Cloud Hosting: What is it?


The new buzz word in the technology industry these days is “Cloud Computing” or “Cloud Hosting.” But what is the Cloud? Can you explain to someone what Cloud Hosting is all about?  We will use the terms Cloud Computing and Cloud Hosting interchangeably in this article.

Companies both small and large seem to be embracing the concept of Cloud Hosting.  Most people including yourself are already utilizing this new technology on a daily basis without even realizing it.  Cloud Hosting is projected to account for a third of annual IT expenditure growth this year.

I find that Infographics are an amazing way of explaining figures, facts, and concepts. Infographics have a great way of turning textual data into easy-to-read an understandable format that is both visually appealing and fun. Below is an Infographic that delves into the ins and outs of cloud computing. You can get a good idea of the difference between traditional hosting and come to a better understanding of cloud computing technologies. Here is a brief summary:

Cloud Hosting – what is it?

Cloud computing is a really basic concept and like I said you have probably been utilizing this technology for some time now without giving it much thought. Cloud computing just means utilizing Internet based rather than software based technologies, simply put you access the information whether it be email, saved photos, or an application via remote servers instead of your personal computer. That’s right, pretty much anything that you access via the web when it was traditionally on your end user platform is consider  “in the Cloud.”

In theory the data and information is accessible to as many people as necessary, at anytime necessary from any location that has access to the internet. In truth the data is still residing on physical hardware at some location typically within a datacenter but the data may be distributed over multiple hard drives. What really defines the Cloud is the implementation of software that works in conjunction with various essential pieces of hardware. In most cases the Cloud consists of multiple hard drives, multiple switches, multiple processing servers, and multiple load balancing servers.

How do you determine if you are already using cloud based services?

You probably fall within the fifty percent of all Internet users that currently use the cloud to access their email through services such as Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, and Hotmail.  These email services are referred to as web-based-email as opposed to something like Thunderbird or Microsoft Outlook which pulls the emails off the server and stores the information on the computer you are using that email application on. Web based email is popular because you can access your email from anywhere you have connection to the internet from a laptop, tablet, or any other mobile device. Another familiar and widely used service is sharing and storing photos online through websites such as Flickr, Shutterfly, and Snapfish. Google Docs is a widely popular easy to use web based service which allows you to store and share critical documents from anywhere in the world to anyone in the world.

Google Drive, Microsoft Skydrive  and Dropbox are other examples of cloud computing that people use to backup, store, or share their files. YouTube is a great example of video based cloud computing that specializes in the storage and dissemination on video online.

What are the different types of cloud computing ?

While all cloud computing follows the same general principle of storing and accessing data online, there are four different categories, including:

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) – includes space for data centers, network equipment, servers, and software for businesses.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) – allows applications to run through full hardware architecture and software framework.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – commercially available software applications are accessible through the Internet.

What are the benefits of Cloud Hosting?

Cloud computing has many advantages, which is why many people especially in the IT industry are embracing it as an alternative to traditional hosting. cloud computing has:

Greater security. The vast majority of current cloud users believe that cloud computing keeps their data and applications more secure.  What is massively appealing is the capability of storing data in the cloud which means you do not have to worry about accidentally deleting or misplacing files, or losing data because of a virus or damaged machine.

Less IT performance challenges and issues. Cloud computing removes many of the variables associated with traditional hosting on dedicated, VPS, and Shared hosting platforms.

The capability to share data seamlessly. When data is available online anyone can access it, from any device anywhere in the world as long as they have access to the internet and a browser.

The cost is less. Two thirds of Cloud users have reported their IT costs and been reduced since the advent of Cloud computing.

With all of these benefits, it is clear that cloud computing is here to stay and is only going evolve and integrate into more aspects of your life. Most business that are staying up with the curve of technology are using some form of Cloud based service. I recommend embracing this cutting edge technology and leveraging the Cloud to your benefit otherwise you risk being left behind.



 Blog picture courtesy of Infographic World

If you are interested in learning more about Cloud Hosting or have questions about any other QuadraNet services please contact our Sales department or drop us an email.

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