If you browse the web on a regular basis, looking for information technology articles, I am sure that you have heard about cloud computing. Still, very few people understand the basics of cloud computing. I was sitting with some of my friends (about 20 of them) in a room the other day, and one of them has asked us what exactly is cloud hosting and how does it work.
There were lots of people in the room, and most of them have heard about cloud computing and cloud hosting; yet, none of them has managed to offer a decent explanation. This is one of the reasons that have determined me to explain the basics of cloud hosting; I really hope that at the end of the article all the missing puzzle pieces will come together nicely.
In a nutshell, cloud hosting is a conglomerate of servers linked together; their resources are made available to the clients. This means that rather than using your own dedicated server, which can cost quite a bit, can be under or over-utilized, can be exposed to attacks, theft, etc, you have the opportunity to rent a part of the server conglomerate (the cloud) and use it to store your own website, run an application on the cloud, etc.
More and more companies are embracing the cloud trend. Take the Chrome Books, for example; they are lightweight notebooks that don’t need very fast CPUs (and thus can be lightweight) because most of the software is stored in and run from the cloud. Basically, the clients are sharing the existing infrastructure, and this leads to reduced costs. For even lower monthly costs, check out the providers which offer cloud hosting comparison services.
It’s not all that good with cloud hosting, though. There are risks that need to be assessed before deciding to invest into a cloud hosting package. First of all, when you store your precious data in the cloud, you face the risk of having somebody else access it as well. It’s not bound to happen, but while the cloud can be quite secure globally, it may not be that safe if certain websites / accounts become targets. What is the solution then? Don’t keep the critical data in the cloud, at least for now. Wait until the technology matures – it’s only at its beginnings these days. Use a private cloud to store critical business data, in case that your business has that kind of information at its disposal.
Still, with cloud hosting there are several advantages that shouldn’t be overlooked, and one of the most important ones is the cost. When you host your website in the cloud, rather than using a dedicated server, you pay exactly what you have used. This means that if the business isn’t flourishing at the moment, you won’t have to pay expensive hosting bills, because the website doesn’t receive too many visitors. Of course, when the business is booming, the hosting bills will be bigger, but this will not be an issue because you’ve gotten more clients, right?
If your business is selling an application, you can switch it to a monthly payment model by simply installing it in the cloud and giving the users access to it, provided that they pay a monthly fee. This is exactly what Adobe is doing with its creative suite, and this allows them to cut down on piracy, fix the problems much faster, and significantly reduces the tech support because everything runs from a single, virtual server, and so on.
We like it or not, the cloud is here to stay. Microsoft launched the latest version of its Office suite a few months ago and it includes support for the cloud right off the bat. Lots of people use Dropbox to store their files in the cloud, and the list goes on.
I hope that you are now much more familiar with cloud hosting. Think of it this way: whenever you save a file or run an application, you access the hard drive in your computer. With cloud hosting, the files are sent to a network of servers, and thus your computer resources are freed.