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Advantages and Disadvantages


Cloud hosting is billed on a pay-as-you-use model that allows a business to pay for only the resources (RAM, CPU, disk storage, bandwidth) it uses. This billing model provides better flexibility for smaller business and startups that want to reduce their monthly bill by only paying for when the Cloud server is actually used. However, the cost saving benefits of the Cloud disappears if a business wants to keep resources in reserve and dedicated to its' cloud system. Since the Cloud is a virtualized environment that houses hundreds of users, the price of reserving the core resources is often more expensive than buying or leasing a dedicated server.


The Cloud has come a long way to become secure. The ability to access the Cloud from anywhere in the world is a great advantage but it is also a major security risk. To limit this risk, providers of cloud hosting services can build the Cloud in a way that it will isolate users to their own virtual space. This allows many users to operate in the same Cloud without worrying about their neighbors peering over.
The compliancy issue is another factor. Many businesses require hosting providers to be compliant with a set standard in order to send, process, and store sensitive information. These set standards (PCI, SSAE 16, SAS70, and HIPPA) are used to gauge the security level of the business in its transfer and storage of medical records or other personal data. Most cloud providers do not have this certification while others will say they are compliant but will send, process, and store theses information in an off-site location as a workaround.


The biggest advantage the Cloud has to offer is the flexibility it can give to businesses in terms of performance. Small or medium sized businesses that require a small server setup but have the potential for expansion will be able to take advantage of what the Cloud has to offer. Hosting a server system in the Cloud allows these businesses to start small and scale up when they need to. Additional CPU, RAM, disk space, and bandwidth can be purchased with a click of the button. Instances are spun up and the server setup gets beefier in a matter of seconds.
There is a downside for those that choose to host their servers in the Cloud. By virtue of its design, the Cloud is a shared network and users will only get a portion of the underlying hardware. Going down to the core of it, the Cloud is basically several full racks of dedicated servers and network hardware connected to load balancers. These different types of server hardware work together and pool in their resources that are then divided to users through Cloud software such as OpenStack. This means that users will have to share these resources and this could lead to performance issues if one user decides to use up a lot of processing power.


The ability to auto-deploy server instances is another great advantage of Cloud hosting. The purpose of auto-deployment is to deal with sudden spikes of traffic or if a business requires heavy processing for a certain amount of time. Most cloud providers have an option to reserve resources (although it's not cheap) in case there is a sudden need for more processing, memory, or storage space. This is a great advantage but be warned, some providers of Cloud services will have an option to auto-deploy but do not have an option to automatically scale down. This can lead to a high, unexpected monthly bill.


With several full racks of server hardware as support, there are multiple redundancies put in place to guarantee a 100% uptime. These redundancies are built on top of Data Centre Redundencies as well since the machines are hosted within a data center facility. As the Cloud is built on these layer of redundancies, if one server experiences a failure all users currently utilizing that server will simply get switch over to another server in a different rack.  This puts stability in an otherwise fluffy environment. The disadvantage though comes from how the cloud system works. Users are usually monitored every couple of minutes. This can cause some delay in when the failure will be detected and a new instance is spun up from the last saved server image.


Access from any location, a solid GUI to design and implement a server cluster, a software library, and the ability to take a snapshot of the current system are some of the advantageous of Cloud hosting. This is all possible because each setup uses virtual hardware making it easy to construct and deconstruct. However, since these are virtual hardware it all runs on the core hardware that only the Cloud providers have access to. The base functions of the core hardware are restricted from users in order to provide better security.


This greatly depends on the industry a business is in. If the industry commonly experience burst in demands (ex: costume stores during the October month) then cloud computing provides a great cost saving advantages for businesses operating in the industry. Due to the pay-as-you-go pricing model, burst in demands or sudden spikes in traffic can be handle easily by deploying new instances. Businesses can easily scale up when demand is high and scale down when demand is low. This flexibility helps a business manage spikes in its customers' demand while reducing the monthly bill of months with low demands.
A disadvantage of cloud computing is when a business have consistent demand for server resources to handle high volume traffic then the cost of Cloud computing will exceed that of traditional dedicated server hosting . With Cloud computing, the more server resources you reserve the more expensive the hosting plan becomes since the reserved resources will not be available to the other customers. Cloud is only cost effective for business that needs to scale up and down to meet demands. If a business can plan for the traffic or the use of server resources, they will be able to get a lower price and scale up as their need for more resources increase by leasing a dedicated server.


There are many advantageous as well as disadvantageous for Cloud computing. In the end, it depends on the client to determine if moving to the Cloud will be the best decision. For most startups that cannot foresee its computing use and require the flexibility and billing model to grow, the Cloud is a great hosting platform. On the other hand, if the client is able to measure out and foresee a consistent growth, requires certifications to handle financial or medical data then a dedicated hosting solution will be the better option.

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