Mosso Joins the Cloud Computing Fray

Amazon’s foray into on-demand web services such as its S3 storage and EC2 computing service has done two things: brought the focus onto cloud computing and at the same time up-ended the pricing structure of the Internet infrastructure. Of course, it has also prompted a spate of copycats and liberal interpretation of the term “cloud computing.”

Take Mosso, an on-demand hosting start-up backed by Rackspace of San Antonio, Texas, as an example. For $100 a month, Mosso is offering 50 GB disk-space and 500 GB bandwidth and 3 million web requests per month. Beyond that it is 25 cents per gigabyte for bandwidth and 3 pennies per 1000 requests.

Mosso Co-founders Todd Morey and Jonathan Bryce, both ex-Rackspace employees, are going after startups and web app developers with their new “hosting cloud.”

While Mosso seems to be an easy enough service to use, with a simpler pricing structure, it is hard for me to think of it as a “cloud computing” service like the way I think of Amazon Web Services. AWS, for example, charges for what you use. There is no upfront monthly fee, a business practice common to hosting services. Moreover AWS offers pieces of the infrastructure — computing, storage, etc. — on demand, not as a packaged solution.

From that perspective, Mosso is competitive with Joyent, a Marin, Calif.-based startup that recently started offering such scale-as-you-need-to services to Facebook application developers. That said, I think Mosso-type services are good for the hosting business, and also for startups and web app developers, since they provide a simpler pricing model along with the ability to scale.