Cloud hosting is a topic that is not easy to evaluate as a consumer. When you attempt to look into how to compare one cloud hosting provider to another, it’s challenging to determine what parameters you should be reviewing.
All in all, finding the right cloud hosting provider is about knowing the right questions to ask. A solid hosting company that specializes in the cloud will not hesitate to provide you with the answers. The cloud, like any vague business concept, can be a dangerous terrain to explore without a reasonable amount of knowledge. With a firm understanding of how the cloud operates, though, you can find the correct solution for your company.
What is “the cloud” or “cloud hosting”?
As its name suggests, the cloud is a virtual concept. Any form of cloud computing with a cloud server involves removing physical objects – on the server side – from the computing equation. Rather than relying on one server that is delivering data, or even a traditional cluster of servers responsible for the same task, the cloud is a digital framework that disperses the storage and transmission of data across a broad set of machines.
In the data center of a cloud hosting provider, a pool of servers, rather than one server (dedicated) or a part of a server (shared), is responsible for both storage and processing, performing – in the latter role – as the central processing unit (CPU) does in a single computer. All of the website’s files are stored in a number of different hard drives. A large cluster of servers allows cloud computing to have much higher limits; limits still exist but become irrelevant in most cases. The basic underpinnings of cloud hosting, for that reason, allow for incredible scalability.
Cloud & Internet similarities
The cloud is not the Internet, but it certainly takes a page from its playbook. You can think of the Internet as one massive cloud and a cloud hosting provider as a small chunk of that ecosystem. The difference between the public and private cloud follow a similar line of thinking.
The Internet is public for the most part, but you run into private situations. The same is true in everyday life. You have to pay to go in certain doors before entry and have codes to access gated communities. That is true on some websites as well. Public and private versions of the cloud are modeled in the same general way, with private clouds chosen by those who need higher security and customization features.
Specific Elements of a Cloud Hosting Provider
Here are several aspects of a cloud hosting situation to better understand how it works:
- Dynamic IT structure – The structure of a cloud is dynamic, or highly flexible. It is built in a fluid way that optimizes access to resources. Previously, relationships within a network were much more rigid. Accessing a plethora of virtual machines, a cloud hosting provider is able to put specific physical hardware into use without being confined to the individual limitations of each device.
- Specificity – Cloud computing also is built around delivering a specific application or site to users in the best possible manner. Previous models of computing were centered on services or systems in a broad sense. A cloud hosting provider, on the other hand, uses an infrastructure that optimizes the connection possibilities between one site or app and its audience.
- Freedom of management – Control within a cloud hosting environment is versatile. It’s easy to spread out responsibilities and to automate whatever tasks can be left relatively unattended. Automated features minimize the labor needs for the administration of the website environment.
- Pay to play – Anytime you take out a cell phone contract, it can be confusing to figure out parameters, such as the size of data plan you need. With a cloud hosting provider, you just pay for what you use. In this sense, cloud hosting is a return to a traditional model, much like per-minute billing of home landlines.
- Built to scale – A cloud hosting provider has an architecture that is optimized for scale. When your business grows, you don’t need to add servers. You simply click a button in your admin panel. It’s also possible to understand your resource needs within one system and calculate over the time span you choose.
- Resource aggregation – The resources of a cloud hosting provider, at least as far as its public cloud goes, are a single unit accessible to its entire community. Resources are interchangeable so that when one site hits peak load, it doesn’t drop offline; the same goes for all the other sites as well.
The cloud may be a bit obtuse, but it is changing the landscape of the Internet, and Atlantic.Net is on the front lines of this growing industry of cloud hosting solutions. We also offer HIPAA compliant hosting solutions.
By Kent Roberts