May 30 2014

Cookies, DMPs and Is “Big Brother” Watching You?

Category: General,Software developmentOrbitscripts @ 9:53 am

By now, most people have noticed how a specific advertisement can follow them from one website to another. It’s a strange feeling: the first time you’re “remarketed” to. The remarketing ad is based on something you looked at on a previous website, but now it’s following you on other sites trying to get you to buy it.

How is this happening? It’s simple: You have a cookie in your browser.

The developers of the online shop placed JavaScript code (or an image on the site URL) in your browser that requests an advertisement management system show you something specific. The cookie identifies you for that system. It acts as your personal marker. When you visit another website connected to the same advertising network, that website identifies you by that cookie and makes a decision to show you an advertisement, too—something that corresponds to the interests you showed on previous sites.

This process is called remarketing (or, “retargeting”). But beyond particular individual sales and identifying cookies, the value of remarketing might have much higher potential in terms of how a DMP system work.

So what exactly is a DMP?
DMP stands for Data Management Platform. Imagine that instead of a cookie from an advertising network, the code of a DMP from the shop who’s site you visited was put in your browser. And all other sites you’ve visited also used that DMP code. All the information would accumulate, rather than remain specific to one cookie.

For example:

  • Say you visited a sports website and looked at bicycle accessories.
  • Then you visited a shoe website and searched for women’s shoes, size 35.
  • Finally, you read an article on a forum for young mothers.

This entire sequence of selections is collected by a DMP, classified by demographics and analyzed to identify your likely personality type. DMPs could deduce the person looking at bicycles, shoes and mother articles is:

  • Female
  • Interested in sports
  • Foot size 34—36
  • Age 25—35

“Wait a minute!” you might say.
“Those general categories could be applied to any one who surfed those sites. But not all of those people will match those demographics.”

And you’re partly right, but with DMP data, we’re dealing in the accuracy of assumptions. And believe me, as the sequence of selections on the list grows beyond three sites—to four, five, ten, twenty—the accuracy of the assumptions gets greater and greater, exponentially.

It’s scary to imagine, but when DMP systems operate on social networks, imagine the full picture they can paint using only statistical assumptions. After all, any social media account will likely have much more than three to six data points contained within it. And sometimes the information is extremely specific, personal, and unique to individual users.

So why do DMP systems need that personal information?
DMPs use it to help other systems explore specific user groups for data trends. For example, advertising networks can use data provided by DMPs to help advertisers find their target audience. For big sites and big systems, it’s an opportunity to analyze user groups interested in content in order to make the right decisions about what other content to show.

And Demand-Side Platforms (DSP) have a special interest in this data, because they don’t have publishers like advertisement networks do, and they don’t get straightforward requests from browsers, either. DSPs get requests from SSP systems, which don’t have much information about specific visitors. The DSP gets all kinds of user data from a DMP, which helps make a decision on prices and bids at ad auctions.

Orbit DSP works the same way. It uses DMPs like Aidata and VisualDNA—and soon it will be integrated with one of the top players in the market, BlueKai. This will create better and better pricing for our advertisers, plain and simple.

Big Brother
Beyond using data for commerce and bidding, society must decide about the limits and rights of individual privacy in our online lives.

But it’s not really “big brother” watching us. Instead, we create data profiles ourselves—and on social networks, we do it very willingly. Those profiles are based on a list of choices and assumptions that can be figured out, not by individual surveillance, but by statistical sorting.

In a counter-intuitive way, we identify ourselves through a series of choices that can only be unique to us, not by individual observation of our individual actions.

big_brother

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Mar 27 2014

We’v Added a lot of DMP Providers and Increased Your Odds for Advertising Success

Category: General,Internet ad industry,Software developmentOrbitscripts @ 10:30 am

In a previous blog, we talked about our plans for Orbit DSP’s evolving product development. A major initiative includes more integration with Data Suppliers and Data Management Platforms (DMPs).

Data Suppliers
Data Suppliers segment user data from website traffic, aggregating large amounts of information and creating segments from it based on certain market demographics and criteria.

There are two main kinds of Data Suppliers:

  • The first kind supplies a wide range of data about the user, such as their social status and demographic data with general interests and needs. (ex: Pluso, Aidata)
  • The second kind supplies only a defined range of data. This still may include social status and demographic data, but it would probably be linked to payment history or more narrowed interests in a specific area.

Data Management Platforms
A DMP is a multifunctional platform for data management. Data management includes:

  • storage and post-processing,
  • segmenting different user types, and
  • tag management (which controls and manages the data that’s shown in segments and passed to third parties, like demand-side platforms).

DMPs for online ad servers allow each side involved in a sale or transfer to manage data, use third-party data, and export data to a real-time bidding (RTB) platform. Usage of data from a DMP as the ad is shown in an RTB significantly increases the effectiveness of an advertising campaign. That’s because the DMP usually has all major data suppliers connected, which allows advertisers and publishers to create segments using both first-party and third-party data together.

Basic DMP platforms provide visitor data such as gender, age, social status, income, interests, and more.

Integration DMP providers allow you to customize your targeting more—like segmenting by brand of car owned, for example—which defines a target audience as specifically as possible.

Putting Data Together from Data Suppliers and DMPs
The market for both Data Suppliers and first-party DMPs has developed rapidly in recent years, but the reliability and quality of the data they supply are far from ideal, especially if used separately.

On the other hand, third-party DMP platforms use optimization methods along with predictions, resulting in the most successful advertising campaigns from the available data.

Cookie Matching
Full integration of Data Supplier and DMP requires a cookie-matching module to work properly and synchronize users. For cookie matching, an ad is shown which includes a tracking pixel from a DMP provider. The DMP provider can then call this pixel from our ad servers to see who has viewed it and match user behaviors across different platforms to the same individual.

Currently, our system uses Aidata, VisualDNA, and Targetix DMPs in the Russian market. We are also negotiating with Auditorius.

For the worldwide market, we’ve signed an initial agreement with Lotame and BlueKai.

Our plan at OrbitScripts is to go after as many major DMP providers as possible to supply our advertisers with the greatest variety of audience segments and the greatest odds for advertising success.
This is just the beginning!

dmp_suppliers

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Mar 02 2014

We’ve added a lot of Ad Exchanges and SSPs, and we’re set to enter the global market

Category: General,Software developmentOrbitscripts @ 11:22 am

Earlier we talked about the development of our new product Orbit DSP, launched under test environment in February. Now, we’re focused on the following tasks:

  • adding new features,
  • increasing performance,
  • increasing connection to more advertising exchange systems. and
  • increasing connection to more user data providers.

Connection to more advertising exchange systems and more user data providers will produce the maximum possible traffic and—theoretically—access to any target audience imaginable.

The main traffic providers today are SSPs and Ad Exchanges.

SSPs
An SSP is a platform that represents advertisers in the real-time bidding (RTB) ecosystem. The SSP aggregates offers from many sites, “collecting” residual traffic and showing the minimum price at which the site is willing to sell an ad impression.

The SSP then arranges auctions through a DSP, trying to sell available ad space for a maximum price. The SSP can provide sellers a bigger price by using third-party data, integrated into the platform via DMP.

The SSP also protects user data and brand reputations with a transparent control system for ad placements.

Ad Exchanges
Ad Exchanges are where ad sales traffic occurs and where ads are priced and bought in the RTB ecosystem. Ad Exchange allows communication between sites and advertisers, giving thousands of connected platforms the opportunity to sell ads.

Specialization and Integration
Almost all SSPs and Ad Exchanges work with Open RTB protocol, or something similar. But each has its own special qualities. Some SSPs and Ad Exchanges focus on display advertising. There are also SSPs and Ad Exchanges that only work with mobile sites and applications. Some work solely with video ads.

Integration with SSPs and Ad Exchanges allows advertisers to get the maximum audience exposure and targeting. They work with huge amounts of data and many platforms to allow a wide range of user group access.

Integration consists of two main request-handling actions—gathering and processing—for auctions and visitor synchronization (with the help of a cookie-matching process).

The integration process includes:

  1. conclusion of a contract with the ad exchange,
  2. integration of exchange protocols,
  3. integration of the user synchronization mechanism, and
  4. conducting test auctions.

Orbit DSP: Set to Go Global
Originally, we entered the Russian market only, and waited to enter the worldwide market after platform testing of Orbit DSP. We took on major ad exchanges that account for 95% of all Russian Internet traffic: Google, Yandex, Between Digital, Nexage, Begun, AdFox, AdRiver, and Republer.

Now, we’re ready to expand.

Our near-term plans are to enter the worldwide market and integrate with even more ad exchanges (many of whom we’re already negotiating with): OpenX, MoPub, RightMedia, Facebook.

These are exciting times, and we’re excited to expand, bringing our ad server technology improvements to our current clients—and to new clients across the globe, those who are ready to use the market-leading technology of Orbit DSP and partner with us for global success.

blog_ssp

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Feb 12 2014

Orbit Ad Server

Category: Orbit Ad ServerOrbitscripts @ 10:36 am

Statistics show advertisers already spend more on online ads than print media. And this difference will become bigger every year. According to latest estimates by eMarketer, worldwide spending on Internet advertising will top $137 billion in 2014.

That means advertisers have also begun to place higher demands on the quality of online advertising and its effectiveness. That demand puts a premium on improvement of advertising management systems and their functionality.

At OrbitScripts, we constantly monitor this market and add new features to our products to meet the growing needs of all our consumers. We believe the demand for systems development and advertising management consists of three main parts:

  1. Performance,
  2. Functionality and
  3. Usability.

We recently put our performance, functionality and usability design and development into our innovative new product Orbit DSP, a demand-side platform technology built from scratch by OrbitScripts as an enterprise-level, real-time ad auction, purchase and data management system.

To create Orbit DSP, we also increased the capabilities of our core product Orbit Ad Server. Orbit Ad Server simplifies ad management, working with Video Ads, Mobile Ads, In-Text and other modules to create an integrated package that handles all your online advertising growth, in all directions.

We made several important changes to Orbit Ad Server, including:

  1. More Tags and XML feeds support;
  2. Weighting for different companies, groups and ads;
  3. Security against fraudulent clicks;
  4. New targeting types, like provider and connection speed;
  5. Improved user-permission system;
  6. New formats for desktop and mobile ads, like full-screen and interstitial;
  7. And auto-optimization by CTR and ROI.

We’re so happy about these new features. Perhaps most exciting is our new and improved Campaign Creation and Management process, made more universal with additional features and an improved interface for better user interaction.

Our next few blogs will cover in more detail Orbit Ad Server’s new system performance and interface-design features. The feedback from our customers—both Ad Server and Orbit DSP, existing and new—has been encouraging, as we to continue to expand and grow with these amazing advertising market trends.

Check out our Self-Serve and Hosted pricing and tell us how we can serve your needs, too!

Ad-Server-new-features-of-the-advertising-management_ang

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Jan 17 2014

Orbit DSP

Category: General,Software developmentOrbitscripts @ 10:56 am

The online advertising market is rapidly evolving, and so are the technologies and tools of the trade. Clients have become more demanding of advertising companies’ results, meaning advertisers now need to buy specific user groups, not just advertising space.

The fast growth of social networks and the improvement of data processing methods have allowed advertisers to get high-quality information about all website visitors—age, gender, interests, search terms, etc. Technology can now easily define which user-groups advertisers should target and determine how much each advertising impression should cost.

The Rise RTBs and DSPs
All of this has caused the emergence of real-time bidding (RTB) systems to facilitate the sale and purchase of ad impressions based on real-time auctions. RTBs dominate the current ad market.

Demand-side platforms (DSPs) are gaining popularity, because they allow advertising decisions to be more transparent. Advertisers know where their ads are shown and what data will be used to target their customers, easily calculating traffic to websites and sales conversions.

Orbit DSP Today
We announced the launch of our DSP platform development in June of 2013.

dsp_blog

Orbit DSP passed rigorous functional and stress testing made for high-load, scalable, fault-tolerant performance in facilitating RTB auctions. The results have been amazing.

Orbit DSP conducts ad auctions in real-time: A visitor downloads a webpage, the RTB system prices different ad displays, and requests for the ads are sent to bidders.

In just a few milliseconds, our system calculates all the bids and determines the fair prices. The highest bidder not only gets the ad space, he also knows the price paid was the lowest possible—just enough to win the bid!

We also developed a powerful prediction system based on mathematical statistics like Bayes’ theorem, Shannon’s theorem, and Poisson Law—to use entropy and conditional probability for classification, to identify the probability of user conversions, and to calculate the fair price for the ads.

The Orbit DSP Future
Orbit DSP currently works with these advertising exchange systems:

  • Between Digital,
  • Yandex,
  • Google,
  • Nexage,
  • AdFox,
  • AdRiver,
  • Begun,
  • Republer.

We plan to expand this list of exchange systems soon.

Orbit DSP works with third-party Data Providers, like Aidata and VisualDNA, to gather visitor information, count conversions and implement re-marketing lists. We plan to expand our list of data providers, too.

And we will empower our system even more, increasing the effectiveness of our predictions and increasing system performance, in general.

As the advertising market continues to evolve, so will Orbit DSP.

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Jan 03 2014

Happy New Year 2014!

Category: Orbit Ad ServerOrbitscripts @ 12:41 pm

We’re so happy to be able to put the wraps on another wonderful year!

First of all, this is the 14th New Year we get to celebrate together here at OrbitScripts! So much progress has been made, and this year was one of our best.

In anticipation of the holiday, let me recap the most significant events:

  • We created the Orbit DSP platform—the best demand-side platform and Trading Desk turnkey solution on the market!
  • We launched the new version of Orbit Ad Server—with greater performance, modern new user interface and a wide range of new features.
  • We expanded our team, to add more experience in both technology development and customer account management.
  • We signed several strategic partnerships with leading companies in online advertising.
  • And finally, we participated in the huge conference and expo Ad:Tech San Francisco, where we mingled, wined, dined, met some great cohorts, networked, and hosted the OrbitScripts booth as members at the event.

Farewell to 2013. You will be remembered in the history of our company as one of the most successful years ever—and the continued support from our customers and partners is a huge part of that success.

And welcome to 2014. We wish you all the prosperity, happiness, health and successful projects this year has to offer.

Happy New Year!

new_year_2014

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Nov 01 2013

Halloween

Category: HolidaysOrbitscripts @ 10:00 am

 

Our clients are located across the world, and we have the unique opportunity to get acquainted with so many different cultures—to celebrate significant world events and holidays with all our clients.

For example, in late October, we had a fun theme party in honor of Halloween—not a typical Russian holiday most of us grew up with.

To create the right “spooky” mood, we decorated the office with pumpkins and candles, paper bats, and ping-pong-ball googley eyes. We had lunch in the festive theme of The Addams Family.

Our team had a lot of fun. We ended up playing a few rounds of “Zombie Island” and eating handfuls of candy.

Did you know the custom of eating candy on Halloween comes from eating fruit while abstaining from meat on All Hallows’ Eve? That’s why people give treats to kids, instead of suffering their disappointment and resulting tricks.

(And, yes, though apples are a fine treat, but we decided to follow our American clients’ custom and break out the candy bars.)

Happy Halloween, everyone!

 helloween_2013

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Jun 28 2013

Using NoSQL Databases for High-Load Ad Systems at OrbitScripts

Category: Orbit Ad ServerOrbitscripts @ 10:04 am

We always look for ways to improve performance and usability for our clients and our software, which is why OrbitScripts now offers NoSQL databases for our ad systems.

Classical relational databases—or SQL (Structured Querey Language) databases—have been used since the 1970s to manage data. Although as programmers we have used SQL for years, we have also seen the problems SQL can have with very large amounts of data under high-load requirements.

Sooner or later we knew there would be a need for distributed computing and the need to use NoSQL for high availability and more stability.

Why NoSQL?

NoSQL databases—or “not only” Structured Query Language databases—are a broad class of newer database management systems that do not use SQL’s classical relational database management model.

Companies like Google and Amazon (and OrbitScripts!) have developed their own NoSQL database systems to address several common concerns with the SQL model, primarily:

1. Speed: SQL databases can slow systems down to a crawl, especially when millions of users are doing lookups against tables with millions of rows of data.

2. Mapping: SQL’s relational data doesn’t map well to programming structures with complex data types or hierarchical data like XML. Complex objects that contain other objects and lists do not usually map to a single row in a single table.

3. Programming Ease: Because SQL data doesn’t map as well, writing the software code becomes more difficult using SQL, and we don’t want to drive our programmers crazy!

(Read more on the SQL vs. NoSQL debate here.)

The Tradeoffs of NoSQL

NoSQL databases are not built primarily on tables and generally do not use SQL for data manipulation. As such, they are highly optimized for retrieval and appending operations, but usually offer limited functionality beyond record storage (key–value stores, for example).

That limitation reduces the run-time flexibility compared to full SQL systems, but it also gives NoSQL better scalability and performance for certain data models.

NoSQL database management systems work better when what really matters is the ability to store and retrieve great quantities of data, not the relationships between the data elements.

Ad Serving Systems and Their Data

Heavy-load ad management systems have a lot of data, primarily:

  • Balance sheets of users (advertisers, publishers, agencies, etc.)
  • Advertising budgets and limits
  • Targeting information for the ads themselves

The speed ??of access to this information as it updates and the integrity and reliability of the data play an important role in the ad system as a whole. Ad systems also require fault tolerance, scalability, and support for atomic operations like simultaneous read and write.

Because the emphasis in our business is on data storage and retrieval, the NoSQL model works best for us, and we are excited to provide those benefits to our customers.

What Are the Best NoSQL Storage Systems?

In developing our NoSQL databases, we tested and used a lot of NoSQL storage services. We found some services to be better than others at different tasks.

The “best” service depends on what you need, of course, but here’s a summary of the different NoSQL companies we used:

Company

Average speed

for write/read on node on the first key

Search on second key?

Scalability vs. Replication

Atomic Operations/

Transactions

Cassandra

15,000 / 10,000

Yes

Scalable

Yes / No

MongoDB

10,000 / 10,000

Yes

Scalable

Yes / No

Redis

50,000 / 100,000

No

Replication

Yes / Yes

Aerospike

100,000 / 200,000

No

Replication

Yes / No

CouchBase

10,000 / 15,000

Yes

Scalable

Yes / No

HyperDex

10,000 / 10,000

Yes

Scalable

Yes / No

Tarantool

100,000/ 150,000

No

Replication

Yes / No

(Our testing was done with utility YCSB on Amazon AWS.)

The following services ranked best for handling the balance of NoSQL database users (advertisers, partners and agencies):

Aerospike, Redis and Tarantool

Best for creating the most expedient NoSQL database:

Redis or Tarantool

The services with the highest efficiency in storing information about targeting:

MongoDB, CouchBase and HyperDex

And the best NoSQL services for handling clicks and statistics:

Cassandra and MongoDB

We hope you find this information useful, not only to explain why we developed NoSQL database systems for our products, but also as a reference for your own NoSQL development.

Have you used any of these NoSQL services before?

Do you agree with our assessments?

Do you disagree?

Let us hear from you!

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Jun 27 2013

Announcing Development Phase in our DSP Real-Time Bidding System

Category: OrbitscriptsOrbitscripts @ 12:24 pm

Over the past 15 years, the need in the Internet advertising market has rapidly changed—shifiting from separate ad server and ad network technologies to full ad exchanges, which incorporate them both. And the principles of advertising sales are shifting, too, from selling placements to selling data about the visitors themselves.

Market trends point to the need for Ad Exchanges with robust DSPs—demand-side platforms—as the future, because they give buyers and sellers the ability to value inventory on an impression-by-impression basis with real-time bidding.

In DSP platforms, the cost of advertising space is determined through auctions among all the different parties using a real-time-bidding technology—one that provides a marketplace for online ad auctions to occur instantly.

It’s a Supply Problem.

Today, most of the ad market is occupied. Supply is limited. Demand is high—and growing every day. Analysts predict it will take new demand-side platforms with real-time bidding to handle the bulk of this demand, going forward.

The under-supply situation in digital advertising is due to three major changes over the last 15 years:

  1. Improvements to systems that gather information about visitors
  2. Improvements to systems that analye user and consumer behavior
  3. The rise of social networks, which have made online advertising more attractive to brands and businesses—and far more attractive than the space the new networks created

Advertisers can now identify specific visitors and analyze a lot of their information, things like:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Social status
  • Specific areas of search or ??interest

As this information gets more plentiful, competition for ad space with access to those better-understood consumers gets even more competitive. It’s time for real-time bidding!

What’s In A Real-Time Bidding System?

Perhaps the most critical component of the system is the DSP, which focusses on advertisers—the people who seek to buy. But a good Real-Time Bidding system should include several elements, including:

  • DSP—a demand-side platform for the advertisers, which allows them to shop for ad space on one or more ad exchanges
  • SSP—a supply-side platform for publishers, usually combined with an ad server, that allows publishers to get ad supply from multiple ad exchanges.
  • Ad Exchange—a platform for interaction between publishers and advertisers.
  • Data Proviision—a system that provides extensive information about visitors to both publishers and advertisers

The ad exchange system imposes restrictions on the time of the auctions in the DSP platform. This time is usually in the range of 50 to 100 milliseconds. A DSP system must therefore work extremely fast to pick up many factors (or «target parameters») for many different advertising campaigns, hold an auction, and to give an answer to the ad exchange.

DSP Is More Than Raw Speed.

The DSP system must also be integrated with existing ad exchanges and data providers, working through the API.

The Internet Advertising Bureau recognizes a standard for this integration between the DSPs and ad exchanges called OpenRTB protocol. Research shows most major providers do not currently use OpenRTB, although many say they plan to move toward its use in the future.

But the development of DSP is much more difficult than the development of ad server systems. DSP requires expertise from developers and is a full order of magnitude more demanding of physical resources, like servers and communication channels.

DSP3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Are In Forefront of the DSP Trend

Based on our experience with enterprise-level ad management systems and having understood the direction the market was heading long ago, we began designing our DSP systems with full faith in their future.

And that future is here.

I’m happy to announce the final development phase of our new ad exchange system is underway—built using OpenRTB protocol and integrated with DMP providers. We have completed the design phases and, pushing ahead, cannot wait to release our new ad exchange to the market.

Better advertising and better business are in store for everyone in online advertising. And we were fortunate to be ahead of the curve on the DSP migration, striving to bring real-time bidding to our customers the right way from the beginning.

Look for our new release soon!

And if you have any questions, please leave a comment or contact us directly. We’d love to hear your thoughts about the challenges and the opportunities you see with DSP in your business.

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Jun 24 2013

Why We Use the Cloud to Develop and Improve OrbitScripts—And Our Top 3 Recommendations

Category: OrbitscriptsOrbitscripts @ 9:37 am

The short answer to «Why use the cloud?» is, because the cloud is simple. Most processes can be done with the touch of a button, which saves time and allows us to try many different configurations.

That translates to a better OrbitScripts platform for our customers.

What Goes Into Our Work
In the development of control systems for big advertising platforms, developers have to choose the right software based on a few big criteria, including:

  • different types of storage
  • queing systems
  • databases
  • distributed computing

But you can’t make the right choice until you get the right information from stress tests, which measure response times, the number of simultaneous connections, and processing times per request.

Testing Takes Up Most Of Our Time
Testing. Testing. Testing. We have to test each software separately for how well it interacts with the system and the platform on which we run the test.

That involves a bunch of factors: operating system, system software, and configuration and fine-tuning of all the parameters, like the number of open files, sockets, memory settings, and on and on.

To simulate both the platform and system load requires many servers and many iterations: configure and run the test platform and system load, run the stress test, analyze the results, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

mebius

But The Cloud Uses Virtual Servers
So instead of having to connect external memory, processors, hard drives and do all the network configuration, the cloud makes life easy, with:

  • Flexible system configuration
  • Cloning
  • Rapid deployment
  • Fault tolerance
  • High speed data processing
  • Lower costs for hardware, software, maintenance and electricity

Like I said, the cloud is simple.

Our Recommendations
During our development of ad management systems, we used many different cloud services, and these are three we highly recommend:

  1. Open Stack—open source software for building private and public clouds
  2. Amazon Web Services (AWS)—a highly reliable, scalable, low-cost infrastructure platform that Amazon has been providing since 2006 through a partnership with Intel
  3. Rack Space—enterprise-level hosting services with over 197,000 customers

Of these three, I would add that AWS has a very friendly user interface and detailed user documentation.

And Rack Space, for whatever reason, showed better results for us when testing network bandwidth versus other cloud services.

So have you tried any of those three cloud services?
Which do you prefer? Or is there one you like even better?

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