The cloud has been one of the biggest developments in online services in recent years, so much so that it has possibly become somewhat overused by marketing departments as a buzzword to gain interest. The cloud, as the meme says, is simply someone else’s computer. However, the reality, in general, is somewhat more complex than this, so let’s take a look in more detail.
Cloud hosting builds upon the concepts of cluster computing, whereby a number of computers are linked together to share workloads and appear to the end user as a single computer. While in a cluster each of the computers is generally performing the same task, in cloud computing a number of computers perform different tasks while working together to achieve a goal. When we think of cloud hosting, each of the servers will be performing tasks required to present the hosting environment to a customer.
With a cloud VPS, your Virtual Private Server (or VPS) works and acts just the same from the end user’s standpoint as a non-cloud VPS. What is different is the infrastructure behind it. While a regular VPS would be running on a single server, making use of an allocation of its resources, a cloud VPS runs on a cloud made up of various servers. Some of these servers provide the CPU processing and RAM to the cloud, and “run” the VPSs, while others provide storage for the cloud where the VPSs’ data are stored. These clouds can be as small as a handful of servers in a data center, or as large as many servers split across multiple data centers.
Cloud Hosting Benefits
There are a great many reasons for obtaining cloud hosting, including the advantages that it can bring. The biggest advantage is that cloud hosting works to eliminate single points of failure. With a regular VPS, shared hosting or dedicated servers, your server is tied to a specific set of hardware. With a cloud VPS, your server runs as part of the cloud and as such should any piece of hardware in that cloud fail there are others ready to take over running your server. This means that rather than being stuck offline for an unknown amount of time while your hosting provider fixes hardware, your VPS can be up and running somewhere else in the cloud.
There is also scalability and flexibility to consider. As your resource requirements for your server change according to whether your needs are growing or shrinking, you can adjust the resources allocated to your server from the cloud. These changes can be made as and when you need them, allowing you to respond quickly to changing requirements.
Scalability ensures that you are maximizing the usage of the resources you allocate and get the best value for money from your hosting. If you run multiple VPSs, you can even move resources between them by scaling down quieter servers and scaling up busier ones as the need arises. In relation to this, many dedicated servers spend a lot of their time sitting idle, which means that the owner is both paying for more resources than they really need, and the server is using electricity that needn’t be being used and generating unnecessary heat.
A cloud VPS in these situations can not only potentially save you money (as you only pay for the resources you really need), it’s also good for your green credentials as your server will be using less energy and generating less heat to do the same work than if you under-utilized a dedicated server.
As you can see, cloud hosting with a VPS is way more than just using someone else’s computer and can be a great solution for your hosting needs.
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