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What is Cloud Hosting?

Cloud hosting offered by PEER 1 Hosting delivers speed, flexibility and cost efficiency that simply isn’t achievable in-house. Here’s why cloud hosting is used so widely.

Providing the perfect computing environment that can deal with any variation in service levels, project length or user access needs is a time-consuming and costly task – and full of risks for any business. The solution identified by many organisations is to use cloud computing, and in particular the solutions offered by hosting companies. But what is cloud hosting?

The Cloud Defined

The “cloud” generally refers to any computing services or resources, including storage, that are accessed remotely, on demand, usually over the Internet or via a wide area network. Organisations benefit from economies of scale that can include savings generated by sharing buildings, electricity or personnel, as well as shared hardware and software. Virtualisation allows much more efficient use of servers and storage, and speeds up access to configurable resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal effort on the part of clients.

Cloud services can be public, private or a hybrid of the two. They may provide shared computing hardware (referred to as Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS), access to software running on top of that hardware, such as operating systems, databases, programming environments or web servers (Platform as a Service; PaaS), or even shared applications running remotely (Software as a Service; SaaS).

Features and Benefits

Cloud hosting providers offer one or more varieties of cloud computing services. These typically share some or all of the characteristics associated with cloud computing, as defined by organisations such as the US National Institute of Standards and Technology:

  • Pooling of resources – physical and virtual resources, includes storage, processing, memory and/or network bandwidth, may be shared and dynamically assigned according to each customer’s needs and the type of cloud being used.
  • Speedy scaling of services – resources can be scaled, sometimes automatically, according to need, allowing for peak or variable workloads and short-term projects. Potential peak load capacity, for example, can be much higher than many organisations could achieve or afford alone.
  • Broad access – users can access services from anywhere and on a variety of standard platforms and devices.
  • On-demand service – consumers can often provision the capabilities they need without having to interact with the hosting provider’s staff.
  • Measured service – use of resources can be monitored, reported and controlled, allowing utility-based charging when appropriate.

These features allow organisations to benefit from rapid deployment that simply isn’t possible or cost effective when done in-house. Such agility and flexibility means that businesses can respond to innovation and seize emerging opportunities quickly. And when equipment is sited at multiple locations, the cloud offers levels of redundancy and security that few businesses can afford.

Public, Private or Hybrid Cloud

Public cloud services are available for any client to use. Located at sites owned by the hosting provider, physical resources are shared by its customers. Hence not all public cloud services are equal: reliability, security, pricing and speed can vary widely, as can service and support levels.

Although a good public cloud will offer high levels of control, flexibility and reliability, private clouds remove the concerns that some have about public cloud hosting. While the same hosting company may run private clouds on behalf of many organisations, each is hosted on its own separate, dedicated infrastructure but still benefits from virtualisation and shared resources.

The PEER 1 Hosting difference

Many hosting providers offering ‘cloud computing’ actually only offer public cloud services. At PEER 1 Hosting we can deliver both public and private cloud solutions, or a combination (or ‘hybrid’) of the two where that offers the best solution. We’re also confident that our cloud services, including our public cloud server and storage hosting, are second to none. Learn more about our offering at http://www.peer1hosting.co.uk/hosting/cloud-hosting

PEER 1 Hosting is all about CHOICE – your cloud, your way. Whether you want a cloud based on an enterprise platform like VMware, or an open-source Xen-based cloud. Whether you are a do-it-yourself or a do-it-for-me. Managed or unmanaged. High-touch or low-maintenance.