What is cloud hosting?


#1

Recently, I’m noticing more and more hosting companies offering services that they call ‘cloud hosting’ or something ‘cloud’. They say their advantages are better scalability, 100% availability and ability to order resources immediately on demand. I’d like to know how this kind of cloud hosting is done and imagine the infrastructure design.

A standard dedicated server is one physical machine, a standard VPS is a VM on a physical machine and perhaps a separate machine for backups and that’s it. Some companies offer servers or VPS’s in the cloud (with the added benefits I mentioned earlier) and I wonder how they are set up. I know each company will have their own methods but perhaps there is a general idea? I imagine there must be a number of interconnected servers but what else? Initially, I though the word ‘cloud’ was just a buzzword that was used for marketing and doesn’t mean anything but then I saw companies comparing cloud hosting to normal hosting and how it’s better so I suspect there must be something more to it.


When to choose cloud hosting?
#2

I thought the same thing.
There was this phrase which supports the idea:-


Then here is an article refuting that:-


#3

Yes, now I remember that phrase!

Interesting article, I don’t know if I understand all of it but says something about how cloud differs from traditional set-ups. However, most comments say the article is BS :slight_smile:


#4

Cloud is not just a buzzword, but a lot of hosting providers think it is. There is a huge difference between AWS/Google Cloud/Azure and some random VPS host who calls their VPS a cloud service. There are a ton of services available for different things that don’t need to be managed and a ton of automation you can throw at cloud services to do a lot of really nice things.

DevOps is the culture shift enabled by cloud services, if you’re more interested in the types of thing that can be enabled by cloud providers that is the term you’re looking for.


#5

My guess at what it means would be multiple servers holding your data, as opposed to just one. The purpose I suppose being to guard against data loss and server down-time and maybe helping with content delivery. But that is a guess as opposed to actual fact. :shifty:


#6

That is another place where I have seen the term “cloud” used, other than just file storage or a web(site) server, but as a way of remotely processing intensive tasks when your local hardware was not up to the task.
When I worked in video production doing a lot of CGI animation work, the most intensive computing task was rendering CGI frames for video. For this I built a local render farm, but if you don’t have the space/resources/knowhow to do that, there were firms offering rendering as a remote “cloud” service. That’s just one example I know about which had little to do with web hosting or development, so it probably goes much wider.

Not sure I made it that far TBH.
Though had a quick look since you mention it. I see someone defending “Someone else’s computer” as explaining it in layman’s terms, not someone else’s computer, but someone else’s network of computers. Fair enough…
Probably one of those terms that can’t be pinned down to an exact single meaning, but may be used in various contexts. And of course get hijacked as a buzzword and abused to impress.


#7

That is another place where I have seen the term “cloud” used, other than just file storage or a web(site) server, but as a way of remotely processing intensive tasks when your local hardware was not up to the task.

That too, but I was thinking more along the lines of deployments, maintenance, and auto-scaling.

For instance, I was in a tech talk yesterday where one of our new DevOps directors (not official title) was telling us about how he likes to set things up so that no VPS is more than 30 days old. A deployment is never done to the same server and if the case happens that a service has not been updated for 30 days, then it’s automatically destroyed and a new one to replaces it. This helps alleviate upgrade pains to help stay on top of vulnerabilities.

A true cloud host is going to have things in place to facilitate these sort of things easily through code and SDKs.

If you have to ssh into a cloud VPS, you’re doing it wrong. VPSs are cattle.


#8

Let’s take one simple example, I order a cloud VPS, install a system on it and run some web application. On how many physical servers does my VPS reside? Only one or are there some mirrors on several ones? Do physical machines change over time regularly?

How is hardware failure prevention done? If a server gets damaged how is the continuation of service carried out? Is it switched to a mirror or is there a completely different concept?

How then do I get admin access to a VPS if there is no SSH? I thought a cloud VPS is managed the same way as a traditional VPS and looks the same from the outside, is that not so?


#9

IMHO Cloud Hosting is a relatively new marketing buzz word that has yet to be defined.

Interesting to note that CloudFlare.com uses Content Delivery Network, instead of cloud hosting with some excellent articles detailing the CDN benefits.


#10

On how many physical servers does my VPS reside?

One. Most professional apps/services do not exist on only 1 VPS though. It’s at minimum 2 for failover, but much more depending on the need for scale. Which physical server these exist on is managed by the provider, but you usually get a choice of geographical location.

Do physical machines change over time regularly?

Yes, as a customer this is abstracted from you and not your concern. You VPS might also be migrated to different physical servers at any point without you knowing .

How is hardware failure prevention done? If a server gets damaged how is the continuation of service carried out? Is it switched to a mirror or is there a completely different concept?

To be honest I don’t know and I’m sure most providers have custom systems to do this. As a customer, this is not your concern.

How then do I get admin access to a VPS if there is no SSH?

You can SSH into them, but you shouldn’t. The point is that you shouldn’t ever have a need to SSH into them, just destroy them and build a new one. Server management is not part of this. They should be treated like cattle, completely expendable. Cattle are not raised to the end of their life and they aren’t given names. They are raised for a singular purpose and if they can’t fulfill that, then they aren’t worth anything. If a cow gets hurt, you don’t spend $500 to get it fixed with a chance it may not do any good, you put it down.


#11

Interesting to note that CloudFlare.com uses Content Delivery Network, instead of cloud hosting with some excellent articles detailing the CDN benefits.

CDN is not the same thing as a cloud server. You can get CDN services from all the other major providers. It’s called CloudFront on AWS.


#12

Wiki has a couple of pages devoted to “web hosting” and further confuses the issue by stating:

The English used in this article or section may not be easy for everybody to understand . (December 2011)


#13

Yeah, I tried to describe it in the way I’ve used it and know how it’s supposed to be used. Cloud is targeted at companies with a mature DevOps culture and need to function at scale.


#14

The Wiki link I supplied gives Facebook as an example of companies that need Cloud Services for their app and data.

Most internet users are currently using cloud services, even if they do not realize it. Webmail for example is a cloud service, as are Facebook and Wikipedia and contact list synchronization and online data backups.


#15

That’s actually calling Facebook and Wikipedia cloud services. Not that they use them. You definitely don’t need to be at that scale to use them. I would argue that FB is on the other end of the spectrum and too large to make use of cloud services.