You probably store your photos on the Cloud. You might have heard that online applications run on the Cloud. But how much do you know about this “Cloud”?
Introducing… the server!
Websites, online apps and online stores run on computers connected to the Internet. We call them servers (because they serve up the data you ask for!). These servers are pretty good at serving the visitors (aka website traffic) of the website, but they do have limitations. When a lot of visitors show up suddenly, they can’t serve them all fast enough. So under “high traffic”, the server begins to show “higher response times” or slows down.
Enter… more servers!
So the owners of the website must add more servers to keep their website up and running at all times. The problem is that each server costs money to run and maintain. Adding more servers multiplies this amount. So even though your website traffic goes up once in a blue moon, you are stuck with a large number of servers running all the time. It can become very expensive very quickly to “scale up” your online services.
Flexible Number of Servers on the Cloud!
The solution to this problem is a flexible service called the “Cloud”. Scalable Cloud Services have thousands of servers connected to high speed Internet. They rent these out on an as-needed basis. Rather than running your own servers, you can host your online store on a cloud service. They will charge you a minimum amount every month for hosting. Whenever you get a spike in visitor traffic, they will add more servers so all your visitors are served on-time. When the traffic goes back down, they will scale down your service. You will only be charged for the time and capacity you used.
Amazon (AWS), Microsoft (Azure), Google (Google Cloud), IBM (IBM Cloud) are some examples of companies that provide Scalable Cloud Services. There are many other such companies. Some serve the global market while others provide secure clouds within a country.
Problems with Cloud Computing
Online businesses use the Cloud because it is available on-demand. They can store digital information as well as provided as much computing power as needed. That’s the upside. Unfortunately, there are some downsides also:
- Higher likelihood of data security breaches
- Once you sign up with a service, it is very difficult to move to another Cloud provider
- You need to engage technical experts that specialize in Cloud Computing
Which cloud service do you think has the highest market share?