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(The Hosting News) – Cloud hosting is a relatively new format of web hosting that focuses on keeping your website up and allowing it to cope with peaks in usage easily. This is achieved by spreading the resources required for your website among many physical servers thus reducing the reliance on any single piece of computing hardware.
How does it work?
Many, many individual servers are teamed together to create a ‘cloud’. This has multiple benefits –it balances overall load between the servers, massively reduces the reliance on individual physical servers for service provision and provides flexibility to deploy resources as required.
Indiviual virtual machines can then be deployed into the cloud, each with their own resource allocations such as processor, memory and disk storage. Disk storage in enterprise clouds is provisioned on a single highly available SANs (Storage Area Networks).
Software is installed on each physical server called a ‘hypervisor’. This is usually a small piece of code that controls the virtual machines that will run on the physical hardware. The most common hypervisors used are VMware, Xen and Hyper-v.
How does it compare to other hosting types
Cloud hosting is a relatively new and evolving technology and as such some service providers have struggled with their deployments. In particular, the lower cost providers have implementations on low quality server hardware with local disk storage which doesn’t really deserve the ‘cloud’ moniker. The better quality cloud providers have deployed on enterprise class hardware typically using VMware and have been much more successful at achieving the gains that cloud hosting promises.
In comparison to dedicated servers cloud hosting is now delivering a much more reliable solution. The distributed architecture allows users to achieve a much higher level of resilience than is possible with an entry level dedicated server solution. It’s not until you have many servers with hardware load balancing that a dedicated server solution can begin to compete on this level.
Shared or VPS style hosting is still a lot more cost effective than cloud hosting for several reasons. Essentially a single server with local storage is divided into many individual virtual machines which the service provider can then deploy. The need for capital expenditure in this configuration is much reduced which benefits the end user if the high availability features of the cloud are not required.
Does cloud hosting have a future?
Larger organisations have been using cloud computing for many years now to reduce costs and increase reliability. As market adoption is becoming increasingly widespread among small to medium sized businesses, cloud hosting is gaining additional momentum. The benefits are clear but caution must be used when moving your hosting services to the cloud. There are many providers that simply have not invested in the infrastructure required to build a successful cloud which could prove a costly mistake to a business looking to host servers. As always the best advice is to thoroughly research your selected hosting partners and seek customer opinion as to their service.
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