The first tool I tried was Nasuni Filer and their cloud storage appliance, in simple to install OVF format. This company offers "Simplified cloud storage for business" with unlimited storage, complete file protection, local-like performance, choice of cloud providers, fast restore. I tested by putting some files shares in the cloud with some data but think of it also as a place to say store your DR images. It worked very nicely. Another nice touch is you didn't have to have a Cloud provider account already, it did all that in the background, which made testing this product so much easier and enjoyable. I highly suggest you check this product out if it fits your needs!
The next product which I was very interested in was http://www.cloudswitch.com/. Their product was going to allow me to take virtual machines from my internal VMware vSphere clouds and move them to the cloud to run with the same networking I used internal! Sounds impressive and it was...it worked Great! You can also move the virtual machine from the cloud back into your internal VMware cloud...but this process has a few steps that are not as easy as going to the cloud.
This come is in two products: Explorer (only works with Amazon EC2) and Enterprise with also works with Terremark vCloud Express.I found it easier to contact Terremark and they set me up with a $25 credit to do my testing...and the trials of Cloudswitch are free. Again an OVF import appliance it was easy to setup and use. Soon I have one of my internal test 2003 Servers on our networking running in the cloud...and it worked just like it was within our data center! Nice!. The weakness I saw which I hear Cloudswitch is working on, is console access uses flash in their tool and mouse does not work. But with a move like this no problem...you use Remote Desktop or whatever remote tool you normally would. It had the same IP address as internal to us.
Cloudswitch also came with some sample pre-built test virtual machines to deploy to the cloud, so my next one was a CENTOS 5 virtual machine. It also worked great!
In this setup you do all your work using Cloudswitch, not the Cloud providers tools.
Billing...is where things get tricky. Cloudswitch estimated my costs for this 1 CPU, 768MB, 15GB thin disk vm as about 8 cents per hour. I got the vm up and running about 9pm at night. By the morning with the vm silent and not really doing anything all night, my bill was up to $8, with a breakout of charges being $2.02 for Servers, $6.25 for storage, $0.25 for ip addressing, and $0.25 for internet services. After adding the CentOS vm and doing a little testing I was up to $18 the next day in fees. So I powered off my virtual machines and deleted them in the cloud.
Overall I think the cloud has potential...but the pricing structure needs work so you know what your costs are going to be. Maybe VMware will have the answer for that at VMWorld 2010!
P.S. I really wanted to thank Terremark for allowing me the credit so I could perform this testing. Give them a call if your serious about trying out the Cloud! Also thanks to Cloudswitch for delivering a tool to make this possible.