A few years ago, if you asked a Chief Information Officer or any senior employee about migrating their proprietary applications to the cloud, the answer would have been a big NO. The obvious reason you would hear would have had something to do with security, or the lack of it. The results of two Cybersecurity Insiders surveys from 2015 & 2018 show that “Security concerns” has dropped from the top barrier for migrating to the cloud.
While the trend seems to be changing, at least by small margins, cloud adoption rates are at an all-time high.
So is all the hype about cloud hosting real? Is cloud the best solution for hosting your apps? Let’s find out in this article.
What is Cloud?
A popular meme has a child asking what clouds are made of. His father’s answer – mostly Linux servers son. This is true of today’s cloud architecture. Cloud hosting is a collection of servers that can be used to store, process and output data over the internet. You could think of the cloud as one big physical computer with unlimited storage and processing power that can be distributed to users as and when they need it.
If you’ve ever heard of a cloud service provider, Amazon is probably one of the most popular names. They offer both Infrastructure-as-a-service and Platform-as-a-service models for different user groups, depending on their requirements. Microsoft’s Azure, RackSpace, Google Cloud, Oracle, and IBM are some of the other big names.
So what are some of the barriers to moving to Cloud Hosting?
Is the cloud secure?
Like we mentioned at the beginning of this article, the most common concern top professionals have about Cloud hosting is security. The thought of your data being on a server that is shared by numerous other users, can be a data-security nightmare. This is especially true if you store data regarding your customers and have to assure them of data-security.
To add to this dilemma, the fact that Cloud servers are spread across the globe in remote data-centers doesn’t help. Many cloud service providers have introduced policies and regulations to ensure transparency in this regard.
Security concerns are becoming less and less of a problem for many businesses due to the strict policies put in place by many vendors. This is supplemented by newer cloud services offering virtual environments which separate users not just at the operating system level, but at the virtual server level, providing more assurance regarding data isolation and resource availability.
Many companies are now moving their applications to the cloud due to these assurances.
Can servers be scaled? Is the cost high?
Scalability is another major concern for many businesses that are considering cloud hosting. Server resources should be the least of your worries when thinking about scaling. Most vendors provide virtually unlimited resources through distributed servers in vast data-centers. You can increase the size of your server as much as you want, it doesn’t even cause any downtime in most cases! The costs involved are another concern for many, especially when considering scaling cloud hosting services.
Enter: Dynamic Pricing! That means you only pay for the amount of resources you use, on a weekly or monthly cycle. These costs usually don’t even compare to the costs of upgrading your local physical servers, because of heavy costs for licenses, maintenance, and staffing.
Can Virtual servers really perform like local servers?
Cloud servers are actual high-end devices. Their resources are divided among many users. There is no concern regarding performance as the amount of resources allocated to you is dedicated and no other users are able to access it. As your usage increases, resources will also need to be increased so that performance does not suffer. This will be much easier and more cost-effective with a cloud host, rather than replacing your locally hosted physical servers.
For those who have a grasp on the workings of these services, the concept of virtually allocated resources poses another major risk. That is deciding the point at which the app has to be migrated to a physical server that satisfies the overall resource needs, rather than scaling virtually. Each vendor facilitates this process differently, however, given current standards, you should not expect more than a few hours of downtime. So yes, cloud hosting can perform. They may even out-do your local servers.
How do I maintain cloud servers?
It’s simple, you don’t need to! Maintenance of your servers has never been easier, cloud services provide you with one-click tools for most of these needs, such as virus protection, malware scanning and backing up your data.
The rest is taken care of by your vendor. They also have backups and redundancies to ensure that if there is a hardware failure, it doesn’t affect you for more than a few minutes, or hours at the most. These benefits, along with automatic software updates and the zero-need for physical maintenance, make cloud hosting great for anyone.
Recovery tools are built-in, especially with the PaaS model. This removes a huge weight from companies who may not even have the expertise to counter such incidents.
What are the other benefits of the Cloud?
There are many other benefits that we can talk about, like:
- You gain a big competitive edge as you leverage the cost and performance benefits offered by enterprise-level vendors due to their economies of scale. Cloud hosting providers have huge server farms and as such are able to offer new technology at a fraction of the cost.
- Having your app distributed across the globe at various data-centers is another great benefit. This offers further benefits of less latency and faster app loading times to your users around the world. This also makes your app more accessible to users.
- Nearly all cloud hosting providers have really great interfaces for monitoring your servers and usage. They provide clear insights regarding how your servers are performing and the usage statistics of users. This can help you with fine-tuning your servers, as well as identifying the need to scale.
We’ve spoken quite a bit about the main barriers to migrating to Cloud Hosting. We covered most of the concerns you may have had and even showed you how they can be converted to benefits of migrating to a cloud service. We’ve also discussed some of the other benefits of Cloud Hosting. So you should have a pretty good idea of the benefits of moving your app to the Cloud. If you don’t, we have many other articles like this at HostingReview.com which can help you to learn more about the cloud, and all things hosting related.