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Cloud Hosting can reduce your IT infrastructure costs

The term cloud hosting or cloud computing consists of Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software and information technology resources are provided to computers and Internet servers on demand, a bit similar to the power grid that we use everyday and that we tend to take for granted, until the next power outage happens.

Cloud hosting and cloud computing is a paradigm shift following the major transition from large and costly mainframe computers to nimble and lower cost client–server technology in the early '80s. Details are abstracted from the users, who no longer have need for expertise in, or control over, the technology infrastructure "in the cloud" that supports them.

The term cloud hosting can be summarized in two short sentences: You host a Web-based application or resource somewhere on a server in a data center. You don't need to know where that server is located or how it works, as long as it works. End of the story. Cloud hosting describes a new information delivery model for IT services based on the Internet, and it typically involves over-the-Web provisioning of dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources.

Ask for your free Cloud Hosting and Colo White Paper.

Sun Hosting now offers Ubuntu 10.10, a Linux distribution that was specifically optimized for cloud hosting and cloud computing. It will be available in early January 2011.

Cloud hosting is a byproduct and consequence of the ease-of-access to remote servers provided by the Internet. This frequently takes the form of Internet-based software or end-user applications that people can access and use through a Web browser as if it were a program directly installed locally on their own computer.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provides a somewhat more objective and specific definition of cloud hosting. The term "cloud" is used as a metaphor for the Internet, based on the cloud drawing used in the past to represent a telephone network, and later to depict the Internet in computer network diagrams as an abstraction of the underlying infrastructure it represents.

Typical cloud hosting providers such as Sun Hosting deliver common business applications online that are accessed from another Web service or software like a Web browser, while the software and data are stored on servers. A key element of cloud computing is dynamic customization and the creation of a user-defined experience.

Most cloud computing infrastructures consist of services delivered through common data centers and built on servers. Clouds often appear as single points of access for consumers' computing needs. Commercial offerings are generally expected to meet quality of service (QoS) requirements of customers, and typically include service level agreements (SLAs).

Cloud computing customers do not own the physical infrastructure, instead avoiding capital expenditure by renting usage from a third-party provider such as Sun Hosting. They consume resources as a service and pay only for resources that they use. Many cloud-computing offerings employ the utility computing model, which is analogous to how traditional utility services such as electricity are consumed, whereas others bill on a subscription basis.

Sharing perishable and intangible computing power among multiple tenants can improve utilization rates, as servers are not unnecessarily left idle, which can reduce costs significantly while increasing the speed of application development. A side-effect of this approach is that overall computer usage rises dramatically, as customers do not have to engineer for peak load limits. Additionally, increased high-speed bandwidth makes it possible to receive the same data and at the same time.

The cloud is becoming increasingly associated with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as in many cases they cannot justify or afford the large capital expenditure of traditional IT resources. SMEs also typically have less existing infrastructure, less bureaucracy, more flexibility and smaller capital budgets for purchasing in-house technology. Similarly, SMEs in emerging markets are typically unburdened by established legacy infrastructures, thus reducing the complexity of deploying cloud solutions.

Cloud computing users avoid capital expenditure (CapEx) on hardware, software and IT services when they pay a provider only for what they use. Consumption is usually billed on a utility (resources consumed, like electricity) or subscription (time-based, like a newspaper) basis with little or no upfront cost. Other benefits of this approach are low barriers to entry, shared infrastructure and costs, low management overhead and immediate access to a much broader range of applications.

Users can usually terminate their contract at any time, thereby avoiding return on investment risk and uncertainty, and the IT services are often covered by service level agreements (SLAs).

The strategic importance of information technology is diminishing as it becomes standardized and less expensive. The cloud computing paradigm shift is similar to the displacement of electricity generators by electricity grids early in the 20th century.

Although companies might be able to save on upfront capital expenditures, they might not save much and might actually pay more for operating expenses. In situations where the capital expense would be relatively small, or where the organization has more flexibility in their capital budget than their operating budget, the cloud model might not make great economic sense.

Other factors impacting the scale of any potential cost savings include the efficiency of a company's data center as compared to the cloud vendor's, the company's existing operating costs, the level of adoption of cloud computing and the type of functionality being hosted in the cloud.

Sun Hosting strongly believes that Cloud Hosting and Cloud Computing is here to stay, and that rapidly-advancing Internet technology will simply accelerate cloud hosting services even more going forward.

Sun Hosting offers professional Cloud Hosting services in Canada and the U.S., and can help your company cut down on IT infrastructure costs and still provide the same level of services to your users. Simply contact us for an appointment and a Sun Hosting professional consultant will be in touch with you.


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