When compared to the traditional shared or dedicated server environment, the emergence of cloud hosting has presented a viable alternative for growing businesses looking for cost effective IT solutions.
Understanding the Cloud
By its nature, cloud computing is largely unencumbered by the deficiencies that are often associated with traditional servers. The cloud revolves around a group of virtual machines whose functionality and accessibility is embodied through server clusters. This provides a foundational basis for exceptional flexibility in terms of systems scaling, ease of access, applications development and lowered costs. Cloud services are compatible with most managed servers and can be positioned seamlessly behind existing load balancers and firewalls.
Cloud computing has emerged as a natural evolution from virtualization. At a basic level, a cloud environment is an extension of the virtual infrastructure as hard assets are transformed into online IT services. The cloud allows workloads to be rapidly shifted and positioned among a theoretically limitless number of virtual machines.
Below is a diagram of a cloud hosting set up, whether each level is shared depicts whether or not your infrastructure is public, private, dedicated or a hybrid solution:
Advantages of Cloud Hosting
As cloud hosting becomes increasingly accessible and mainstream, businesses of every size are exploring the potential benefits. Incorporating aspects of the cloud into data management as well as application and web related development can result in substantial improvements in overall operational efficiency in several critical areas.
- Scalability: When utilizing cloud hosting services, the client pays only for the resources they actually use rather than anticipatory usage. Scalability is inherently embedded as systemic alterations are implemented almost instantaneously. The lead times that are generally associated with hardware configurations are essentially eliminated as cloud hosting removes the infrastructure element and the related costs from the process
- Redundancy: A server that malfunctions or requires maintenance can result in downtime and a loss of functionality for multiple clients over extended periods. Redundancy within the cloud allows for the complete duplication of data resources that are immediately accessible should an issue with a server arise. Continuity is maintained, and the client’s business is not adversely affected by server issues
- High Availability: In a traditional server based system, high availability essentially meant providing duplicate hardware for every process. This added substantially to capital investment expenditures and maintenance expenses. The cloud provides high availability at a fraction of the cost through implementation of virtualization layers that provide immediate access to redundant systems
Private and Public Cloud Environments
Companies of all sizes are achieving superior resource utilization returns by implementing managed cloud services. The choice of private cloud hosting or public cloud hosting largely depends on a company’s size, growth metrics and specific industry.
Many businesses are more familiar with the public cloud, where workloads are allocated dynamically on a shared basis over the internet. This scenario is extremely cost effective and requires a minimal upfront investment. Private clouds tend to be implemented by larger companies that are more sensitive to corporate governance issues, security breaches and reliability concerns. While a private cloud can help a business achieve substantial gains in productivity through enhanced network management, they also carry much high capital and maintenance costs.