Cloud computing has been around in some form since 1977 but since 2010 companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft have been making cloud services available to individuals and businesses.
While initial adoption was slow because of concerns about security, advancements in cloud computing technologies have seen businesses of all sizes migrating to the cloud to take advantage of lower costs, improved efficiency, and greater scalability. Today, more than a third of organizations have made cloud computing one of their top three investment priorities.
A cloud server is a virtual implementation of a physical server that delivers processing power, storage, applications, and other services to users over a remote network. Cloud servers support the same operating systems and provide the same functionality as traditional physical servers. They are typically deployed in three types of cloud environments.
A private cloud server exists within an organization’s infrastructure and supports the on-premise cloud solutions used by businesses to deliver cloud services to internal users via a local area network (LAN). Server resources are not shared with other organizations but remote and mobile employees can still access resources remotely through the internet or a VPN.
A company might choose to use private cloud servers for greater security and to retain more control over the management and maintenance of its cloud infrastructure.
Usually, when someone mentions a cloud server, they mean a public cloud server. Cloud servers are most commonly deployed via a third-party provider who owns and manages the data centers containing the servers and other IT resources made accessible to customers on demand.
The most common implementation of a cloud server is a virtual machine hosted on the infrastructure of a public cloud service provider and delivered to users using a web-based interface or console application. This is known as the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model.
Examples of the public cloud include Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine, and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
A dedicated cloud server, also called a dedicated instance, is a physical cloud server dedicated to a single user. Dedicated cloud servers are a good option when an organization needs to create a custom virtualization layer or wants to avoid the performance and security issues associated with multi-tenant solutions.
Dedicated cloud servers allow you to keep benefits of the public cloud such as on-demand provisioning of resources while giving you full control over server performance and keeping your resources physically separate from other users.
Cloud servers virtualize physical server resources and make them accessible to users remotely. The computing resources of the physical server are used to create and power multiple virtual servers, typically using a special virtualization software called a hypervisor.
Hypervisors abstract and pool the resources of the physical server to support the creation of one or more virtual servers. Virtual server resources can then be automatically delivered to one or more organizations via the cloud.
The provisioning of virtual servers, storage, and networking resources is also known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), one of the three foundational models of cloud resource delivery. The other two are Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).
PaaS is built upon IaaS but also provides customers with a cloud computing platform, including software and hardware tools for application development. In the SaaS model, a cloud vendor provides fully managed cloud-based software solutions that draw its computing resources from underlying cloud servers.
Private cloud servers work similarly to public cloud servers except that they reside on the company’s premises.
Many companies have moved away from traditional on-site server setups to benefit from the advantages of cloud technology. Cloud servers offer several benefits including:
With on-site physical servers, a business has to train employees to administer and maintain the server hardware and infrastructure. Physical data storage and hardware must also be purchased with future needs in mind. This means that you have to incur upfront costs for resources that you may not even need.
A cloud server solution managed and maintained by a third-party provider allows a company to eliminate the cost of building and maintaining its own IT infrastructure. Services are often offered on a pay-as-you-go subscription model allowing you to pay for resources based on current needs rather than future needs.
Companies can quickly scale up resources to increase performance, support new services or handle increased workloads. Resources can be scaled down again if demand decreases to avoid unnecessary long-term costs.
Cloud servers make it easier for users to access resources and allow IT administrators to avoid the time-consuming tasks associated with setting up and maintaining physical servers.
A cloud server can be set up in a matter of minutes and managed for a single application interface, reducing the need for IT teams to go from server to server to complete maintenance. Users with an internet connection and suitable device can access resources at any time from anywhere without having to be physically on the premises during business open hours.
Cloud servers provide uninterrupted access to data and software, making it easier for teams to collaborate, communicate and share data in real-time.
While traditional centralized data centers can facilitate remote access, users often face decreased performance and network latency issues. Cloud servers allow you to replicate workloads in different geographical regions to optimize performance and provide fail-over options to mitigate the risk of total server failure.
Distributing cloud server workloads to different geographic regions can place resources closer to your clients to reduce latency, facilitate compliance requirements and provide more reliable access to users.
At Otava, we have the knowledge and expertise to help you move your workloads to the cloud. Whether you need a private, public, or hybrid cloud solution, we can help you develop the optimal solution for your business needs. Contact us today for more information on how to get started.