Cloud Hosting Platforms Comparison

posted by Archie @ 9:17 AM
January 19, 2011

Not that long ago we published an article introducing you into cloud hosting. This relatively new, yet powerful and promising technology becomes more widely used in hosting of small and medium online projects day by day. It means that this kind of hosting services gains users trust and requires less technical skills than one might think. Additionally, it makes prospect customers expect further price reduction, which in turn may increase the sales of this product.

If you want to make sure that all your plans regarding your hosting ground get realized, it is vital to do some pre-sales work targeted at finding out as much technical information as possible. Many things about the technology in use are usually available in extended feature list of packages offered by a hosting provider, at their corporate Wiki or FAQ documents. Today we are going to talk about the primary parameter to look after while choosing your cloud host – platform.

Platform for Cloud Shared Hosting

Mentioning small to medium websites was done on purpose, since the owners of such projects form the main layer of shared hosting customers. Being well optimized many websites, even relatively resource intensive ones, can exist on a shared server not requiring any upgrades and without causing any overloads. But what if the account on the server caused minor loads or simply produced load spikes during unexpected visitor rate increase? Virtually it might stay on the same server, if the latter had more resources… or if the account had a fixed limit on each server resource provided. Of course, this would cause slowdowns and even short downtime for the specific account holder, but considering the fact no other server users were affected, no one would ever suspend such an account.

In fact, we really get a shared hosting platform capable of hosting the same or a larger number of users than on a simple shared server and enhanced with dedicated resource distribution – this sounds interesting. Which technology do they use for such solutions? Since it’s a shared hosting platform, you will hardly find any clustered solutions with a lot of physical servers involved. There comes a question, how to create a simpler yet reliable cloud hosting platform, using one physical machine. Composing this review we decided to compare two solutions of such kind.

Standalone Server with CloudLinux OS

If you give a quick look at what the CloudLinux OS is, you will find out that it’s just a CentOS-based build with special patches. The way those patches work, however, truly confirm the “Cloud” prefix in the name of this OS – namely they utilize a kernel level technology enabling per user resource limitation. As a result, no account can use more than the fixed amount of resources assigned. Reminds of the way OpenVZ VPS servers work, doesn’t it? Yes it does, owing to CloudLinux OS all server users are isolated from each other so anytime some of them go down, all the other user accounts stay stable.

Apart from those user-level limitations CloudLinux supports resource-per-application limits adjustment. Thus, if you have several projects hosted under one account, you can distribute the limits, depending on websites priority. Say you’ve got a serious business website that has to be constantly online and you have a corporate blog that may cause load spikes during promos you run or whatsoever. Well, you limit your blog, so next time it’s overloaded it simply goes down on its own letting your business website keep working with no interruptions.

As far as you can see, CloudLinux OS is something that is worth being given a try as a cloud hosting platform. It however has a sole disadvantage that may stop you – your account exists within single environment, so any OS corruption may cause serious downtime or even data loss.

VPS Cloud Hosting

Unlike CloudLinux, VPS Cloud platforms do not provide single environment. Well, the environment you work with is actually single, but in fact it is supported but several VPS servers (VPS nodes). The number of nodes forms the amount of resources available for you. The more nodes you have, the more powerful your platform is… and the more redundant. If your CloudLinux environment goes down, you’ll experience downtime unless the issue is fixed. VPS Cloud never goes down off hand – each node takes care of your environment, restoring all services with minimal downtime, then the nodes that have failed recover and your system gets completely stabilized.

Building cloud on VPS first of all means providing utmost scalability. You can adjust the number of available nodes anytime you need more power, or vice versa – less expenses. Taking to account the initial cost of VPS-based cloud hosting – such scalability can really be considered vital. You may wonder why VPS cloud hosting is so expensive compared to CloudLinux hosting solutions – the reason is hardware. VPS cloud hosting is based on XEN hypervisor technology that implements usage of a more powerful carrier server. Taking into account the fact that each carrier should be able to bear over 20 VPS nodes at minimum – for optimal ROI, the physical machine requires a great shared storage – this involves usage of RAID array solutions with fast (usually SCSI) disks.

What you get for all this – is a completely isolated environment with a way more powerful resource base initially ready for higher loads. Even the lack of root access doesn’t sound like a disadvantage – you can anyway have your environment adjusted, at least with the help of the technical support team of your host.

The Bottomline

Although two platforms look different, you can use both of them for cloud hosting. Can one really call CloudLinux a platform for cloud hosting? Yes, if you need to provide affordable shared hosting with enhanced stability. What is VPS cloud then? It is a solution for more resource intensive projects, but if you are a reseller – you get the same platform as those who choose CloudLinux. Definitely, you are backed by a load of nodes that make your service rock solid but from the point of view of the end user both platforms will look like inexpensive hosting grounds with improved stability and reliability. Thus, if you are looking for a reliable cloud hosting solution – you should check out the platform the service is based on. CloudLinux is going to be cheaper; VPS based cloud hosting may be more expensive, though powerful and redundant, but you can be sure – both services are based on utmost high performance hardware that is monitored and thus secured from failures.

If referring to our personal point of view – Cloud VPS is a more redundant and reliable solution. Taking into account the fact that we at SiteValley.com are looking into starting offering cloud hosting, too – let us announce that having analyzed the given niche we are on our way setting up the first VPS node.

Tags: , ,