When you decide to run your applications from the cloud, it is important to understand what you are getting. The term “cloud” often conjures up notions of some obscure technological phenomenon that is unique and completely antonymous to web hosting. In reality, however, the two are intrinsically linked. As one IT expert complained, “There is no cloud. It’s just a bunch of servers.”
Cloud deployments can take many forms, and I do not claim to be an expert on any of them. But this introduction to them should hopefully give you an idea about what to expect when you dive into the cloud.
- Shared Virtual Server – Just like a virtual private server, many cloud providers will offer you a cloud service or platform that is virtualized. This saves them and ultimately you money. In this model, you will generally share resources with other customers. When you hear about the “public cloud”, this is usually what it entails.
- Dedicated Virtual Server – This model is like the previous one, but the provider will dedicate a certain percentage of system resources to your cloud service or platform.
- Private Dedicated Server – In this scenario, everything is yours. The entire server is dedicated to your applications. You may still use virtualization, but it is all under your control. This is often called a “private cloud”.
Regardless of which type of deployment you choose, you will still have the support of your cloud service provider. This is essentially what separates it from regular, unmanaged web hosting. Whatever service, software, or platform the provider hosts for you will be fully supported, updated, and maintained for you according to the terms of service.