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Cloud Server


niche
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I recently heard that I can get a server in the cloud for very very little bandwith cost. All I have to do is add software. I'm told instructions to do this are available. What are the issues with the cloud approach?

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Are you sure they're talking about a cloud? Sounds more like a virtual private server - you get one of a few virtual machines running on a single real server.A cloud is supposed to be more like a cross between a web host and CDN - you buy one or more hardware units with software you want to have on each, and the provider takes care to keep them all in sync, and give you any additional resources you want pretty much immediately on demand or (if you've asked for it) automatically give you resources as needed up to a certain limit you're willing to pay.The issues with a virtual machine are the same ones as a real server - it's a single server. It can only handle up to a few thousand simultaneous requests, which actually isn't that bad, unless maybe you're making the next YouTube or a "self service" site for a public institution that has very strict, yet short deadlines.The issues with a cloud are mostly financial ones, because you're not just paying for the bandwidth and a fixed monthly fee, but also for the delegated resources, which can go higher than in a normal hosting.

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I just called a vender and it's cloud and unmanaged. How can the cloud cost more? I'd think one of the big points should be that it will cost less. Much less. Though, that was the thought behind Credit Default Swaps.

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I just called a vender and it's cloud and unmanaged.
What is that supposed to mean?
How can the cloud cost more? I'd think one of the big points should be that it will cost less. Much less. Though, that was the thought behind Credit Default Swaps.
The big selling point is a big reduction on the "Total cost of ownership". What this means is that getting a single cloud account with several dynamically delegated servers is far cheaper than buying the equivalent amount of constantly dedicated web servers, and a CDN.A single web host with no CDN is still a cheaper option than a cloud, although less powerful => unsuitable for massive scale sites, but still good for small, medium, and (if the user base is not constantly at the site) even some large sites.
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CDN, no CDN. Is that a question I need to consider? What's the difference from a user's point of view?

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A CDN (Content Delivery Network) is a collection of web servers for delivering static content (images, stylesheets, etc.) distributed at different locations over the globe.When a server is closer to a client (in terms of network hops that is, but those are typically tied to a geographical distance), the speed is noticeably faster from the user's point of view.A good cloud provider SHOULD basically work like a CDN that can serve static and dynamic content alike.

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What is that supposed to mean?
In this case "cloud and unmanaged." means you get virtual machine with memory and hard space and you build it out from there. I'm under the impression there's guidance, chat, forums, etc for help. Say, something like that can be leased for around $10/mo, it could be a good learning experience provided it's treated as a learning experience and not something I need to depend on right away. What do you think?
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I think this is the very definition of a Virtual Private Server - the very thing I mentioned in my first post.It's a nice offer, and indeed, it's useful for learning... but it's not a cloud. Your provider has tried to use the term in order to mislead ignorant new comers. It's a marketing plot if you will.

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So, if I'm following you , it's the availability of a CDN that's important, right?

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The spread-ness (if that's even a word) is more important, i.e. the more diverse kinds of locations the different servers are in.A CDN that has servers in only 2 locations, both of which are 99.9999% available is a worse option than a CDN with servers in 20 locations that are overall 98.0% available.

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So, I have ask how many CDNs, percent CDN availability, and locations. What other critical questions should I ask?

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So, I have ask how many CDNs, percent CDN availability, and locations. What other critical questions should I ask?
You mean what questions you should ask to your "cloud" provider? He's not really a cloud provider, and therefore not a CDN, so there's nothing to ask.A CDN is a separate service that could be used alongside traditional hosting, but is never bundled (if it is bundled, we're probably talking about a cloud). See Wikipedia's article on CDNs for a list of some CDN providers.CDNs typically don't disclose their number of locations, because they all know long time CDN providers like Akamai will beat them on that criteria. Downtimes are rarely, if ever, discussed, because a CDN can claim that your site will always be on. They can indeed say this honestly (unlike hosting providers, which are forced to compete for the number of nines behind the decimal point), except that "always on" doesn't tell you from how many locations. For all you know, they could have times where there's only 1 server in China... your site is still on, but speed is a different matter, which depends on the number and availability of nodes, neither of which is disclosed.But assuming that you're looking at actual CDN providers... whether they allow you to use your DNS names is also an interesting thing. If they don't, you'll have to link your static resources from odd domain names, like "client13947.provider.com". The ability to use your own DNS name with the CDN is typically something you need to pay extra for.
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If you want cloud hosting, take a look at Amazon EC2 and Microsoft Azure: http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/http://www.windowsazure.com/ You can choose your OS with either of them. Even Microsoft will sell you a cloud hosting package that runs Linux. http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/manage/linux/ From my point of view, the major downside is that it is unmanaged. I certainly prefer managed hosting, I want to be able to call someone who knows way more about servers than I do and have them help me out instead of being responsible for the stability and security of the system myself.

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