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Understanding Cloud Hosting and How You Can Benefit from It

Understanding Cloud Hosting and How You Can Benefit from It
August 26
09:48 2010

Everyone seems to be talking about how marvelous cloud hosting is. So what is Cloud Hosting – really? And why does it seem like it has taken the world of website hosting by storm?

Cloud Hosting, a.k.a. Clustered Hosting, simply refers to a type of web hosting service that allows a network of various connected servers to share and deliver resources. This network of servers does not have to be in the same place. The fact is most of them are located in data centers strewn all over the globe. From a layman’s point of view, a website that is cloud-hosted runs on multi-connected servers, instead of being limited to only one server just like the traditional web hosting; in short, the website has access to several servers. Virtually speaking, this type of hosting has limitless processing power as you can always scale up and add another server – at any given time.

Why Cloud Hosting Works

A decade ago, most resources have been inhibited by the restrictions not just of the hardware but also the applications at hand. Resources may be limited to the server’s processing capability, the amount of RAM, bandwidth and storage. Of course, there’s the budget to consider and a variety of other reasons that slow down business expansion.

Cloud Hosting balances the load of power and resources to provide users with constant and continuous connectivity. It enables the management and sharing of huge amounts of data and plenty of room to scale up or down for unpredictable demands. Users are not restricted to the boundaries of one hardware or server, since server resources, load balance and security are virtually managed and handled. Online operations gain access to enhanced processing power with the number of distributed servers.

Cloud Hosting involves three fundamental elements:
•   Virtualization – simply entails separation of applications from infrastructure.
•    Utility computing – server capacity is accessed accordingly; across a grid that depicts variably priced and shared service.
•    Software as a Service – or SaaS means applications are available on subscription basis and upon demand.

Cloud Hosting Users

You may be wondering who uses cloud hosting. Well, for one, it is ideal for web developers who require a seriously straightforward applications platform without the hassles of trying to figure out how the technological aspect of the operations works.  This type of service provides website developers more room and flexibility to get on with their innovative ideas, rather than fret about web servers.

Many companies take the help of cloud web hosting services to initially mark their online presence. If you’re planning to put up your online business, this web hosting service is by far the most cost effective. Cloud servers are primarily meant to help beginners. The cloud lets you have the agility and be more business-aligned for optimized performance. With more resources available, you can expand your business without having to incur additional inventory or overhead.

Is Cloud Hosting Right for You?

So many things have to be taken into consideration in assessing if cloud hosting is right for you and your website development services. It is vital, however, that you understand as much of the benefits (and probably drawbacks) as you can to determine if cloud hosting can respond to your website’s needs and requirements. Take note of the following benefits that cloud hosting can provide.

Advantages/Benefits of Cloud Hosting

Cost Savings
Web hosting IS expensive. The hardware itself comes at a high cost; apart from that, you need to place the computer in a “controlled-environment” location. You also need a round-the-clock administrator to make sure everything runs smoothly all the time; and if you can’t do it yourself, you probably have to employ someone. Even if your website doesn’t have that much activity, you still pay for the server upkeep. With cloud hosting, you enjoy the benefit of redundancy, so you reduce hardware inventory; thus, lessening power requirements, too.

Cloud hosting companies only bill you for your actual computing power consumption. It’s just like being billed for the amount of water and electricity you consume – you only pay for what you use. So if there are “surges” in the traffic, you can simply pay for the additional virtual space for that particular period. When traffic is slow, you’re not unnecessarily paying for extra bandwidth.

Scalability
When your business grows, it may become necessary to expand your website features, which requires additional bandwidth, of course. One definite advantage of Cloud Hosting is its resilience; when your website hosting needs expand, cloud hosting easily adapts and allows for a seamless website transition. You save a lot with this flexibility that cloud hosting provides; you can easily scale your bandwidth based on the shifting degrees of Internet traffic. It’s not even necessary to request extra bandwidth from a host. And most significant of all, you won’t feel apprehensive about losing customers because there is no available bandwidth.

Decreased Downtime
There are many reasons why your business can experience a slowdown, if not complete standstill. Technology can be pesky at times; and even the most powerful computers built by giants are prone to crash in the wrong conditions. A frequently downed server on a regular web hosting plan may mean your website is not running and is unavailable to consumers, or at the very least, so slow in delivering data that your customer may decide to just leave your site.

This is a common scenario when a spike in Internet traffic is felt in a particular website. When a website gets more attention, the server may experience an overload; which can cause it to slow down at the very least or completely shut down, at the worst. With cloud hosting, it is far more unlikely for your site to crash because of a remarkable increase in traffic; since the load is spread through multiple computers. If one server’s hard drive fails, your site is not affected because your data remains mirrored on other servers; moreover, you website continues to function because there is no single point o f failure. In cloud hosting, if a server goes down, the other servers in the network can easily take up the slack and allow your website to remain up and running, even with the spike in traffic.

The Downside
With all these advantages and benefits, it may sound like cloud hosting is your near-perfect dream web hosting. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work perfectly in the real world. Right now there’s one major issue that seem to plague this type of hosting, which is the lack of control over where your data is stored and that actually triggers security issues, although this has been contained to minimal.

Cloud Hosting is a developing technology. Cloud Hosting has a more intricate infrastructure than other types of hosting and there’s a greater possibility for things to go wrong, given the probability of human error – the host administrators may not be totally proficient with their craft, for instance. Well, sometimes even competent technology personnel makes mistakes – and even cloud hosting sites can go down.

Be that is it may, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks and everybody thinks the future of web hosting is veering towards cloud hosting. Somehow, all popular websites use some type of cloud hosting, one way or another. And the trend seems to be likewise spreading to smaller sites.

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