Understanding the Cloud
Expanding the Cloud
Typically, cloud computing environments are able to add or remove resources like CPU cycles, memory, and network storage as needed.
Why Cloud Hosting is Relevant to Businesses
The bottom line is that cloud computing architectures have the ability to scale to suit user demand and traffic spikes quickly. Developers don't have to
constantly re-engineer their environment and cost structures to handle peak loads. Businesses don't have to wrestle with the underlying infrastructure
and core technologies or the day-to-day operational, performance and scalability issues of their platform. Instead, with cloud computing, they can truly
focus their resources on developing their applications and sites.
The Long History of the Cloud
The terms "cloud" and "cloud computing" have only been around for a couple of years, but the underlying concepts of these architectures aren't new at all.
Parallel processing and clustering of multiple computers to form a larger, more powerful single or virtual instance are proven solutions to performance
and scalability challenges.
Charging for computing on a pay-per-use or subscription basis (common with grid and time-sharing environments), have been employed for decades. Hosted
SaaS and cloud applications, such as email and collaboration tools for example, have also existed for years.
What's new with the evolution of the Cloud is fully abstracting these technologies behind a common user interface, which frees developers and other
professionals from the operational aspects of their applications and sites.
Why Not Build Your Own Cloud
Cloud computing environments are designed to operate reliably, scale in a controlled manner, and be cost effective to operate. While all of this can be
developed—given enough time, money and specific expertise—by competent in-house engineering teams, the full value of cloud computing comes
into play with cloud providers. They provide and guarantee all the advantages of the Cloud along with full developer service and support, for a fraction
of the cost of creating, maintaining, supporting and operating this complex environment in-house.
The Technologies Behind a Cloud
Numerous underlying technologies can be incorporated into the basic architecture of the Cloud. The Internet, of course, is a common thread. And in most
cases, clouds are built upon virtualization technologies, like VMware and Xen, or scalable architectures based on semi-dedicated managed hosting models
Usually, public clouds (not in-house environments) utilize control panels and configuration management applications, much like Software-as-a-Service
(SaaS). These facilitate application development activities and make raw technology readily consumable. Cloud computing environments typically provide
access to LAMP and Windows stacks, web hosting and database technologies.
Migrating to a Cloud Environment
In most cases, dedicated applications can be migrated or adapted to operate in cloud computing environments with minimal effort. And the benefits in
stability, reliability, and scalability can be realized immediately.
Limitless Scaling on the Cloud
In theory, cloud computing architectures are limitless. In practice, however, the size of a particular cloud footprint, the size of a cloud's data center,
and the reliability and scalability of the underlying technology (network access, bandwidth, peering, etc.) all affect scalability. And they must be taken
into account to properly assess the capacity of any specific cloud.
For practical purposes, most cloud providers offer enough scalability to successfully accommodate even the most massive spikes in usage or traffic.
Running Applications and Technologies on the Cloud
Since the Cloud is an architecture, theoretically almost anything can run on it. In reality, some cloud technologies, by design, are more suited to parallel
or shared processing applications. Others are more suited to intensive single-threaded applications. Properly constructed clouds resolve this issue by
leveraging the performance characteristics of each technology and implementing a mix of industry standard interfaces and custom integrations or applications
to make the dissimilar technologies operate and scale smoothly.
Compute Platform Built to Suit Your Needs
You don't have to choose between dedicated hardware and cloud-based servers, at Rackspace you can have the best of both worlds. With the hybrid hosting
option, build your own custom configuration of Dedicated Servers and Cloud-based servers all working together seamlessly.
Learn more about hosting options.