Got your web in the Cloud?

by / Tuesday, 30 April 2013 / Published in Blog
Cloud

Cloud computing is a bit of a buzzword at the moment. Simply put, the ‘cloud’ refers to a service delivered across multiple machines on the internet rather than just the one server. Long seen as a technology that will be dominant in the future, cloud computing is becoming more mainstream.

I recently had to get more hosting space for the websites I host on behalf of clients and I’ve decided to start using cloud hosting. So, what is cloud technology and why use it?

Cloud computing is essentially the ability to employ a number of computers to serve your computing needs, remotely without actually owning or running the software and hardware. This means that the hardware and software I am using to host websites are spread across a number of servers across the internet and not on one single machine.

There are a number of advantages to this approach. By using multiple computers for hosting, a website will be less at risk of downtime. If one individual machine breaks down, then the other servers simply take the weight while it gets repaired or replaced. Another big advantage is the ability to scale up easily. If a website starts becoming very popular, or is just expecting a busy few days because of some event, then it’s very easy to add extra capacity. There is no need to upgrade any individual server.

Large websites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube couldn’t work without cloud computing. For example, on YouTube millions of videos or are being watched at any one time, and far more power is needed to run the site than any one server could provide. By spreading the load across thousands of computers, users hardly experience any glitches in the service.

What are the disadvantages? Well, cost has been the biggest issue. It has traditionally cost more to use cloud computing. If a website has a lot of data, then using the cloud can really increase the price of hosting. Also, some initial glitches in the technology had led to issues with performance and reliability.

However, the technology has matured over the last few years. The performance of cloud hosting has been very impressive and the costs have been falling. Cloud computing for everyday websites has arrived.

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