What the **** is "Cloud Computing" ?!

[FONT=“Georgia”]Man, this is driving me insane!

I made up my mind this morning to research what exactly this “cloud computing” thing is all about.

I keep hearing about the benefits, such as a smaller bill and instant server resources as needed, which are wonderful benefits!

But in looking for a definition, all I’m getting are sales pitches.

What is “the cloud” ?

Where is the data stored?

Is it like a P2P file community, and is which case, would my website (and especially info on my database) be secure being spread out like that?

Would my website crash if peers drop off?

When I pay for “cloud hosting”, who am I paying? Amazon? What role do they play?

Can anyone out there provide me a concrete definition?!


I guess that VPS servers can be used in cloud computing too.I only said that the concepts and definition were different.

Actually, Yes, to a certain extent.

Amazon services are all pretty much xen vps instances with an added application interface that allows you to interconnect with their other services and billing systems. An amazon EC2 instance is just a preconfigured xen vps instance.

Amazon was just the first! I can tell you a very expensive one that provides very good service… but it is in Spanish although very reliable. But, I insist, it is expensive. And I know of other companies… but this is the only one that I really know and that I would rely on (as well as Amazon)

Is cloud hosting the same as VPS ?

No. I would say it is more like the opposite. A VPS is a method of splitting a server, making it look like if you had two or more servers instead of only one. The cloud makes various servers work together to provide a service, and it looks like just one server.


Is cloud hosting the same as VPS ?


[FONT=“Georgia”]ah, Okay.

So it’s a new hosting plan then, really.

So it’s the same, single hosting provider who could supply you with more server power as needed. Yes?

In that case, I imagine some hosting providers provide better “cloud” plans that others. Correct?

So then, what do people mean when they keep talking about Gmail as being “the cloud” ?


To keep it simple, cloud computing is a model of hosting service where you only pay only for the resources that you need.

Sometimes, a site grows big enough to be hosted in its own server due to traffic… but maybe you don’t need all the storage and other services you get when you contract one, and you’re paying for services that you may never use.

The data is stored in one or more web servers, depending on the amount of data and the databases you have… when you need more storage or any other resource then you increase your limit and pay for it.

It is not like a P2P network. For a start, it is not de-centralized.

Amazon has their own infrastructure, so if you contract Amazon, you’re paying to your real provider and not a reseller.

We just published a book: http://sitepoint.com/books/cloud1/ - Host Your Site In The Cloud.

That is really interesting. I suppose that could be really nice idea to have sticky thread about that here.

I believe once you visit web hostingtalk.com and do some search you will find that out.

how does it work? is it good since its p2p file?

My university is working to move to cloud computing. Currently we have 300-400 lab computers on campus. Each computer has roughly $3,000K of software. Due to budget cuts, libraries and other labs are closing earlier. So to give students/faculty/staff the same access, they can log on to some external source (like remote connection) on their own laptop and have those software packages.
The major problem is not all students/faculty/staff have their own computer…


Okay, I need to do more googling then.

Do you happen to know which hosting providers so far offer “cloud” hosting? Is it just Amazon?


There are various types of clouds… you can have your own private cloud … meaning that you have you own set of servers properly connected and working as one.

But yes, the cloud does have some dangers, and one of them is that you don’t really know where you data is.

[FONT=“Georgia”]Well, you see, that’s exactly the part that bugs me.

Because I do want to know where it’s stored. That has security implications.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my credit card numbers “just somewhere there in outspace”.


Good to hear that’s changed since last I looked :slight_smile:

In terms of end user and when contracting hosting services, yes.

The real definition is much more technical and talks about paradigms and stuff that I don’t know very well, to be honest.

It is not a physical hosting service as we know, it is more a technology that offers different services via internet. Google Docs, Gmail and many others act like that. The application and the data itself is not stored in just one server, and the person using the service doesn’t really care where it is stored and he doesn’t even know it. He simply uses the service. But although he doesn’t know, his e-mails and/or documents can be stored in one, two or more servers… I guess that’s why they call it “cloud”… you don’t really know where your stuff is… just somewhere there in outspace :lol:

But if you contract a cloud system, you’re not contracting a server, but only the hosting that adapts to your specific needs and which you will increase when you need to and as you wish. You’re in the “cloud” because to you it will look as just one server, but you may be using more than one, or 20 without realising you’re doing it… the hosting provider takes care of the balancing and all.

As you say, different providers may have different qualities of services and cloud is not different. All of your data is outsourced to your provided which may be dangerous. And if your provider has some kind of financial problem and goes bankrupt, you may end up losing all your data


That’s not quite true, cloud hosting itself doesn’t make multiple VPS instances work together as one - that’s up to the software that you write/buy/otherwise procure and run.


[FONT=“Georgia”]Are they any good?


Amazon, softlayer, gogrid etc all allow ssh