Cloud hosting is a relatively new type of web hosting service that enables users to rent or purchase virtual dedicated servers (VDS) on the Internet. Cloud hosting services use the Internet as a “virtual platform,” where websites can be hosted. In other words, rather than buying a server and all of its software and hardware, the customer can simply purchase a subscription for a pre-configured and pre-clocked server on the Internet. The customer then accesses this server via the Internet and has full access to its resources, including CPU, memory, hard drive space, etc. Cloud services usually have a billing system and an application programming interface (API).
As of now, most cloud hosting solutions are vps based on components that have been open sourced. On the contrary, a small number of vendors have developed their proprietary clouds. In short, this means that a website that uses a proprietary cloud may be slower to load and more prone to downtime. However, some cloud vendors have released proprietary software as open source or have committed to open source technology.
Most cloud computing solutions have two basic models: hybrid and grid. A hybrid cloud hosting solutions combines the functions of both a stand-alone server and a cloud computing platform. With a hybrid cloud computing model, the client uses a server with pre-installed software and may also use an application program interface (API). One drawback to hybrid cloud hosting solutions is that the clients have limited control over the hardware. Grid cloud computing solutions provide the client with hardware pre-installed with software that is pre-installed on the server.
Several cloud hosting solutions are categorized according to the level of connectivity that is provided to the client. For instance, there are three common categories that include: desktop-outlet, IaaS/SaaS. Each of these categories provides different levels of connectivity, and the nature of the connection is dependent on the level of security provided by the vendor. Some examples of desktop-outlet and IaaS/SaaS solutions are the following: Citrix Systems, Microsoft Business Solutions and NetIQ.
A number of cloud hosting plans provide direct access to the provider’s server. This type of plan has direct access to the provider’s server resources, and therefore is known as public cloud server resources. Some examples of providers offering direct access to their servers are Hewlett Packard, IBM and Google. Some SaaS or IaaS providers offer hosted components or middleware that may be accessed directly, while others have middleware layers that allow access through a browser.
Cloud computing offers many benefits such as increased scalability, flexibility and greater capacity. However, many of these benefits depend on the type of cloud hosting service used. There are various SaaS and IaaS plans that include multiple data centers and the benefits are usually derived from the size of the data centers. If a single server is more suitable for the company’s needs, then one data center may be sufficient.