The word 'cloud computing' is not a new term anymore. The concepts pertaining to it have been understood by the people in the industry, even though many people associated with relating industries would still not be aware of these. However, those who have even a little interest in it or are curious about it and have sought to gain some information on it would be aware of its many benefits.

Benefits

Let us discuss the benefits first. Cloud computing, or Cloud hosting in the hosting terminology, is known to increase the power of computation. The websites which are hosted on cloud are able to provide a much better user experience.

These are less amenable to the damages related to servers since the files are not hosted on one server but on the cloud comprising of many servers. In the event of failure of any one server, the other comes into play. Therefore, the risk of outages due to issues with servers in minimized to practically zero level.

The most beneficial aspect of cloud based hosting is that of flexible pricing structure. You pay as per your usage of the bandwidth. Therefore, it is perfect hosting model for those businesses that see cyclical fluctuations in demand levels. Hence, there is better cost efficiency.

Characteristic Features

Pooling of Resources: Since there are a number of servers on which cloud architecture is developed, there is a pooling of resources. This means that there is efficient usage of server resources by being a part of the overall architecture. This is done even when there is a centralized effort to manage all IT tasks but usage is spread across different resources.

Virtualization: One of the most important concepts pertaining to clouds is that of virtualization. This is the key factor behind enhanced computational power as well as total safety of operations and data. In common parlance, cloud services are said to be extensions of virtual private servers with differences in scale of operations.

Scalability: Since the usage of cloud hosting resources in as per demand levels, there is no need for maintaining a provision for high storage or bandwidth to meet peak time requirements. This feature of scalability as per demand levels, allows cloud hosting environments to be more cost-effective than conventional hosting requirements. This feature is especially beneficial for the start-up companies in IT sector since they do not have to incur costs for server resources which lie unused for large part of the day.

Accessibility: Since the computational power is divided across different servers in a cloud, it allows for running different functions on various devices and platforms. The safety and security characteristics make it possible to keep data accessible at all times.

On-demand Pricing: Pricing of cloud hosting services can be understood by comparing it with the way you pay for electricity. Electricity flows from the grid (an array of underlying servers in case of cloud hosting) and is transmitted to your place through electric wires connected by poles (broadband network in case of hosting). The payment of electricity bill is as per how much has been consumed which is comparable to pricing of the cloud services. You do not pay electricity bill for the poles or the wire which have been connected. Similarly, you do not pay for the server resources as such but for the resources consumed.

Defining Cloud Architecture

Cloud architecture could be of many types. Theoretically, there is no limit to which this can be developed. However, these architectures can be developed for exclusive use of one organization for its internal working or even for public at large. Many organizations could have it for both. Organizations invest a lot in developing their cloud hosting architectures on the basis of their current and future requirements. Basically, developing an architecture defines what type of server configurations, software and applications are required at what all location and how these are interconnected with broadband networking.

If an organization wants to develop it for meeting its own ends, there is high level of customization involved. If it is developed by hosting service providers, then a more comprehensive approach and a well-defined strategy of development needs to be evolved since it involves very high costs.

Private and Public Clouds

Private cloud environments are those which are developed for exclusive use of an organization and which enables it to use its server resources (at same or different locations) efficiently. This could also be termed as private when these are used for internal working of the employees. Generally, private clouds are developed on-premises.

Public clouds, on the other hand, permit people of public to use the server resources for working or running applications. These might be offered for free to the users or these might entail payment of some charges.