Hosting Applications in the Cloud
In this moment in time, cloud computing represents a substantial change in the way we will move our information around in the future. Of course, while change is good, it’s not always easy. Some remain unconvinced of the benefits that cloud hosting offers and undecided on whether it’s worth the investment.
Every day that passes seems to spawn a new cloud provider. There are also so many different variations of the cloud available with pricing structures to match that it’s hard to tell which is the best for specific needs. Those needs may be met by a number of solutions, but the rhetoric for the cloud has shifted from “if” to “when”. We are headed in a direction where not having some form of cloud storage will be similar to cranking your generator to power a business.
In addition to being the way of the future, there are some very real benefits to adopting the cloud structure in your business and personal life as well Hosting Applications in the Cloud
A Sliding Scale
For many businesses, scalability is the most important thing that comes from adopting a cloud system. It makes the cloud a more movable, dynamic option when compared to standard servers. Say you launch a website that doesn’t attract much traffic in the first few months. Then, by some bizarre twist of fate, it’s featured on Oprah’s Next Chapter and millions of people are trying to check into your domain. A standard server would buckle under the weight of that traffic, crash and prevent anyone from accessing the site.
The cloud can scale resources and allot as much computing power to your site in times of need and scale back down if people stop caring and you return to six site views a day.
You can buy a personal cloud server or you can pay a monthly/yearly fee to a provider to manage your cloud server. One problem with the former (and with buying you own servers in general) is that a lot of people buy space that is far above what they need and never use it. Some estimates place server use capacity at around 30 percent, which means they pay and continue to pay for space that goes unused.
The way shared clouds work is that multiple clients use up server space so that each server runs at a higher capacity – closer to 80 percent. This has a few benefits:
The cost of using a server is greatly reduced by only paying for what is used and not what goes untouched.
In lieu of multiple servers storing less than half their capacity of data but still burning off energy, the cloud uses energy more efficiently and thereby reduces the cost of paying for that energy.
Less energy means a smaller carbon footprint, so it’s often argued that the cloud is more environmentally sound.
Owning a server means operating a server. More often than not, operating a server means paying someone to keep an eye on it. If the server goes down, that person will need to be summoned from wherever they are to fix it. It can be a nightmare, especially for small businesses. The cloud essentially offloads that onto a provider whose job it is to worry about it. Be warned: some providers are better than others. Check into customer service records if this is an option you’re considering.
If you have an existing IT department that spends its time with menial tasks related to server maintenance, the cloud frees them up to focus on the business and not 404 errors.
Every business needs to decide what’s best for it, especially in times of financial hardship, but as far as we can tell, the cloud is cemented in our future. The sooner you can update, the better off you’ll be in the coming years as the transition to the cloud wraps up.