What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Hosting Applications On The Cloud

Cloud deployment structures diagram

WHAT IS CLOUD HOSTING?

Cloud hosting employs a virtual server to host websites. In comparison, traditional web hosting services usually house one or multiple sites on one physical server.

If you’re wondering whether cloud web hosting fits your needs better, this guide will help answer that question.

We’ll explore all the cloud hosting essentials – from how it works to what types of websites can benefit from it. Then, we’ll compare cloud hosting to other types of web hosting.

Cloud Hosting is a type of hosting that enables a website to use the resources of multiple servers, thus resulting in a faster performance.

If you’ve ever looked into hosting a website or app, you’ll have come across the term cloud hosting. 

HOW DOES CLOUD HOSTING WORK?

Instead of hosting your website or app on a single machine, the cloud allows you to spread your data across multiple, interconnected servers, located across a wide geographical area. These servers only exist in a virtual environment – hence the name cloud.

The fact that cloud hosting utilises the computing power of numerous machines means that not only do you have vastly more potential than you would through traditional hosting, you also have access to the services those machines offer. This is where things start to get interesting.

Public clouds

Public clouds are cloud environments typically created from IT infrastructure not owned by the end user. Some of the largest public cloud providers include Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.

Traditional public clouds always ran off-premises, but today’s public cloud providers have started offering cloud services on clients’ on-premise data centers. This has made location and ownership distinctions obsolete.

All clouds become public clouds when the environments are partitioned and redistributed to multiple tenants. Fee structures aren’t necessary characteristics of public clouds anymore, since some cloud providers (like the Massachussetts open cloud allow tenants to use their clouds for free. The bare-metal IT infrastructure used by public cloud providers can also be abstracted and sold as IaaS, or it can be developed into a cloud platform sold as PaaS.

Private clouds

Private clouds are loosely defined as cloud environments solely dedicated to a single end user or group, where the environment usually runs behind that user or group’s firewall. All clouds become private clouds when the underlying IT infrastructure is dedicated to a single customer with completely isolated access.

But private clouds no longer have to be sourced from on-prem IT infrastructure. Organizations are now building private clouds on rented, vendor-owned data centers located off-premises, which makes any location and ownership rules obsolete. This has also led to a number of private cloud subtypes, including:

Managed private clouds

Customers create and use a private cloud that’s deployed, configured, and managed by a third-party vendor. managed private cloud are a cloud delivery option that helps enterprises with understaffed or underskilled IT teams provide better private cloud services and infrastructure.

Dedicated clouds

A cloud within another cloud. You can have a dedicated cloud on a public cloud or on a private cloud. For example, an accounting department could have its own dedicated cloud within the organization’s private cloud.

Hybrid clouds

A hybrid cloud is a seemingly single IT environment created from multiple environments connected through local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), virtual private networks (VPNs), and/or APIs.

The characteristics of hybrid clouds are complex and the requirements can differ, depending on whom you ask. For example, a hybrid cloud may need to include:

  • At least 1 private cloud and at least 1 public cloud
  • 2 or more private clouds
  • 2 or more public clouds
  • A bare-metal or virtual environment connected to at least 1 public cloud or private cloud

But every IT system becomes a hybrid cloud when apps can move in and out of multiple separate—yet connected—environments. At least a few of those environments need to be sourced from consolidated IT resources that can scale on demand. And all those environments need to be managed as a single environment using an integrated management and orchestration platform.

Multiclouds

Multiclouds are a cloud approach made up of more than 1 cloud service, from more than 1 cloud vendor—public or private. All hybrid clouds are multiclouds, but not all multiclouds are hybrid clouds. Multiclouds become hybrid clouds when multiple clouds are connected by some form of iintegration or orchestration.

A multicloud environment might exist on purpose (to better control sensitive data or as redundant storage space for improved disaster recovery) or by accident (usually the result of shadow IT). Either way, having multiple clouds is becoming more common across enterprises that seek to improve security and performance through an expanded portfolio of environments.

Public cloud vs private cloud

When your hosting account was based around a single server, you had the choice of either sharing the machine with other accounts (a shared server) or running an individual machine specifically for your site (a dedicated server). With cloud hosting you have a similar choice to make.

One of your choices is the public cloud – the equivalent of a shared server where a collection of networked machines holds the data for several sites.

The hardware is shared between several virtualised accounts, and so the cost of the resource is shared. Unlike traditional shared hosting, however, the virtual server’s resources are ring-fenced. You don’t share disk space, processing power, or anything else with any other account – you simply share rack space in the data centres. In effect you get all the benefits of shared hosting, with none of the downsides.

If public cloud is not what you’re looking for, it’s possible to create a private cloud set-up that does not share its infrastructure with any other accounts or sites. This obviously comes with a higher cost, but offers greater security and control.

Server resources are ringfenced within private clouds, meaning that you don’t have to share hardware. The entire virtualised resource sits behind your own firewall.

The upsides to this are fairly clear to anyone who has ever considered data security important. Nevertheless, it does limit your ability to access some of the more innovative cloud services. We’ll come to those soon.

Advantages of Cloud Hosting

There are many advantages of using cloud hosting over shared, VPS, or Dedicated hosting.

1. Cost-Effective

One of the biggest reasons why businesses are switching to cloud hosting is because it is more cost-effective than the technology that runs on-premise. With traditional hosting, companies would have to spend money on disks or other storage devices and an IT team to look after these devices. But, with cloud hosting, you simply need to pay the vendor from which you are buying the resources. This saves resources, money, and time for the company. We can all agree on how important that is.

2. Easy to Implement

When hosting on the cloud, businesses get to hold on to the same business processes and applications without dealing with the backend features. Since it is managed via the Internet, cloud infrastructure is easily accessible for companies.

3. Scalability and Flexibility

A cloud server requires payment for only the used resources. A company does not always stay the same; it has the possibility to expand and shrink. Cloud hosting is also easily scalable which makes it easier for companies to add or remove resources according to their needs. The system grows with the company without extra burden on the company.

4. Backup and Disaster Recovery

With every company, there is a risk of data and even financial loss. It is necessary that a company have a disaster recovery program. With cloud hosting, disaster recovery is rarely needed since data backups are automatic. This redundancy in data storage makes the possibility of losing data highly unlikely.

5. Accessibility

With the Internet, it is so much easier to access data that is stored on web-based applications from anywhere. Having information that is stored in the cloud makes it much easier for that data to be accessed from anywhere and at any time regardless of the machine. This easy accessibility is one of the biggest advantages of cloud hosting.

Disadvantages of Cloud Hosting

1. Bandwidth Issue

Cloud hosting depends fully on the Internet. This means that a company needs to always have the Internet that it can rely on and is consistent. The Internet also has to have a fast connection and good bandwidth for the company to be able to take full benefit of the service. If you live in an area that does not have access to a good Internet connection, cloud hosting might turn out to be less fruitful for you.

2. Limited Control

The servers that host the cloud services are managed by the service providers. The providers are also the ones who own these servers. This makes it difficult for companies using these services to have the type of control that they want over their infrastructure.

3. Privacy

One of the biggest issues of Cloud hosting could be security issues that can arise if a person without some kind of technical knowledge is trying to use the service. You need technical assistance to benefit from the service. Another reason for security issues could arise from using a service that requires companies to share resources.

4. Vulnerable to Attacks

The biggest problem when using a web-based application or any kind of web-based service is that the Internet is filled with people who are looking to profit off of someone else’s loss. It is not unusual for a web-based service to get hacked or have a data breach.

When using a cloud hosting service, it is important to note that there are several other companies using the same service from the same vendor as you. This can result in information theft either via hackers or via a company that is in competition with your company. Even though security measures are applied in the cloud, the risk of attacks is something to consider before using this type of service.

5. Downtime

One of the biggest potential downsides to using a Cloud hosting service is downtime. The service providers, the vendors, can also face technical difficulties on their side. This could be power loss or faulty internet connections, maintenance of data centers causing them to go out of service for some time.

Just like with everything else, cloud hosting might not be the best option for every business. With the growing use of the Internet for almost everything, it is probably best to stay up to date with current technologies so that you are not left behind on progress. It is important to note that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of cloud hosting but it might not be a necessity for everyone.

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