June 17, 2013

Cloud Computing 101


Hostway Team


Cloud computing: The term is all over the technology news and its growth is all the rage. But what exactly is cloud computing, and why is it so important?

One of the reasons cloud computing can be so confusing is that there are actually several different meanings for the term. The unifying theme is a basic set of processor, memory and storage hardware. Those three components form the basis of any cloud.

The most basic type of cloud computing, Infrastructure-as-a-Service, or IaaS, is a cloud offering with an operating system layered on top of it. This operating system enables the creation of virtual servers, called virtualization. IBM describes a virtual computer as “a logical representation of a computer in software. By decoupling the physical hardware from the operating system, virtualization provides more operational flexibility and increases the utilization rate of the underlying physical hardware.” 1  IaaS-based virtualization maximizes the compute resources available of any one given server.

By adding another level, incorporating the runtime, API, webserver and other applications, our service becomes Platform-as-a-Service, or PaaS. Developers and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) use PaaS technology to avoid the infrastructure and hardware expenditures while retaining the ability to develop software applications and utilize virtualization to scale their available resources.

Finally, Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS, the end users’ applications run on the virtual machines, not on your laptop’s hard drive. The fully virtualized environment runs the very software you used to install on your hard drive.

SaaS has four main benefits:

  • Scalability: Spin up or scale back the number of virtual machines you’re using at any time
  • Pay as you go: Only pay for what you use – don’t invest in idle servers
  • Self-service capabilities: Your hosting provider takes care of all of the backend maintenance, while you take care of all of the day-to-day tasks
  • Programmability: Develop applications to run on the virtual machine without having to invest in additional servers

So what’s slowing cloud adoption? The number one concern: How secure will your data be in someone else’s environment? The answer depends on the hosting company. At Hostway, we use firewalls and advanced intrusion detection systems to ensure the security of your data, and that’s just the start. This white paper describes the extent of our cloud security measures. We also handle HIPAA and PCI compliance, and offer private cloud to avoid sharing space with anyone.

With Hostway’s competitive pricing, even the smallest of SMBs can take advantage of cloud computing. Just think – no more IT headaches, and no more wishing you had the budget for an IT department. Call today (1-866-467-8929) to find out more about our cloud solutions. Let us help you find the one that is right for you.

1 "Virtualization in education". IBM. October 2007, p.3. Retrieved 29May2013.


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