Internet services have been around for some time however, cloud computing and the platform that it brings is a bit newer. One important point to remember is this: cloud computing isn’t one technology; rather, it’s a combination of technologies all working together to deliver data and information over the Wide Area Network (WAN). There are some key components to a cloud environment and the hosting mechanism. As more organizations move towards a cloud environment, it’ll be continuously important for them to understand how that environment works.
Although there are many different cloud providers which have various services and offerings, some underlying components will still remain the same. Prior to moving to any cloud environment, every organization – both large and small – should understands how their business will directly benefit from moving to a cloud hosting platform. With cloud hosting, the following are important components which make up the infrastructure.
One of the biggest advantages of cloud hosting is that it is remote and off-site. The infrastructure is supported by an outside provider who will, in many cases, manage the connection, resource utilization, and accessibility into the environment. This can be a website or several virtual machines. These providers will own their own equipment and provide a certain uptime and service-level for their customers. Basically, an organization won’t have to worry about hardware or software – just the websites or workloads that are being loaded into the cloud. A popular use for off-site hosting is to create your own Content Distribution Network (CDN). These content delivery network services can improve the user experience for web and mobile content and applications, including rich media and video. Hosting providers can offer edge services, network optimization, deliver software packages and updates, and even provide services such as global load balancing.
Cloud computing is built on both shared and dynamic resources. This means that many times you will be using shared equipment. Although, in many cases you can also request dedicated hardware or resources as needed. By dynamically allocating resources as needed to customers, cloud hosting providers are able to offer competitive packages which can fit many different types of organizations. Furthermore, as the need arises, cloud hosting partners can add additional services, space or even sites quickly based on the demand of the customer. This can be driven based on user activity or even the time of the year.
The beauty of the cloud is its distributed nature. Cloud computing isn’t just in one place, rather it is a set of distributed servers and data centers all designed to host customer solutions. There are numerous benefits to this type of architecture. For instance, it will increase the resiliency and uptime of your cloud-hosted environment and it will also allow you to have remote/off-site backups of your environment. Whether its website hosting or full service provider hosting, there is a good chance that your servers – or what lives on those servers – are actually replicated to other sites around the globe. This is also big for the disaster recovery and business continuity (DRBC) platforms provided by service providers and cloud hosting organizations. With a distributed architecture – you’re able to create powerful load-balancing architectures capable of making your hosted workloads a lot more resilient.
Cloud Hosting and your Business Needs
No one cloud provider is really the same. Each is able to offer various services based on their own capabilities. Providers may select a niche or are capable of supporting various verticals. From a customer’s perspective, it’s important to know that no one provider s the same and each has their own benefits and drawbacks. For example, some providers are lower cost but support only one data center in their area. So, although there are cost savings – there is also a single point of failure. Some cloud providers are more expensive as they are able to support larger environments and are able to offer more services. For an organization trying to find the right fit the first step is identifying the cloud use-case and knowing where a given provider will fit in. Work with a cloud hosting service which can meet your IT and business needs both in the short and long term.
The diversity of cloud hosting is part of what can make it confusing. There are many options for all sorts of organizations. As more companies move to a cloud environment, providers will get even more creative with what they can offer their customers. The first step with any cloud initiative – whether it is web hosting, infrastructure, or even for DR purposes – is to identify the direct need and business use-case. Once that’s established, it becomes much easier to select the right partner for your organization.