You may have heard the terms ‘Cloud Hosting’ or ‘Cloud Computing,’ but you may not be sure exactly what they are or how they can benefit you. Maybe someone recommended that you purchase a Cloud Server instead of the Dedicated Server you’ve been using, but you are not exactly sure what a Cloud Server is and why it would be better than a Dedicated Server. Rest assured, you are not alone. Over the past few years the term “Cloud” has been diluted and thrown around to describe almost anything that is connected to the internet. That not the original meaning of Cloud, or a proper description of what benefits Cloud can bring to IT compared to traditional offerings. I’d first like to define what we consider Cloud Computing, and then to briefly explain some of the benefits and cost savings that can be leveraged if you decide to take the plunge and make the switch to Cloud Hosting.
When we refer to Cloud Computing, we are embracing the strictest definition of Cloud and referring to a group of technologies that allows for improved reliability, rapid scalability, and redundancy. I want to emphasize that last component again, redundancy. In the truest form of Cloud Computing, there is a reserved set of resources that we call the Failover Infrastructure that allows for client services to be moved quickly in the event of a hardware failure. True Cloud providers out there separate themselves from those providers just re-branding traditional, non-redundant virtual servers as “Cloud” with these two key components: Redundancy and High-Availability. High-Availability simply refers to the automated process of rolling customers over from failed hardware to the Failover Infrastructure in an orderly and automated process.
So now that we are on the same page as to what Cloud Computing really means, why should you care and what benefits can it bring to your business?
- Massive Reduction in Infrastructure Costs
One of the cornerstones of Cloud Computing economics is that you buy only what you need. Long gone are the days of IT Department Heads purchasing equipment for specific needs, only to find out that what they purchased is either woefully over-allocated for the task it was bought, or even worse inadequate. Because resources on Cloud are so flexible you buy what you need, and if your needs change, the resources you commit to can change just as quickly. This brings us to the second major reason to switch to Cloud…
- Near-Instant Flexibility and Scalability
Are you running a big sales push for “Black Friday” and expecting 10,000 times your normal traffic? Not a problem. With Cloud you can dial in and scale up the resources you purchase to handle the extra traffic. When your sale is over and your traffic drops, you can reduce your resource commitment and your costs. No need to purchase expensive servers for which you are only going to use them for 1 – 2 months a year (or less).
- Faster Time to Market for New Applications
Developers love Cloud because they can spin up a new server for every little project they are working on, no longer needing go to the IT Department to beg for resources and wait for them to be deployed, thereby greatly reducing their development cycles. Cloud also allows for snapshotting of the entire server, so you have a place to go back to quickly, or the ability to mass-deploy that finished application on the fly.
- Full Server Hardware Redundancy
Let’s face it, accidents happen. Even in the best-planned and executed datacenter environment, there will be downtime due to hardware failures such as hard drives dying, motherboards failing, and network switches dropping connectivity. With a properly designed Cloud like ours, these problems are minimized by making sure there is always more than one secure copy of your data, and there is always Failover Infrastructure hardware standing by to reboot your Cloud Server in the event of a hardware failure.