Cloud hosting is an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering that makes applications and websites accessible using cloud resources.
From an IT perspective, the flexibility of rapid solution deployment for an evolving business need is critical to both the client and the service provider. In an established environment with a long history of IT implementations, it is not easy to deploy a new solution within weeks without significantly affecting existing infrastructure or available funding. Cloud hosting provides the options and advantages of quicker solution deployment and lower cost of implementation and operations.
Unlike traditional hosting, cloud hosting is not deployed on a single server. Instead, a network of connected virtual and physical cloud servers hosts the application or website, ensuring greater flexibility and scalability.
Most cloud hosting services are provided through an easy-to-use, web-based user interface for software, hardware and service requests, which are instantaneously delivered. Even the software and hardware updates can happen automatically.
In both in-house and cloud hosting approaches, the non-functional requirements of scalability, reliability and high availability remain the same, but cloud hosting provides a much broader pool of IT resources to deliver the scalability, reliability and availability with a higher degree of confidence.
These requirements can also be automatically tuned to an organization's solution requirements. This is known as application-aware service provisioning, which is implemented through software-defined environments (SDE). SDE automatically and dynamically provisions the compute, network and storage resources to application needs. This helps with maximizing efficiencies and optimizing services.
Traditional hosting services offer limited bandwidth. Cloud hosting scales to accommodate traffic spikes or seasonal demands.
Users pay only for the resources they use by the month or hour. This setup differs from the flat rates of traditional hosting.
Hardware failures do not cause downtime because sites and applications are hosted on a network of servers. Traffic travels across separate network interfaces, where it is segregated and secured.
Today, many organizations prefer cloud hosting over the traditional deployment of their applications. Cloud hosting systems have evolved to provide simplified and centralized IT services and management capabilities. Considerations that organizations may explore before investing in cloud hosting include:
Security: Will cloud hosting provide physical/operational, network and system, and application and data security options?
Sensitive data: Enterprises that work with sensitive data may consider separating data at the hardware level, using dedicated servers or other options.
Support: Cloud hosting providers often offer tools, and some offer specialist services to help manage the cloud-hosted environment.
Performance: Latency can sometimes be an issue. Organizations should ensure that they have reliable, high-bandwidth Internet connections.
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