Over the past decade, there have been many technological advances in the web server business. For example, it is now possible to host thousands of websites on a single computer server at a hosting provider. That has lowered the monthly cost of hosting a website to less than the cost of a cheap lunch. Virtualization has made it cheaper for hosting customers to run their own instance of Windows or Linux since several customers are sharing the same physical server. Now, cloud servers are changing the way web hosting works.
How Cloud Hosting Works
The way cloud servers work is simple. It is similar to how virtualization worked with a web server. However, there is no need to look at the hardware layer when it comes to cloud hosting. It is all about getting extra CPU, memory, or disk resources on demand. Underneath the hood, it may represent a single server like in traditional hosting. Or it could be from a number of different physical hardware. As long as the performance is good, customers will not care how the provisioning works.
Advantages of Provisioning in the Cloud
One of the biggest advantages of cloud server hosting versus traditional web server hosting is the speed of provisioning new hardware. With traditional hosting, it can take days or even weeks to put new hardware online for a new website. Those that choose to go to the cloud can get computing resources for a website a lot quicker. In some cases, all it takes is a few seconds to provision the additional CPU and disk resources for the website. This can be helpful for a website that is growing so fast that it cannot wait for provisioning at a traditional hosting provider.
Basically, cloud server hosting takes the advantages already inherent in virtualization of servers and takes it one step further. First of all, resources are shared and utilized only when necessary. But it is possible to quickly and cheaply get additional resources when necessary. It is not necessary to bring in extra people to turn screwdrivers in order to install a new server. Instead, additional resources are provisioned with the press of a button. This is especially helpful when an existing piece of hardware goes down or when it runs in degraded mode. For example, a disk array may have one bad disk. If another disk goes bad, there could be data loss. With the cloud, the hosting provider simply moves the data to another place in the cloud very quickly. There is no need to wait for someone to build and configure another disk array.
Because of the above, hosting providers can put in the exact amount of computing resources needed to handle expected growth and nothing more. That means even more cost savings for website owners. That is how cloud computing has made things better and cheaper in the web server hosting world.