Cloud technologies are fast becoming the norm, but it can be confusing to understand the differences between the various types of computing and hence deciding on the best options for your business.
Cloud computing, cloud hosting, IaaS, virtual machines… what does it all mean?
To help you out, we’re going to be blogging about some of these technologies, starting with cloud hosting. What is cloud hosting, and how does it work?
Cloud hosting is different to traditional hosting. Traditionally, a website would be hosted on a single server, usually in a data centre. That server could be shared, meaning lots of websites hosted on the same server, or it could be a dedicated server, where one website sits on one server. Cloud hosting, on the other hand, sees your data distributed across different servers, usually in different places, which are all connected to form a network. This network is called the cloud.
So why would you want to do this? Cloud hosting seems a bit more complicated than traditional hosting, so there must be some benefits of cloud hosting, right?
With cloud hosting it’s easier to manage peak loads without creating bandwidth issues, because another server can provide that additional resource immediately. It’s flexible, and scalable. Your website doesn’t just rely on one server, but a cluster of servers. This means improved resilience. If your data is sitting on a single machine, and it goes offline, then you’ve got some downtime to deal with. With cloud hosting, if one server goes offline you can automatically failover to a second (or third, or fourth) server and your website remains online. TeleData’s CloudActiv cloud platform does this for you automatically as the platform is simultaneously replicated, meaning if one site goes offline, the automatic failover provides a seamless transition and no downtime.
So hang on a minute, is your data sitting across multiple servers that are also housing other people’s data and websites? Well yes, in this case it is, and this is known as public cloud. Public cloud is the equivalent of a shared server, and the cluster of networked servers hold data for several websites, or multiple businesses. This can be a cheaper option, as the resource and therefore the cost, is shared. And unlike traditional shared hosting, public cloud hosting will see your data ringfenced. You won’t share disk space or processing power with anybody else, it’s just the racks in the data centre that are shared.
In some cases, this type of solution isn’t secure enough. Especially for certain industries such as finance and legal. Which is where private cloud comes into play. With a private cloud solution, you wouldn’t share your infrastructure with any other accounts or businesses and your resource sits behind your own firewall. Private cloud hosting will cost you more, but offers greater levels of security and control.
Cloud hosting also provides a better option in terms of scalability. Because you aren’t restricted to a single server, resources can quickly and easily be scaled up and down to meet demand. This is perfect for seasonal fluctuations such as Christmas, Black Friday, special offers and any other times when you are expecting a traffic increase or a higher demand. This ease of scale means you can avoid downtime - and you REALLY don’t want downtime just as your Christmas shoppers hit your site ready to spend! This type of quick reacting scalability isn’t possible with a traditional cloud hosting solution.