Everything is going into cloud for various reasons. In web hosting industry, more and more providers announce to offer cloud hosting plans with their own advantages. The prices vary a lot from different groups and make it hard to choose from. After reviewed 10+ reputable cloud hosting services, we compiled a list of comprehensive understanding of the infrastructure and secrets about how to select the best cloud hosting plan.
The term cloud computing is actually a type of concept with different definition by different service providers. The general idea of the service means the ability to run a program on many connected computers at the same time. When you choose a cloud service, you must understand the following terms first.
- Network as a service(NaaS). It's the capability to use cloud network connectivity by optimized routes. Cloud servers are deployed into multiple datacenters via central resource allocation so you can get almost 100% network connectivity. The most popular Naas service is VPN. For NaaS, bandwidth is mostly concerned.
- Infrastructure as a service(IaaS). The most basic cloud computing model where it's available as VPS. All services like file-based storage, firewalls, load balancers, IP addresses, VLANs and software bundles can be provided on-demand. IaaS is also the base of private cloud.
- Platform as a service(Paas). This model simply means an operating system from cloud environment where OS and necessary engines are all pre-configured. Users don't have to purchase hardware and all server end configurations because everything is pre-setup, the server resource will auto scale to meet your application requirements.
- Software as a service(Saas). The best cloud computing model. With SaaS cloud, each service will be powered by different cloud engines to make sure the best performance and reliability. SaaS will greatly reduce the cost comparing to traditional server service. Providers only need a single installation in the cloud so users don't have to purchase server hardware and software license but just renting fees needed. Till present, we can purchase almost all web services like office, ERP such desktop applications.
Softwares for Cloud Computing Setup/management
It's a big investment for cloud environment setup based the high requirements for servers and networking. The management system for cloud computing must be pretty reliable and powerful enough or else a single failure will affect tons of users. The most popular cloud computing platforms today are mainly supported by Vmware and Openstack.
VMware cloud computing solution is offered by it's software-defined data center (SDDC) service. With this service you can centrally pooling and automating all data center resources and build your cloud environment fastly. Logically, it's reducing application provisioning time from months to minutes. The software introduced very powerful GUI and security protection. You can monitor/analyze usage stats lively and apply instant changes to the system. The sole purpose of Vmware is to offer enterprise cloud solutions and reduce your cost at the most. More about vmware cloud can be found on this SDDC page.
Unlike the commercial use of vmware, OpenStack(www.openstack.org) is completely open sourced project which is led by rackspace group. The project is supported by more than 10000 global developers from 125 countries. The improvement is almost applied on daily basis. The mission of OpenStack is to enable any organization to create and offer cloud computing services running on standard hardware. It's being used by small to large cloud computing groups with a big global support community behind.
No matter which cloud platform you use, you still have to fight with security every day. Since everything is centrally operated, a single virus affection might be shared by all users thus the end point protection is pretty essential to keep a healthy cloud system. Cloud providers will have to introduce various security solutions to protect the datas.
Types of Cloud Computing
There're two types clouds – Private cloud and Public cloud. Private clouds are used for internal access purpose by big groups who have high requirements to internet data and want to reduce the costs. Private cloud is setup through VLAN where internet access is not enabled. Just the same concept to create multiple VPS servers on host server and disable the vps internet access but you have full access to all services. In this way, you're 100% protected from any kind security issue in the cloud system.
Public cloud is just the oposite of private term. All your datas can be accessed publicly in the network. The main difference comparing to private cloud is the level of security protection. In order to protect your data, direct connectivity to the infrastructure is not enabled for most public cloud providers, you must connect via internet.
Secrets of Cloud Hosting Service
Cloud hosting is offered by lots of hosting groups today. However not all of them are providing everything as advertised. The real cloud hosting is configured through multiple datacenter operation so the best connectivity and reliability can be guaranteed.
However, many traditional hosting providers are trying to show their abilities and over-advertise their services. They just setup multiple cluster servers via SAN storage then create virtual private servers from the system then call it clouds. There's no problem for small applications because you will never go beyond the resource limits. But if you're trying to host enterprise level services, you will run into problems in quick time. Before you decide a cloud hosting provider, you must learn their infrastructures as detail as possible such as cloud platform specs, network specs and datacenter locations etc and ask them to give you some test services to check with.
The true cloud hosting service is expensive because of the big investment from providers, they have to prepare enough resources to meet up with your on demand growth. Such services are only provided by IT giants like rackspace and Amazon. They're recognized the standards for cloud computing technologies and be able to affect the industry directly.
However, it doesn't mean you have to pay hundreds and thousands of dollars in order to use the service. There're also some decent cloud providers with very affordable hosting plans like VPS.NET(http://www.vps.net). The group setup more than 20 datacenters in each corner on the planet for their cloud system. Starts from $10/mo with instant setup and choice of windows/linux platform, your cloud server from vps.net simply means satisfication and success! More about vps.net can be found at this cloud vps hosting review article.