The market for cloud services is expected to nearly triple between 2015 and 2020. By the end of next year, it could be worth almost $170 billion. It is easy to see why, since the cloud has provided a much more cost-effective solution for storing data.
The cloud is playing a more important role in our lives every day. One of the biggest ways that cloud technology is changing our lives is by improving the scalability and versatility of online commerce and content delivery. Amazon and other large online brands developed cloud hosting services a few years ago. The solutions have become mainstream, as almost all hosting providers allow their customers to store their website data on the cloud.
Here are some of the biggest reasons that organizations are using the cloud for website hosting.
The biggest benefit of cloud hosting is scalability. Neal Thoms at TechRadar shares a primer on the benefits of cloud scalability.
He points out that the cloud enables a seemingly infinite number of machines to connect and act as a single, centralized data server. Data for the same application can be distributed across various discs, which makes it much easier for organizations to increase storage space.
Expediting service delivery
After scalability, most organizations believe that cost effectiveness is the main benefit of cloud computing. However, there is at least one other benefit that is even more important.
Improving turnaround times for service delivery is a much bigger benefit for many organizations then reducing operational costs. Gartner published a case study on Easyjet that emphasized this point. Easyjet initially invested in cloud technology to reduce operating costs. However, they quickly realized that their new cloud infrastructure enabled them to deliver services much more efficiently.
Why does cloud hosting help organizations deliver services more quickly? They are able to simultaneously utilize multiple servers at once. With a traditional shared hosting service, all of the data would have been kept on a single server. The server would have a much more limited RAM., so it would face a bandwidth bottle neck after a certain threshold. The server would need to reduce its operating capacity, which would cause services to be delivered more slowly online.
This is not nearly as much of a concern with cloud hosting. The application can share data across multiple servers, so there is little risk of any individual server exceeding its capacity.
Very high uptime guarantees
Uptime is another major consideration for anybody that operates a website. According to data from Pingdom, the average uptime of all websites is 99.03%, which means that it is lower for sites that don’t use cloud hosting.
Some organizations may believe that an uptime of around 98% might be acceptable. However, that figure would mean that the site was down for over seven days every single year. If you operate a website that generates around $300 a day in revenue, a 98% uptime rate will mean that your site is losing over $2,000 in revenue each year.
Downtime is not nearly as much of a concern with cloud hosting. The average uptime for even the cheapest cloud hosting services is around 99.99%. This means that a website using cloud hosting service will only be down for around 52 minutes and 32 seconds over the course of an entire year. That would reduce the $2,000 in losses from the hypothetical business listed above to less than $10 each year.
Some cloud hosting services are so confident in their uptime, that they have actually started guaranteeing 100% uptime. Vultr is among them. If your site ever goes down, Vultr will give you an SLA credit.
Flexible privacy options
Privacy is another important consideration when choosing a hosting service. The levels of privacy that you need will obviously vary based on the nature of your website applications.
Some data is intended to be freely accessible to almost anybody with an Internet connection. If the goal is to share data with the world, then you will want a public hosting solution. On the other hand, some data needs to be very carefully secured. In these circumstances, do you need a much more private hosting option.
Cloud hosting solutions cover a wide range of privacy options. You can buy public, private or hybrid hosting for your website. A private cloud option enables you to use a hosting infrastructure made of both cloud and bare metal dedicated servers. Private hosting is vital for companies that need to keep certain data very secure, such as companies that are subject to HIPAA regulations.
You have a lot of control over the privacy options of your hosting when you purchase a hybrid hosting service. You can insure that some data is heavily restricted, while other data is freely available.
Cheaper hosting costs for small scale projects
The logistics of cloud hosting are different from shared or dedicated hosting options. This is why there is such a strong debate about the cost effectiveness of cloud computing. Many experts argue that cloud services are intrinsically more affordable, while others have argued that they are more expensive.
Which set of experts is wrong? The answer is that neither of them are wrong. They probably have different experiences with customers of different sizes, so their perceptions are going to be different.
In order to make a cost benefit analysis of a cloud hosting service, you need to recognize that the pricing structure is not linear. Using cloud hosting for larger applications places more strain on a larger number of cloud servers. Hosting providers have a more difficult time distributing your resources across different servers as your website content and bandwidth increase. They are still able to accomplish this without compromising uptime, but they need to compensate by charging you at a higher pricing tier.
On the other hand, hosting smaller websites on the cloud is much easier. Since the hosting provider has far more resources to allocate your data to, they are able to offer much cheaper pricing for smaller websites than traditional shared and dedicated hosting plans.
Ensuring better content delivery for global customers
An organization’s challenges are going to depend on the size of its global footprint. Some organizations have websites that cater to people in a specific region. This means they can easily ensure the fastest content delivery and best user experience by purchasing a hosting plan that uses a server in those parts of the world. Companies that reach customers all over the world will find it is much more difficult to satisfy them with traditional hosting solutions.
Cloud hosting platforms offer content delivery networks. They make sure that the customer is connected to a server near their location, which ensures that they can receive the fastest possible content delivery and the lowest risk of downtime.
Greater confidence among prominent customers
Prominent customers that subscribe to online services are going to have much higher expectations than your average website visitor. They are paying a premium for services, so they are going to insist that they have very reliable experiences.
While you could theoretically meet their needs with a VPS or even a dedicated hosting service, that may not be enough. The perception is also very important. They are going to feel more confident in your online service if you emphasize that your website uses cloud hosting.