The concept of cloud hosting has become extremely popular in recent years, offering flexible solutions for businesses of all sizes and varieties. In particular, it can be beneficial to organisations looking to minimise up-front IT infrastructure costs, and it can also deliver reliability advantages, making it ideal for IT disaster recovery services.
Nevertheless, while most people are now broadly aware of cloud hosting and perhaps even familiar with some of the arguments in favour of it, many are unaware of the specifics. Here, we take a more in-depth look at cloud hosting, explain what it is and how it works, and outline some of the reasons cloud hosting providers can be useful.
The Cloud Explained
On a basic level, cloud hosting is the provision of on-demand storage resources over the internet. A cloud service provider is responsible for maintaining a network of inter-connected servers, usually in different locations. Data stored on the cloud is then spread across these machines, as opposed to everything being stored in a single central location.
Cloud hosting is further divided into public and private clouds. With a public cloud, as an article for Microsoft Azure explains, hardware and infrastructure is technically shared with other organisations. With a private cloud, resources are used exclusively by your business and the cloud infrastructure is maintained over a private network.
Why Cloud Hosting is Useful?
It is one thing to understand what cloud computing is and how it works as a hosting model, but it is also important to grasp why it can be useful. In truth, there are many benefits connected to cloud hosting, but there are four main advantages that are relevant to businesses and are applicable in most cases.
Modern businesses need 24/7 access to data and computer systems, and cloud hosting services can offer excellent reliability to help facilitate this. This is primarily possible because the hosting itself is shared across an inter-connected network of servers, and there is no single point of failure or vulnerability.
Crucially, this means if one server goes down, the other connected servers can take on the workload. This reliability makes cloud hosting a solid option for many SMEs seeking IT disaster recovery services. Using such a service, businesses can back up valuable data off-site and use it to restore systems remotely.
In addition to these reliability advantages, there are instances where cloud hosting can offer cost-related benefits over traditional hosting methods too. For instance, an article written for Amazon Web Services highlights the lack of up-front costs associated with cloud computing, such as investment in IT hardware, or infrastructure management.
Storage management costs can also be reduced, because a lower amount of physical storage hardware is required. Furthermore, many cloud hosting providers offer pay-as-you-go pricing models, meaning you only pay for the resources you actually need and use. Ultimately, this can make it a more cost-effective option for many businesses.
Another major advantage of cloud hosting is its scalability, since good cloud hosting providers will always have plenty of space and processing power kept in reserve. This then allows you to easily increase the bandwidth or storage space needed at any given time, even if you are only expecting short-term fluctuations in requirements, such as dealing with increased website traffic during the Christmas period, or coping with demand during a sale.
“You can always make changes to your requirements, which is the real beauty of cloud hosting concept,” says Om Thoke, writing for Lifewire. “You can add up other servers in the network to tackle downtime, or to expand your existing bandwidth/storage space without affecting the existing set-up.”
4. Hybrid Solutions
Finally, cloud hosting can also offer excellent flexibility through a hybrid model, which combines both on-site and off-site storage, with connectivity between the two. This can be especially beneficial for companies that may have concerns about the lack of control over IT infrastructure, or for those with the most advanced security needs.
Through a hybrid model, businesses can still benefit from many of the other plus points associated with cloud hosting, but can have a much greater level of control over the private, on-site element. The most critical or sensitive data can also be managed on-site, if preferred, avoiding some of the security concerns linked with public clouds.
The Last Word
Although cloud hosting has technically been around for a while, it has exploded in popularity in recent years. Despite this growth, however, many people remain unsure about what it is and why it is useful. The simple definition of cloud hosting is the provision of hosting services, on-demand, via the internet, spread over multiple servers.
Mitesh founded Fifosys, a managed IT services provider in London, in 2001 following completion of a master’s in computer science. He has a reputation for straight talking, delivering focused and effective directives to his clients. Mitesh has an in-depth understanding of both operational and transformational IT projects, and leads the business strategy at Fifosys. He also acts as a mentor, guiding junior aspirants commencing their business career.