Getting to Know the Cloud

September 24, 2011 by  Filed under: Web Hosting 

Cloud Hosting

Also known as Cloud Computing or Clustered Hosting

How Does It Work?
Typical hosting takes a lot of time to set up and costs a lot of money. You pay for the servers when you are using them. This is what you would expect right? Well you also pay for them when you are NOT using them. Imagine if your electric bill worked this way! Cloud Hosting differs in the way that you ‘pay as you go’. When you put your business on a ‘cloud’ server, you can scale up or down as needed. Your business fluctuates and the ‘cloud’ will fluctuate with it. Furthermore, as you need more or less computing power you can scale up or down instantly! When you need more computing power you get it from the cloud. When you need less you release it back to the cloud. On demand! You are billed as you would be for a utility bill. For what you actually use and not what you don’t use! This saves you lots of money.

Money Saving


What to Expect Building a Cloud Server
Select a size for your cloud server model. Sizes range from small server criteria that include a minimal amount of CPU, memory, and storage, all the way up to really big server types that have tons of resources. Each server model is priced at a different rate depending on the size.

Choose an OS template. Typically, Windows, CentOS, Ubuntu, Debian, FreeBSD, and OpenSolaris are supported. You’ll pay a different rate based on the OS template you choose. But note: all of the open-source templates are free!

In less than 60 seconds, your new cloud server is online! You can easily manage your new cloud server from the hosting portal. This portal allows you to upgrade, pause, and remove your servers as your needs change. You can also set up load balancing, manage your cloud network security rules, and request live support.

Layers of the Cloud Application
SaaS-(Software as a Service)- Another layer of Cloud Computing, SaaS is sometimes referred to as “Software on Demand”. With SaaS, software is rented rather than purchased. Customers pay through a subscription, on a “pay-per-use” basis. This approach to application delivery is the essence of ‘cloud hosting’. SaaS is ideal for cloud computing in the Internet and Web browser-based applications, which can run in any desktop or mobile device, no matter the OS. SaaS has been around for a while now. Cloud Computing is for the most part, breathing new life into the SaaS model by reducing the costs associated with producing a SaaS application. A well-known example would be Gmail.

PaaS-(Platform as a Service)- A way to rent hardware,OS,storage and network volume over the Internet. This service delivery model allows the customer to rent virtual servers and affiliated services for running existing apps or cultivating and testing new ones. (PaaS) is an offspring of Software as a Service (SaaS). As a matter of fact there are more and more PaaS clouds sprouting up constantly and pretty rapidly every day. The number one benefit of such a service is that for very little money, you can launch your application with little effort. Now you can build and run your apps in the cloud!

IaaS-(Infrastructure as a Service)- As applies to ‘Cloud’ is a supply model in which a company actually outsources the equipment used to support operations, including storage, hardware, servers and networking elements. This service provider owns the equipment and is responsible for housing, running and sustaining it. You, the customer, will be billed on a pay-per-use basis. You may also hear it referred to as (HaaS) or Hardware as a Service. IaaS is a layer in cloud computing, and the foundation for where it all begins. It is where ‘cloud hosting’ lives.

Kinds of Cloud Hosting
Public Cloud- A public cloud is one based on the popular cloud computing model, in which a supplier makes resources, such as applications and storage, accessible to the general public over the Internet. Public cloud services may be free or offered on a pay-per-use basis.

Benefits of a Public Cloud Service

Inexpensive; Economical- That means a lot in an eroding economy!
Scalability to meet needs.
No wasted resources as you pay for what you use.

The term “public cloud” arose to discern between the standard model and the private cloud.

Private Cloud- A private cloud is one created by a company for use in its very own base. The cloud is usually hosted on the company’s servers right within its own framework. Private clouds differ from public ones in that a few selected people have access to them. With each and every passing day, it is now becoming promising for large companies to build their own highly automated private cloud networks. By doing this, they enable themselves to manage all resources from one single point.


Locality- A private cloud can be placed within an organizations’ own data center.
Cheaper Alternative

Hybrid Cloud
A hybrid cloud is a cloud computing environment in which a company keeps some resources in-house and has others provided externally. For instance, an outfit might use a public cloud service for collected data yet continue to sustain in-house storage for their customer data. Realistically, the hybrid allows a business to take scalability and cost-effectiveness from a public cloud while preserving crucial apps and data from being exposed.

Some Important Terms
Scalability-Hallmark of a system that can adjust to changes in activity without major changes to the process. Scalability most often comes into play when a webmaster anticipates growth in his business. A scalable operation can be downsized as easily as it can expand. After all who wants to invest into anything that can’t flourish as their company does? On the other hand, you do not want to pay for excess while you wait for growth to happen. A server for a Web site has scalability if it can accommodate extreme highs and lows in user traffic.

Multi-Tenancy-As relates to cloud computing, multi-tenant is the phrase used to describe multiple customers using the same public cloud. Multi-tenancy is the most direct path to spending less and getting more from a cloud application. When compared, a multi-tenant app or a single-tenant one, the multi-tenant application will lower a customers’ cost and offer more value every time. In fact, the more a cloud providers’ foundation and resources are shared, the lower the costs for customers. If the challenge is to reduce operating costs then multi-tenancy is the answer. It spreads the cost of the infrastructure across the customer base.

Load Balancing-The distribution of the traffic load evenly among your servers. Load balancing might split incoming activity evenly to all servers, or it may redirect to the next available server as needed. If one server fails, one or more additional servers are still available.

Redundancy-Used to describe an ingredient of a computer or network system that is used to shield the primary system from failure by acting as a back up system. Redundant elements can include both hardware, such as disk drives, peripherals, servers, switches, routers and software, such as OS, apps and databases.

Cloud Architecture-The two most significant factors of cloud computing architecture are known as the front end and the back end. The front end is the part seen by the client. This includes the clients’ computer and the apps used to access the cloud via web browser. The back end of the cloud computing architecture is the ‘cloud’ itself, consisting of various computers, servers and data storage devices.

High Availability-Also referred to as ‘RAS’ (reliability, availability, serviceability) OR ‘fault resilient’, it pertains to a multiprocessing operation that can quickly recover from a failure. There may be a minute or two of downtime while one system switches over to another, but processing will continue. Users want their systems to be ready to serve them at all times. Generally, the term ‘downtime’ is used to refer to periods when a system is unavailable.

Clustering-The technique of linking a number of computers together in a cluster to act like a single computer.

Site Migration-The act of moving your website from one web hosting provider to another. In this instance to ‘Cloud’. It can be a painful and confusing process even to the most experienced of webmasters. Look for this feature to be FREE when purchasing hosting! They should provide Site Migration by expert migration specialists.

SLA (Service Level Agreement)- As applies to cloud hosting, your SLA is especially important as it defines the terms of the responsibility of the hosting company you choose AND the money back guarantee if those responsibilities are not met.

SAN storage-SAN, short for Storage Area Network, is where the disk space element of your block is stored. This provides many benefits over traditional local disk storage, the most important being flexibility. Because a node connects to the SAN to access its storage, if that node fails, it only takes a matter of seconds for another node to resume your block and have access to your data. Your block resumes with no data loss. Now THAT is peace of mind!

Security and Privacy
There is some confusion that arises between the “cloud” and the public Internet. A private cloud, which is used by a cloud hosting company, is not publicly visible any more than any other private data center. It is regulated by the same security protocols. Your files are not exposed to anyone else, and the network is still protected by firewalls and backed up with redundant infrastructures that promise high uptime. A public cloud however, is another story. There is no getting around the fact that putting data onto an external server carries risks. No matter what your cloud hosting Co. may promise, if its security gets breached, so might yours. Having said this, it is no more so than any other type of hosting. Probably less!

Pamela A. Langhart makes her home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Writing since the age of 11, she also enjoys a career in Internet Marketing.

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