Cloud Hosting ManMany people hear the term “Cloud Hosting” and think it is some incredibly complicated way to deliver hosting services. Others think the cloud is one large platform where everything in the world is stored. Well neither is true. There are actually thousands of cloud environments that people access every day when they check services like Facebook or upload a picture from their phone. Each cloud is working independently of each other but provides a similar service to all users. Find out what cloud hosting is so the next time you hear the term you won’t be in the dark.

Cloud hosting is really easy to understand once you know the basics. Cloud hosting uses the resources of several clustered physical servers to increase the performance, storage, and redundancy of a hosted environment. A virtualizaton software product like Citrix Xenserver is used to create the cloud between the pool of physical servers. When you virtualize a server you can run many different virtual servers (VMs) on a single physical server. When you cluster a large number of physical servers together, and the virtual servers can migrate between the physical servers, you essentially have a cloud.

A cloud will allow you to add more physical servers to the cluster as you need more resources. A cloud hosting platform will almost always use central storage (ex. SAN or Storage Area Network) so that the virtual servers can quickly migrate between physical servers without the need to move all the data. Since the data doesn’t need to move with the virtual server you can migrate a virtual server to any physical server in the cluster that shares the SAN. This migration can be done manually or automatically if more power is needed to run your VM (CPU, RAM, Hard Disk), or automatically if a physical server goes down. The result is a self-healing virtual server that can be built to the exact performance level you need and then be easily upgraded as your needs grow.

The term cloud hosting can show up in different forms that the media talk about every day. For example, if you use Google’s services like DOCS or GMAIL your data is stored on a cluster of servers (a cloud) like we described above. The cloud could be in one of thousands of datacenters throughout the world and sometimes the same data is stored in multiple locations. If you use a data backup service then your files are most likely stored in the cloud with a similar architecture. The term cloud has taken on many different forms but when you understand that it is just another way to host something in a more efficient format, it becomes a little easier to understand.

Public Vs Private Cloud:

NetSource is a hosting provider and we offer cloud hosting services to our customers. NetSource offers both public and private cloud hosting. What is the difference?

NetSource built our public cloud so that we can create virtual servers for customers who don’t want to worry about managing the physical equipment. For example, a customer can ask for a virtual cloud server that has 2 virtual CPUs, 2 GB Ram, and 100 GB of Disk SAN space to match their exact needs. All of our public cloud customers share a large cluster of physical servers that was built to host hundreds of clients. Each customer gets the redundancy and performance of a large cluster of servers without the expense of buying or managing physical servers. While all the customers are on the same set of physical servers (cluster), the virtual servers cannot affect other virtual servers and each client is essentially self-contained. So the end result is a completely independent hosting instance that the customer can customize and run almost any unique application on.

In a private cloud NetSource will purchase all new hardware (servers and SAN) to create a completely unique cloud environment for a specific client. NetSource or the client can manage the hardware. The environment is very similar to the public cloud described above, but is only used by one client. This type of setup is usually required by companies who cannot be on a public cloud because of compliance reasons and need to control their own security setup. It also allows companies to architect a physical cluster of servers to meet specific performance levels they might require for their VMs. This type of setup provides the client with more control over the environment including 100% of the cluster resources so they can increase (or decrease) their virtual server performance at any time.

You can find information about NetSource’s public cloud and private cloud at the NetSource website. Please contact NetSource at 630-778-1212 with any questions you might have about creating a cloud for your business.