What are Cloud Servers?
In some respects cloud servers work in the same way as physical servers but the functions they provide can be very different.
When opting for cloud hosting, clients are renting virtual server space rather than renting or purchasing physical servers. These are often paid for by the hour, depending on the capacity required at any particular time.
Traditional Servers vs. Cloud Servers
Traditionally, there are two main options for hosting; shared hosting and dedicated hosting.
- The cheaper option, as servers are shared between the hosting provider’s clients (e.g. one client’s website will be hosted on the same server as those of other clients)
- Suitable for small enterprises, where the required capacity is relatively low
- Setup is inflexible and cannot cope with a large amount of traffic
- A much more advanced form of hosting, whereby clients purchase whole physical servers
- The entire server is dedicated to one client, with no one else sharing it
- In some instances, a client may utilise multiple servers which are all dedicated to their use
- Allows for full control over hosting
- Capacity needs to be predicted, with enough resource and processing power to cope with expected traffic levels. If this is underestimated it can lead to a lack of necessary resource during busy periods, while overestimating will mean paying for unnecessary capacity
- Clients get the best of both worlds: resource can be scaled up or scaled down accordingly, making it more flexible and, therefore, more cost-effective
- When there is more demand placed on the servers, capacity can be automatically increased to match demand without needing to be paid for on a permanent basis
- Cloud servers can run on a hypervisor. The role of a hypervisor is to control the capacity of operating systems so it is allocated where needed
- There are multiple cloud servers which are available to each particular client. This allows computing resource to be dedicated to a client if and when it is necessary – additional capacity is temporarily accessed when required, and then removed when no longer needed
- Cloud servers offer more redundancy – if one server fails, others will take its place
Key benefits of Cloud Servers
Flexibility and scalability
Extra resource can be accessed as and when required. This is particularly valuable to customers who have spikes in required resource at certain times of the year, or those whose resource is difficult to predict
On-going costs can be kept down as, whilst resource is available when needed, clients only pay for what they are using at a particular time. When this resource is no longer required, it can be reduced immediately
Cloud servers are vastly more reliable than traditional servers. Due to the number of available servers, if there are problems with some, the resource will be shifted so that clients are unaffected
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Cloud Computing describes a scenario whereby computing resource is delivered as a service over a network connection, usually the internet
Cloud hosting services provide hosting on virtual servers which pull their computing resource from extensive underlying networks of physical web servers
A private cloud is a particular model of cloud computing that involves a distinct and secure cloud based environment in which only the specified client can operate
The most recognisable model of cloud computing to many consumers is the public cloud model, under which cloud services are provided in a virtualised environment
A hybrid cloud is an integrated cloud service utilising both private and public clouds to perform distinct functions within the same organisation
Cloud servers offer great benefits over the traditional options of shared or dedicated servers
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is one of the ‘layers’ in the Cloud Computing model, whereby hardware is provided by an external provider and managed for you
Platform as a Service, often simply referred to as PaaS, is a category of cloud computing that provides a platform and environment to allow developers to build applications and services over the internet
In today's digital world, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) generally refers to a new and alternative way of accessing software, as opposed to more traditional methods of access