Cloud Computing, what is that?
Basically, it is taking the computing resources from many different computers and treating them as one. There could be thousands of individual computers working together in a cloud computing environment. They create the base for virtual machines which can vary from just one to many being run through these computers.
What does the cloud mean? Are there different kinds?
The Cloud is a manufactured word that can be misleading. Cloud computing is a method used to deal with copious amounts of resources, so it’s incorrect to say “The Cloud” because there isn’t one solid place where cloud computing takes place. In fact, there are many companies and individuals that engage in cloud computing in some form or another so there can be many clouds.
What do people usually mean when they say “the cloud”?
Usually, it refers to consuming spaces and resources that you don’t have direct access or responsibility for.
How does it work?
Well, if one company has a lot of servers, and another company rents them out and connects them to a cluster of computing resources with a single virtual machine running it, then a third company can come in as a host on top of the virtual machine by installing many virtual machines on top of it. The third company is now what you call a cloud- based host. The third company doesn’t exactly know where any of the hardware is that’s being used or what kind of hardware it is.
Does that make cloud-based services bad?
No. In fact, cloud hosting allows for different companies to work together and specialize in specific areas of maintaining the service. By delegating powers this way, a single company won’t be relied upon to maintain everything.
What are the benefits?
The main benefit is that cloud computing is scalable. Since the virtual machine is drawing resources from a plethora of different sources, if there is a sudden spike in activity, more resources can be drawn upon. If there is growth in many of the different sites being hosted, then more computers can be added to accommodate the expansion. Also, if one server goes down, it usually wouldn’t cause instant failure of the cloud.
What are the disadvantages?
The primary issue with cloud computing is security. Since the application users are so far removed from the actual hardware they use, it presents a real problem as far as security is concerned. Different companies can run different parts of the cloud operation, and there is no real way to check to see if the lower level service providers are abusing their direct access to the hardware. Also, the layers of abstraction can also reduce performance speed tremendously compared to applications run on straight hardware.
What is cloud hosting?
Cloud hosting means different things to different companies offering the service. However, it typically involves the hosting company pooling resources from servers that may or may not be theirs’, then running virtual machines on top of those resources. If you get your own VPS account, it means that you may have access to one of the virtual machines, or to a machine on top of that one.
Is cloud hosting architecture being used in a lot of web hosting services?
Yes, in fact, most web hosts utilize cloud-hosting architecture. Some may offer the service under a different name. However, companies use them because of the scaling benefits and its reliability. Web hosts that advertise their cloud hosting capabilities more are trying to upsell these benefits. But, if you truly are interested in getting service from a cloud hosting company, it is always best to weigh out the pros and cons of each one and decide which one best fits your needs.