Cloud hosting has continued its march to be a disruptive change to the hosting marketplace. As customers become less interested (or realizing there are other options) in managing and replacing or upgrading hardware year after year the idea of hosting in the cloud becomes increasingly attractive. Couple this with huge improvements in reliability, support, flexibility, scalability and much more; the Cloud is rapidly becoming the new choice of those looking for solid hosting.
Advantage #1 – Uptime Reliability
The disadvantage in the past was that Cloud was only being offered in beta by some companies such as Amazon, therefore reliability and service delivery were sketchy at best, not to mention technology has come a long way since the early cloud was being offered by those still experimenting with Cloud offerings.
That was then. Now the advantages are greater than ever that a reputable Cloud host, such as Superb Internet and others, will provide you with better reliability than you would have in either a “server in your office” scenario or a simple dedicated server solution within a data center. The reality is that Cloud solutions are comprised of all the same hardware as in traditional dedicated server hosting with the additional benefit of virtualization and high availability; making hardware issues practically invisible to the end users and providing the peace of mind that your Virtual Machine (VM) is always accessible.
Advantage #2 – Cost
One of the benefits of Cloud hosting that is right at the top of everyone’s list is cost. In flex or elastic cloud hosting there are opportunities to pay only for what you actually use, billing when you have resource use and when you don’t billing stops; literally you can be paying as low as a few pennies per hour.
In other Cloud hosting scenarios you’ll find dedicated server replacement plans that will give you the same processing power and space as a traditional dedicated server often at a price that is often lower for the same or higher level of performance.
Advantage #3 – Scalability
Perhaps the most attractive feature for large high traffic or quickly growing sites is Cloud hosting’s scalability. Not only are you able to quickly add resources to accommodate spikes in traffic but also add disk space without the need for shutting down a server causing site downtime and unhappy visitors. In Cloud offerings that are flex or elastic in nature this scalability is dynamic and handled automatically based on the need of resources required at any given time.
Advantage #4 – Zero Hardware Maintenance
Adding hardware to upgrade or replacing servers to have the latest model is a thing of the past. End users have options to add processing power, RAM and disk space through plan offerings or flexible plan types with little or no downtime or wonder of what to do with the “old hardware.” While it is in fact the same hardware at the most basic level of cloud, the customer does not actually ever deal directly with those resources and all the maintenance is handled discreetly by the service provider without any interruption or noticeable change in quality of service.
Advantage #5 – Full Administration
Cloud hosting users are able to take advantage of truly full admin of their virtual machines. Everything from DNS to IP address as well as the actual VMs themselves including the installed OS is at the total control of the end user. For most of the advanced Cloud offerings out there templates for operating systems are employed for quick creation of new VMs as well as reinstallation of the existing OS or changing to a different one using just a few clicks of the mouse. There is no need to submit a ticket to ask for data center technicians to install a new OS, shut down or restart your VM – that’s all handled via your control panel and you can perform these task anytime you’d like.
Advantage #6 – Flexibility
As mentioned in Advantage #3 – Scalability, one of the most popular types of Cloud hosting is flex or elastic cloud. Different than any other type of traditional hosting plan, flex cloud offers the ultimate in flexibility by billing only for what’s actually used and having billing frequency as low as one hour. Need power but don’t need it for more than a few hours or maybe a couple days? Use what you need when you need it and only pay for it when you do use it.
Advantage #7 – Automatic Failover
While there have been virtualized servers around for years the main differentiating factor between these older hosting options and newer Cloud options is automatic failover made available in the virtualization structure of many of the top Cloud offerings. Put in its simplest terms, automatic failover provides an almost unperceivable restarting of a Cloud VM with an issue whereby the operation continues without notice by end users. The continual running of a backup instance assures that should the main VM be compromised or experience any type of failure, a backup of the VM is called and operations continue uninterrupted.
Advantage #8 – Performance
As the bar continues to be raised regarding features and pricing the one factor that never leaves the mind of the hosting customer is performance. Technological advancements made affordable through new networking infrastructure like InfiniBand (up to 40x faster than traditional data center Ethernet networks) and disks able to transfer data at 6Gbps utilizing solid state drives further pushes the envelope of what’s possible with the latest in virtualized technology. With the exception of the speed of someone’s connection to the Internet often the latency between front-end and back-end servers causes lag that slows the user experience.
Advantage #9 – Setup Time
Virtualized servers in a Cloud environment can be set up much faster than traditional dedicated servers. Setup times are reduced to minutes and seconds from what could have been hours due to the resources being dynamically assigned and requiring no physical labor on the part of data center staff to build and configure servers then to install software. In instances where the need for spinning up multiple servers in a short time is required, Cloud hosting has dedicated servers beat hands down – multiple Cloud VMs can be provisioned all at the same time.
Cloud hosting continues to show improvements in the maturity of the technology, available features and benefits over traditional server based hosting. Customers are benefitting from doing away with hardware and license management and focusing on running their applications and tending to their business. With the specter of hardware failure being something that is all but transparent to the end user, Cloud’s automatic failover and high availability assure that performance in the cloud is better than any single dedicated server solution could ever be.