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On demand computing, otherwise known as utility computing, is the combination of your computing resources into a comprehensive package. The storage of your site and information, all services to your site, and computation done by the host can be bundled into one package. This usually can be done for a low price, and is even free in some cases. Basically, what you do is “rent” the resources to take care of your computing needs. This is a manifestation of what is now called “on demand computing”, in which your network, your computing needs, and applications are all combined into one service.
Benefits of On Demand Computing
One of the most significant benefits of on demand computing is that you have access to far more powerful computing grids than you would otherwise have. In some networks, you must share the computational abilities of the host computer. However, with on demand computing, you have multiple servers that are often clustered together to make a larger unit that can be rented to the various users. The host may even have a supercomputer that is not maxed-out, with the potential of providing computation to far more clients.
With cloud computing, the hardware and software are all remotely located. The “cloud” designation refers to the grouping of services that make up the application, platform, and infrastructure. All of these services are provided within the cloud, through which phones, laptops, and servers conduct their efforts. The remote processing of user’s data, use of their software, and completion of computations are done in the cloud. Services provided by cloud computing are:
- Test environment
In addition, cloud computing can integrate these services, either in a development environment or as a platform. If you use the cloud’s software, your service is probably a little more expensive. It’s the same with databases. You’ll have a subscription fee, and subsequent charges will be based on a “per-use” price scale.
Besides access to larger computational resources, cloud computing relieves the businessman of IT costs. All hardware and software are outsourced to the cloud provider. Any software updates are done by the provider, without the need for the business to upgrade each and every station on site.
When a business subscribes to dedicated hosting, it receives its own server. This is attractive to consumers in that it allows the customer to select its own software, operating systems, and hardware. Your host can usually deliver server administration as an added cost. In some circumstances, dedicated hosting will be less expensive than hosting in which you share servers with others. This is especially true for businesses such as architecture firms and medical clinics.
The servers are usually located in data centers, and are equipped with backup power and HVAC systems. The hardware itself is owned by the host. For an additional fee, you can hire the host to support your operating system and choice of applications.
With dedicated hosting, you have enhanced benefits in services. Often, you’ll have higher performance from the server, since it works only for you. You usually have improved security, although cloud hosting is not insecure by comparison. You’ll have more control over your choice of operating systems, and email can be more stable. However, since dedicated hosting is more expensive, it is most efficiently used by high volume businesses, like those mentioned above.
With colocation, a business owns a dedicated server off-site. This is usually more expensive than having their own on-site server, yet less expensive than renting a dedicated server from a host. For your money, you get maintenance and increased bandwidth. Bandwidth affects the speed and backups of computational needs. With an on-site server, located at your place of business and owned by you, the bandwidth is limited. This can slow down computation, and you are solely responsible for all redundant functions. You also must provide proper HVAC and back-up power for outages.
With colocation, your server will be housed off-site. You’re expenses for limited bandwidth are now paid to the host, who has more bandwidth, plus the infrastructure necessary to keep your server working smoothly. Proper back-up power will keep computers up.
Another plus with colocation is that, if you decide your server is not keeping up with your business you can upgrade it at will. When you purchase server space from a host, you have to wait until the host decides to upgrade. You can also select your own software and applications, rather than having to fit your computing into the software provided by the host.
With colocation, you can move your office without losing your computers – the server remains up during the move or remodel. You can also, for an extra fee, hire the host to maintain your server and its functions, saving yourself the cost and hassle of IT.
With virtualization, your host service may use software that imitates the function of hardware. This virtualization will take place on the host machine, often performed by a VMM, or Virtual Machine Manager. The clearest explanation of this is to liken it to a panel of translators. You may speak English to the host server, while someone else speaks French, and another speaks German. Virtualization translates all of these into a language the computer speaks.
The virtue of this is that it serves to centralize administrative tasks and makes optimizes use of hardware. It allows multiple operating systems to run in parallel on one CPU, reducing costs. The translation effect improves the efficiency of available hardware.
Drawbacks To Virtualization
Whether you use cloud computing or a dedicated server, and whether or not your dedicated server is on-site or colocated, you will have your choice as to whether or not to use a host that uses virtualization. Some of the drawbacks may make you want to select a host with the capabilities to serve you without resorting to virtualization.
If a server goes down, it loses all of the virtualized information. The best way to combat this is to have redundant hardware. This, however, eliminates the need for virtualization. It’s hard to find a recovery program that handles all of the virtualization languages out there. In addition, some software programs don’t adapt as well to virtualized hardware, creating a problem for both the host and the client.
Another problem with virtualization is that if something goes wrong, it’s really hard to figure out where the problem is. That’s because so many “translators” are layered on top of each other that determining which one is gumming up the works is very time consuming. Management tools for the virtual hardware programs can begin to pile up, creating more work for the host, increasing your costs.
While on demand computing is certainly here to stay, virtualization is not the only way to go. Drawbacks to virtualization can create catastrophic failure of your computing systems. However, you can still participate in on demand computing. There are many hosts available who can offer you dedicated hosting that will support your high traffic site without the added risks of virtualization. The costs are quite comparable, considering the backups and redundancy necessary for that type of computing. Contact your cloud host or dedicated host today, to find out how you can have on demand computing.
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