For many, the cloud is a place where private documents, music, pictures, or videos can be stored and exchanged online. Understanding the different technological aspects of these services, however, proves to be a cloudy venture for many. Did you know, for example, that, in addition to many other things, online stores and websites can also be hosted in the cloud?
It is becoming increasingly common for medium-sized businesses to rent IT resources from professional hosting services, rather than buy them outright and having to supply their own specialists for maintenance. Some enterprises have even gone one step further and decided to use the processing power and storage capacity of an external hosting service, the two most prevalent forms of which are dedicated hosting and virtual private servers. For a monthly fee, customers can hire specialized web hosting IT resources in various packages, which include features such as web space, RAM, and CPU performance. The only difference between the two hosting services is the exclusivity of the available hardware components; with virtual hosting, several users share the resources of one high-performing server. Using a dedicated server, on the other hand, the entire server and all its hardware components are available to a single customer. This offers unrestricted performance, extensive configuration options, and maximum security. Due to these merits, the dedicated server was considered to be the ideal web hosting model for businesses for a long time.
But of course, not every company is seeking to carry out their online projects with predictable resource requirements. A dedicated hosting service won’t always satisfy the demands of contemporary IT, which requires fast and uncomplicated reactions to the user’s commands. A flexible cloud hosting service is therefore a great alternative. This relatively new form of web hosting, which combines a cluster of several connected servers, offers a wide range of IT resources and a clear advantage over classic web hosting models. Still not convinced? The following four points will persuade you to make the switch to cloud hosting.
1. Cost reduction
Of course, the biggest advantage of a flexible cloud hosting service is the immense reduction in costs. Rather than wasting valuable resources on purchasing their own IT infrastructure, cloud computing allows users to save money and focus their attention on new projects. With its pay-as-you-go structure, cloud users are provided with a refreshing change to traditional web hosting models, which demand substantial fees even if the server is barely used. The cost of maintenance, repair, and inventory of the IT infrastructure is also significantly lower with a cloud service provider, as the bulk of the necessary hardware is already provided. It is therefore possible for smaller enterprises using cloud hosting to have access to IT resources that had previously only been available to big businesses. The cloud’s emergence as a big player for IT-intensive businesses can thus be credited in part to the recent start-up boom.
2. Flexibility and scalability
Through virtualization, cloud hosting offers the flexibility needed to adapt IT resources promptly to a business’s demands. This is of particular importance to web projects with fluctuating traffic. For example, seasonal business can increase a web store’s traffic tenfold, which can improve a cloud server’s performance characteristics such as RAM, SPU or web space in just a few clicks. It is important to note, however, that projects with a growing user base can also benefit from a cloud-hosting model. Migrating to a new server is inevitable for projects exceeding the peak power of their respective dedicated servers. With cloud servers, on the other hand, an extensive range of additional resources can be added any time. This enables virtualization based on a network of closely linked server clusters. User data is shared on several servers, rather than being located on one physical machine. With fewer requirements, the added capacities can be reduced straight away and idle capacity charges can therefore be avoided.
3. Reduced development cycles
The cloud’s flexibility is particularly advantageous for start-ups and development departments of bigger companies. Pilot projects are able to maintain manageable investment costs, as the required resources are readily available. Furthermore, new applications can be tested and marketed substantially faster. Instead of assigning the time-consuming and costly purchase of new hardware to an IT team, cloud hosting offers developers the opportunity to generate any number of test servers with individually scalable performance characteristics in the virtual environment. This also allows cloud hosting to benefit from a redundant web server architecture of backups. This means that all the development stages are retrievable. Due to everything operating in the form of a reduced development cycle, cloud users do not only have an advantage against competitors, they significantly cut down on operating costs.
4. Data security and availability
Since the resources of a cloud server are available from a number of physical machines, cloud hosting users profit from an extensive server redundancy. This ensures that with each save, more than one backup copy of the user data is saved to the server in the datacenter. Potential outages of hardware components such as hard drive crashes affect neither the data security nor the availability of the provided resources. Outsourcing IT services offers medium-sized businesses the additional advantage of being able to convert technical processes and security procedures internally at their own leisure. Due to the legal requirements for provision of hardware resources, web hosting service providers are constantly working to safeguard their data security in accordance with national and international legislation.
Cloud hosting’s environmental benefits
Cloud hosting not only offers businesses immense advantages; the environment also profits from sharing individual components of the IT infrastructure. Data centers that are designed for cloud servers have far more effective processes for power supply, ventilation, and fire safety, than those available in internal servers. Furthermore, numerous hosting providers use climate-neutral electricity and renewable energy for the maintenance of their data centers.