Website Hosting

Cloud Hosting and How it is Set to Change Internet Commerce

The term "cloud computing" is often heard in relation to hosting solutions. Just as often, its meaning is illusive. Private cloud hosting, public cloud hosting, dedicated servers, availability, scalability, and redundancy are common terms used to describe cloud computing hosting services. Understanding the typical cloud hosting infrastructure is essential when determining which services best suit the needs of a business.

How Does Cloud Hosting Work?

Hosting is just one part of a range of services that reside on the "cloud". The idea behind cloud computing is that by networking a range of computer resources, rather than a single, local computer, users experience greatly enhanced response time, dramatically reduced downtime, constant access to data and services from nearly any location, greater control, instant boost in resources as needed, and the ability to pay only for services actually used.

Typical cloud services include:

  * Hosting
  * Word processing
  * Data storage
  * Email
  * Intranet

Services may be accessed via the user's computer, smartphone, tablet, or other internet-capable device.

Cloud hosting offers much greater reliability than traditional hosting. In the past, business was brought to a standstill when a hosting server crashed. Web sites, company intranets, email, and data were completely inaccessible until the server was brought back on line. If a single resource fails in the cloud, another steps in immediately to take over.

Advantages of cloud hosting include:

  * Availability: Multiple virtual and dedicated servers and load balancers provide on-demand resources to ensure network availability.

  * Scalability: Cloud hosting services instantly meet resource demands and relieve users of the burden of purchasing costly hardware.

  * Redundancy: Redundancy in resources by means of multiple platforms means that cloud hosting is exceedingly (kudos!) reliable.

Types of Cloud Hosting

There are three types of cloud hosting. Each uses multiple resources, but there are differences. The three types are:

  * Private cloud hosting
  * Public cloud hosting
  * Hybrid cloud hosting

Private Cloud Hosting: With private hosting, all resources are dedicated to a single user. Because resources are not shared, greater security measures are utilized, ensuring the safety of data. Private hosting also allows for greater control over architecture, design, and user access. Private cloud hosting is the type best suited for businesses.

Public Cloud Hosting: Public hosting is shared hosting. Multiple users, lack of control, and an increased vulnerability to hackers and viral applications are the main disadvantages of public hosting.

Hybrid Cloud Hosting: Hybrid hosting is a combination of private, public, and, sometimes, local network resources.

Secure UK data centers using virtual servers such as VMware's vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V provide a variety of business solutions that ensure security, boost productivity, and decrease overall costs.

Cloud hosting can be installed as a hybrid option if a company does not feel comfortable with only pure cloud hosting. Hybrid hosting includes features of a cloud and dedicated hosting, but it can be more expensive than pure cloud computing. Businesses may pair either public or private cloud hosting with dedicated servers in a hybrid model.

Companies can upgrade their cloud hosting by simply asking their provider for more computing power. Bulky equipment does not need to be installed, and companies can immediately begin using their increased computing power. The provider generally handles most of the difficult technical work, but internal technical departments may need to configure some settings.

Cloud hosting does present some risks, but companies should be aware of the technology's significant benefits. Computing needs continue to rise as Internet penetration increases in Asia and the Middle East. Although businesses can choose to ignore cloud computing, they should at least investigate its capabilities before making a final decision.

How is Cloud Hosting Set to Change Internet Commerce?

Cloud hosting is widely predicted to be one of the next trends in the business world, but the technology is still maturing. Companies could see significant cost savings and increased computing power by choosing cloud hosting.

Computing needs can fluctuate drastically on a daily, weekly, or seasonal basis. Public and private cloud hosting allows companies to scale their computing power to match consumer demand. Cloud computing's scalability is virtually infinite, and companies only pay for the used computing power. Businesses can adapt to changing market conditions without making significant adjustments to their employees, policies, or servers.

New and fledgling companies can quickly grow beyond their dedicated hosting capabilities as they attract customers. Cloud computing providers typically provide pay-as-you-go billing plans that are less expensive than installing numerous dedicated servers.

For example, an established company understands how much computing power will be needed for their operations. However, a young company may need fluctuating amounts of computing power. Cloud computing can scale to meet high demand, but it can also decrease during low demand. This prevents companies from buying more computing power than necessary and saves money for other operational costs.

Because growing companies may not have a fixed location or might move frequently between properties, equipment must be portable and relatively low in weight. Cloud computing services are available anywhere that an employee can find an Internet connection. An employee only needs a simple Internet-capable device like a smartphone, and they can take care of their work duties.

A growing company's services must be available around the clock to attract new customers. Clients are unlikely to commit to unreliable products and services. Cloud computing uses multiple servers in various locations to provide significant redundancy against blackouts, natural disasters, and technical malfunctions.


About the Author: Jonathon Linnell is a consultant for UKFast, a hosting company with their own data centres based in Manchester, providing Windows and Linux dedicated server solutions, virtualization platforms based on VMware's vSphere and Microsoft's Hyper-V hyper Visors and cloud hosting specialists.

Source: SiteProNews * August 1, 2011 * Issue #1574

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