As the popularity of the cloud increases in the IT industry some companies offering server hosting are moving in on the term in an effort to appear relevant. However the services sometimes offered by such companies are arguably not true cloud computing. In understanding the benefits of the cloud we can better identify whether a cloud service is appropriate for your infrastructure.
So why are companies moving to the cloud? Firstly the scalability of the cloud offers a way to ensure IT resources are suitably efficient. It is suggested that some IT server networks only run 15% to 25% of capacity at most meaning that money is essentially wasted on unused capacity. This is understandable for traditional servers for two reasons: 1) due to the hardware requirements it is often time consuming to upgrade traditional servers and 2) to compensate for any computational drain on the server due to extraneous issues.
The benefit with true cloud systems is the ability to instantly influence the state of the server due to a virtualized environment. For example, an upgrade to more storage or computing power could take literally seconds and the creation of an entirely new server could take minutes. For a traditional hardware solution this would take weeks of preparation and time to order the relevant components. However, more importantly is the ability to scale server requirements. For example if the server requires only a short burst of additional processing power this can be achieved through a quick change in the server setup. This means that accommodating the resource to the requirements is extremely easy with a cloud solution.
It is this cost saving and efficiency measures that make the cloud so attractive to businesses when thinking of IT. And whilst many businesses have embraced the idea of the cloud and have already taken advantage of its flexibility there are also examples of businesses being stung by fake cloud suppliers. What is a fake cloud supplier? As previously mentioned some hosting companies have rebranded their product to resemble that of a cloud based offering. Here in lies the problem. If cloud servers are virtualized infrastructure provided remotely, then surely the term cloud also applies to VPS (virtual private servers) – a fairly widespread legacy virtualized hosting service.
So what truly differentiates a standard VPS from cloud based servers? A true cloud host is entirely flexible and can work flawlessly from a PAYG model. That means that your resources can be scaled instantly at a cost that suits your budget. Often traditional VPS systems are sold in a resource blocks and with monthly or annual contracts – much like a dedicated server. This means you pay for virtualised resource that you do not use or suffer from an inefficient server.
So how can businesses looking to move to a cloud environment avoid the pitfalls of fake cloud solutions? When enquiring a server company about their product always question the flexibility of the solution. For example can you automate the scaling of the server? Can you do manual self service of the resources? Is there a PAYG pricing? Is there an ongoing retainer or minimum contract? If the provider answers these questions in a limiting or negative way then you should realise pretty quickly the true extent of their “cloud” solution.
ElasticHosts’ cloud hosting incorporates the flexibility of the cloud with a cost efficient PAYG model. Find out more about cloud hosting & cloud computing infrastructures at www.elastichosts.com.