Monday, January 10, 2011

Why Choose A Cloud Hosting Environment Over Managed Server Hosting?

Keep this in mind when considering this question. In reality "managed server" and "cloud" are not mutually exclusive. There are providers who offer fully managed clouds that use very similar hardware as fully managed servers, with the main difference being the addition of virtualization software to improve the utilization and flexibility of a managed server without virtualization software.

Cloud can be just as secure as any managed server - it's just a matter of the networking environment and degree of sharing allowed or prohibited.

Any company needing flexible resources, or using multiple managed servers to support their cloud infrastructure, stands a good chance of getting better utilization from their servers if they set up a cloud paradigm. This is especially true for any company interested in off-site backup or a warm or hot disaster recovery site since the savings are now multiplied across 2 server stacks.

As an example, a friends company moved their entire infrastructure to a virtualized server environment (the cloud) and reduced the number of physical servers from 28 to 2 - HUGE savings in physical resources and maintenance. Plus, they were able to set up a remote redundant cloud on servers without worrying about having identical hardware because the virtual server configuration is hardware-agnostic. Their recovery time in a live failover test was a matter of hours, instead of a matter of days.

And because any virtual server system (cloud) with more than one physical server can automatically fail over to another machine in the event of hardware failure, they actually find that it's MORE stable in the cloud than with their previous server system. Their IT support staff can actually perform software and hardware upgrades during the day, without causing any downtime to the company, because all of their systems can seamlessly move over to one part of the cloud while the other is undergoing maintenance.

The one place that cloud servers struggle with performance wise can be with robust databases - sometimes it's best to leave the database server on it's own dedicated machine if query-intensive applications are running against it.

Overall, they have found the cloud to greatly IMPROVE their resiliency and stability, and because they still have it on dedicated hardware, it's completely secure. They couldn't get their IT folks to go back to a non-virtual managed server technology - or any of their C-level execs either, for that matter.

The converse argument is this .....

Cloud is vaporware - marketing, pure and simple. Nothing more.

The security issues associated with 'cloud' are identical to those associated with conventional hosting, not to mention a suite of new security and legal issues associated with deployment in the cloud. For example, if multiple copies exist, which is the legal original? If data is compromised in the cloud, and legal action is brought, which jurisdiction applies - where you live, where the server resides, where the corporate office resides, or where the contract specifies?

Cloud is a way for large suppliers - Microsoft, for example - to centralize control and impose standard, while consumers - you - save money by not haing to upgrade technology and infrastructure constantly. However, what assurance do you have that your data is not living on some out of warranty DL380 server with one bad drive in the RAID?

Yes, technology costs money, and qualified engineers - like me - also cost money, However control over the access to your critical data is more important than getting into the 'next big thing' and 'being in the cloud. If you cannot afford to deploy multiple points of presence, then you probably should not be doing anything more than running a server that can manage your traffic and performing routine backups (and maybe even verifying them).

Cloud is - as it's name implies - a mass of vapor that obscures an otherwise clear atmosphere.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Web Hosting India said...

Cloud hosting is more secure as there is option of online data backup. This ensures that there is no data loss. Though it is costly, but the quality and the privileges make up for that price.

6:49 AM  

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