Cloud servers are virtualized servers on which resources can be scaled up or scaled down accordingly, making it more flexible and, therefore, more cost-effective. When there is more demand for the files in the server, capacity can be automatically increased to match that demand. This is akin to a heating bill; you access what you need, when you need it, and then only pay for what you’ve used afterwards.
Unlike dedicated servers, cloud servers can be run on a hypervisor. The role of a hypervisor is to control the capacity of operating systems so it is allocated where needed. With cloud hosting there are multiple cloud servers which are available to each particular client. This allows computing resource to be dedicated to a particular client if and when it is necessary. Where there is a spike in traffic, additional capacity will be temporarily accessed by a website, for example, until it is no longer required. Cloud servers also offer more redundancy. If one server fails, others will take its place.
Below are the key benefits of cloud servers:
• Flexibility and scalability; extra resource can be accessed as and when required
• Cost-effectiveness; whilst being available when needed, clients only pay for what they are using at a particular time
• Ease of set up; Cloud servers do not require much initial setup
• Reliability; due to the number of available servers, if there are problems with some, the resource will be shifted so that clients are unaffected.
First of all, let’s look at the main workloads/services that companies are moving to the cloud, according to Wired.
• Email – There was a time when a company would have to dedicate their own hardware and server space to handle their email. Now, it is considered a best practice to host email on the cloud.
• File Backups – The cloud allows you to store your data in a remote location, protecting it from the potential threats and disasters that could happen to it on site. It is possible to schedule automatic updates so individual employees don’t have to remember on their own.
• Ecommerce Web Hosting – Retail sites rely on their ability to reach customers 24/7. Any downtime can be extremely detrimental. The best cloud hosting providers should be able to offer 99% uptime – which means their own infrastructure is sound and they can quickly add resources to deal with any unexpected spikes in traffic.
• Databases – The information stored in a cloud database is accessible from any location. This adds convenience and creates an opportunity for more collaboration between remote employees.
• Storage and Sharing – Store your digital assets where they can easily be shared with specific people. This is an easier option than emailing overly large files, and it can also be scaled to meet your space requirements.
These are the 4 big players in the IAAS cloud computing space these days:
– Amazon – AWS
– Microsoft – Azure
– Google – Cloud Platform
– RackSpace – OpenStack