When talking about web hosting, it is impossible to avoid the term ‘server’. So what is a server? And how does it work? In IT, there are actually two definitions of the term. The traditional server is the software for network services, but more recently the word has also been used to describe the corresponding hardware used to carry out server programs. Here is our overview of the most common...
Managed cloud hosting: flexible server structures at the click of a button
When it comes to managing resources, proper planning is one of the main tasks of any company. It doesn’t matter whether it’s capital, work materials, or personnel: if you don’t calculate in advance and regularly update your business processes, you can expect bottlenecks in material and personnel and financial losses in the long term. One thing that many business owners are quick to forget in the planning phase is hosting. The internal IT infrastructure, business and customer data, and not to mention the concrete web project itself require corresponding server structures, which in turn, depending on the size and growth of the company, places very different demands on the necessary hardware.
Finding the right hosting provider and leasing the right server resources is often a very difficult task. If resources aren’t high enough, you need to recalculate and reorder very quickly, or you risk limiting your output. If resources are too high, often a large amount will go unused and so budget is unnecessarily wasted. One solution to this problem that is growing in popularity is what’s known as managed cloud hosting. It’s characterised by simple and fully flexible scalability, meaning you only get the resources you require and you can request to change them at short notice.
Managed cloud hosting: definition
Managed cloud hosting is a modern solution for leasing server resources. The term itself is made up of two components: the first part (‘managed’) refers to the fact that the setup, configuration, and maintenance of not only the hardware, but also the system and application software like the operating system, the content management system, or the analysis tools, are managed by the host. The user normally has administrative access (root access), but mostly interacts with the rented server via a web interface.
The second part of the term reveals what the leased service resources are. Cloud hosting differs from dedicated hosting in that it doesn’t always use the same hardware. Instead, it’s made up of a compound structure of many, very different servers. These are networked to each other and so form a common ‘cloud’. Providers use the term cloud hosting both for when these resources are distributed to different servers online as well as when they represent virtualised resources on a private server in the data center. For this reason, you should make sure you understand which form of managed cloud hosting your potential providers offer, or in other words, which server locations are involved. This is the only way to be sure of where your data will be saved, which can be very important for both data protection and performance.
Managed cloud server – advantages of this modern resource solution
Managed cloud hosting brings together the advantages of professional server management and cloud computing – a term that refers to shared computer processing resources on demand.
Strictly speaking, the following three elements of cloud computing are used in this hosting solution:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): it doesn’t matter whether the virtualised server resources are shared over the internet or come from a private data center – cloud hosting services always make hardware infrastructure available for different projects as a matter of course.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS): the system platform is built on the cloud infrastructure. This means all system-technical software elements that can be used to run applications like a web server or web development tools.
- Software as a Service (SaaS): managed cloud hosting means you don’t need to worry about the installation and updating of your applications software. Usually, you simply select your choice of applications like content management systems or online shop software from the dashboard and install them with one click onto your rented cloud server.
It’s not just web projects that can be made a reality by using services like these as a basis. Cloud servers represent an excellent alternative for storage and backup locations for all types of files as well as other business applications. The ‘managed’ component of this service is guaranteed to save you a lot of time and effort, no matter what purpose you use the hosting environment for in the end. And since all your data will be in the cloud, you can access it from anywhere with any device, provided you have an active internet connection.
The most decisive advantage that cloud hosting offers when compared with alternative solutions is the ease of scalability across all resources. You can increase or decrease your storage space, processing performance, or random access memory in real time, allowing you to react to your company’s developments and continue to optimise your resources. If you’re responsible for a newly founded company, or an operator of an online shop, you’re likely to profit particularly highly from this option. This is because, as a newly founded company manager, you’re likely to find it difficult to estimate your resource requirements due to uncertainty over your future, while as an online shop operator, you’ll probably suffer from daily and seasonal fluctuations in your website visitors. In these instances, a precise live tuning of resources that can be calculated in real time is the perfect solution. And the typical billing model of managed cloud hosting is pay-as-you-use, meaning you don’t need to worry.
How secure is managed cloud hosting?
Cloud services are regularly in the public eye, usually due to concerns about existing security gaps and potential risks. So it’s perhaps unsurprising that cloud hosting is often viewed rather critically by customers. But the protection of a managed cloud server isn’t any more of a security risk than other hosting solutions available. In fact, thanks to the mobility and independence of certain hardware, some view cloud hosting as even more secure than its alternatives. And the established hosts in cloud hosting can focus fully on protecting customer data, as it’s in their interests. In this way, a rented cloud server is normally more secure than other solutions like a self-hosted dedicated server, for example.
Problems regarding security only occur in cases when the cloud concept also includes external servers outside of the host’s data center. Here, the following two aspects may raise some concerns:
- The hosting provider relinquishes control over security of the server. This would then mean that the parties involved would need to initiate the necessary steps to protect user data.
- The server locations may be spread around the world. Ignoring the fact that the data access speed will be affected, multiple locations should raise legitimate concerns as to whether all personal data is being properly protected.
The optimal use of managed cloud hosting services
Once you’ve found a hosting service that meets your requirements of data protection and security and also supports the software you use, it’s time to choose your personalised start setup. It’s helpful if you already have a rough idea of the hardware resources you need, as this can help get your new project off to the best possible start. But since you have the option of changing your performance packet at any time, you’ve got some leeway here. Managed cloud hosting providers usually offer a number of fixed tariff models with generous perks, if for example, you pay for a bulk amount of resources in advance. But if you opt for a model like this, you’ll only save money if you actually use these resources. So make sure you calculate proper estimates in advance to ensure you’re not wasteful.
Choosing the right payment model is the toughest question when it comes to managed cloud hosting. Most users tend to find that they can only determine the optimal solution for their web project once they’ve analysed monthly or even seasonal resource usage figures and then calculated exact requirement figures. But in cases of strong growth or a very varied use of resources, we strongly recommend you choose a cloud host offering the flexible pay-as-you-use model.