storage Tools

CloudBerry S3 Explorer – (free)

CloudBerry S3 Explorer

This is a free Amazon S3 file browser application that enables creating-deleting-updating buckets, folders & files.

It supports:

  • multiple S3 accounts
  • setting up file access permissions
  • generating external URLs & more..

CloudBerry S3 Explorer is a must-have for Amazon S3 users.

ElasticFox – (free)


This is an amazing Firefox extension for managing Amazon EC2. Using ElasticFox, it is possible to create & delete instances, volumes, IPs, get the root passwords & much more..

S3Fox Organizer – (free)

S3Fox - S3 Firefox Addon

A FTP-like Firefox addon which enable anyone to reach S3 buckets for uploading & downloading files.

It supports managing CloudFront, changing access policies & syncronizing S3 with the local system.

JungleDisk – (paid)


JungleDisk is an application which can work with Amazon S3 & Mosso Cloud Files to create an online storage.

Besides the backup capabilities, it offers a great feature which is mounting the cloud drive as a local drive. This way, anyone can use cloud storage without the need of coding with API.

JetS3t – (free)

Amazon S3 Cockpit

It is an open-source Java toolkit and application suite for the Amazon S3 and Amazon CloudFront content delivery network.

The toolkit contains 5 applications for reaching, syncronizing & creating an authorization service to mediate to S3 accounts.

GridGain – (free)

An open source cloud platform, built with Java, that enables developers to develop and run applications on private or public clouds.

The application is simply focused on providing the best Java software middleware to develop and run grid applications on the cloud infrastructure in a simple and productive way.

abiCloud – (free)

Abiquo - Open Source Cloud Computing

abiCloud is an open source software for creating & managing public or private clouds.

The tool mainly offers users the capacity for scaling, management, automatic and immediate provision of servers, storage, networks, virtual network devices as well as applications.

Tarzan – (free)

Tarzan: PHP Framework For AWS

For any developer who wants to use Amazon Web Services, Tarzan offers an unique experience for an easier integration.

Besides being a high-performance development framework, it can:

  • manage Amazon S3 with added functionality like moving, renaming, copying entire buckets, and storing remote files.
  • integrates with SimpleDB
  • manage EC2 & more..

You should also check:

  • S3tools – various open source tools for reaching Amazon S3.
  • Appscale – an open source implementation of Google App Engine cloud computing interface.
  • Windows PowerShell Snap-In for GoGrid
  • CDNTools: A WordPress plugin that integrates your blog with Mosso Cloud Files for serving the images from their CDN.

These are definitely not the all options & resources on cloud hosting & there can be more great ones not listed here. If you know them, please share in the comments.

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