What is Cloud Hosting and how does it work?
If you have ever looked into hosting a website or app you will no-doubt have come across the term cloud hosting. Despite the popularity of the term you may not be familiar with exactly what is different about hosting your website on a cloud-server.
Traditionally a website would have been hosted on a server in a datacentre. Whether it was a server that was shared between numerous accounts, or a single machine dedicated to nothing but hosting your site the overall principle is the same. Cloud hosting however is a little different.
Instead of having all of your data on a single machine, cloud hosting spreads the data across a number of different machines, different servers in different places that are all connected together. You manage your data through a “virtual machine” that accesses all the different servers across the “cloud”. The hosting server only exists in a virtual environment – hence the name “cloud”.
Public cloud vs Private cloud
When your hosting account was using a single server, you had the choice of either sharing the machine you used with other accounts – a shared server, or running an individual machine specifically for your site – dedicated server.
With cloud hosting you have a similar choice to make.
You can either have a public cloud – the cloud hosting equivalent of a shared server – where the collection of networked machines hold the data for several sites. The hardware is shared between a number of other virtualised accounts, and so the cost of the resource is shared.
Or if public cloud is not what you are looking for it is possible to create a private cloud hosting set-up that does not share its infrastructure with any other accounts or sites. This obviously comes with a higher cost, but offers greater security and control.
Server resources are ringfenced within private clouds meaning that there is no possibility of having to share hardware, and the entire virtualised resource sits behind your own firewall.
Cloud vs Single server
So why has the hosting world moved away from dedicated server hosting to cloud technology? It is clearly a more complex and therefore more expensive system to set up, so there must be some major benefits right?
Well yes, now you come to mention it there are some pretty fabulous benefits to using cloud technology instead of a traditional dedicated server:
If your website exists only on one machine in a datacentre somewhere, and that machine goes offline then your site vanishes. If your site is shared between an array of interconnected machines that are all storing the same information and one of them goes offline then the slack is picked up by the others and the site remains online.
If you have any doubts about how much of impact downtime can have on your site – and by default your business itself then take a look here.
Because of the underlying infrastructure of your cloud hosting set-up there will be far more in the way of system resources than you ever need to use. Even once these have been shared between all the different accounts on your public cloud set up there will be a vast amount of processing power sitting in reserve for this very purpose. Cloud hosting resources can be scaled easily, whether it is a quick phone call to your hosting company when you know you are expecting extra traffic, through to setting up the account to automatically increase in size based on real time requirements days like Cyber Monday should not be a concern.
Unlike on dedicated server set-ups where sudden increases in visitors can lead to the whole site going down, with cloud hosting your account can be responsive to demand, and you only pay for what you use.
Cloud hosting is also incredibly versatile. More so now than ever before hosting can be individualised to the specific needs of the customer – you. You don’t have to pick a package from a list, none of which quite fit your requirements. You can have exactly the space, architecture, processing power, OS, and security you need with a cloud set-up.
As if you need any more reasons to get on board the cloud server bandwagon then you should also bear in mind that should you choose to manage your own server you can do so from your smartphone. Most cloud server hosting accounts can be managed directly from your mobile instead of having to gain access to the actual data centre itself.
Hyperscale Cloud Hosting
So far we’ve looked at all the reasons cloud hosting is superior to traditional hosting, but that fails to take into consideration some of the biggest and most compelling reasons to use cloud hosting.
Their infrastructure is on such a huge scale that they tend to be referred to as Hyperscale cloud rather than just cloud. And all three of these platforms can offer so much more than just secure, scalable, global hosting.
Take Amazon’s Polly, turning text into lifelike speech, or Rekognition, their facial recognition and analysis service.
Take Microsoft Azure’s Machine Learning Studio, or their Cognitive Services – creating intelligent algorithms to improve automated communication.
Take Google’s Big Query, and Datalab – providing truly global levels of data analysis and insights to inform your digital presence.
All three of the big players are constantly innovating and transforming what is possible with the cloud, and making that available to you, the customer. These cloud platforms are not about a commodity service, where the hyperscale providers are in a race to the bottom on price. There is a race, but it’s very much one of features and technology. Whether the future of your business is in artificial intelligence, machine learning, realistic machine based communication, or simply data analysis there is a cloud service out there that can revolutionise your business.
Managed Cloud Hosting
However as these cloud platforms become more and more innovative, as AI and machine learning develop to even higher levels of efficiency, many companies are left wondering where to begin. What used to be a discussion between a digital agency and their client about where to host a website or application is often now a company-wide digital transformation project involving many specialist partners.
This is why the hyperscale cloud providers are using a series of Managed Service Providers (MSPs) –expert and service-led infrastructure companies who focus entirely on designing and delivering bespoke hosting solutions on hyperscale cloud platforms that fit the individual needs of their clients – companies like Wirehive. A MSP can work with you all the way through your journey to the cloud. From understanding the business challenge you need to solve with technology, selecting the right hyperscale cloud to use in your organisation and also architecting, deploying and managing the set up they recommend.
At Wirehive we not only offer this on our own fully managed public cloud, but we also act as a partner to provide consultancy, design and in-life management on all three of the hyperscale clouds.
If you’d like to know how to take your business to the next level get in touch.