Cloud computing has taken a new twist with the widespread launch of various cloud platforms such as Amazon EC2, GoGrid and others. Cloud computing involves storing a computer’s entire memory systems and processors remotely. The user logs on to the Internet and retrieves an entire operating system run on a remote system. The advantages are convenience and security. Users can store their information and projects away from their physical location and access them when they need to. Cloud servers differ noticeably from traditional virtual private server environments.
A virtual private server, or VPS, is a special type of server created through a process called virtualization. Typically, a server is assigned one task at a time. Servers are the nodes that connect the Internet together. Web browsers retrieve the pages they display from servers. Virtualization effectively creates multiple virtual servers that use the same physical machine. A program called a hypervisor is used to interface with each virtual server and keep the others unaware of one another’s existence. Virtualization increases the productivity of the server at the risk of overloading the memory and processing power. Every server has limits that can be reached through virtualization.
Cloud computing can use virtual private server platforms, but this creates several problems. First of all, the hypervisor may keep each server separated, but the unfortunate result is that VPS platforms tend to be oversold. This leads to the misallocation of resources that can cause server crashes and memory malfunctions. The worst-case scenario is total data loss from such a situation. Cloud servers that do not use virtualization perform much better because their resources are dedicated to one user at a time. That being said, some forms of virtualization can mimic traditional servers in terms of performance.
Cloud servers provide a dedicated central processing unit (CPU) allocation along with dedicated memory. Cloud servers are almost never oversold. A hidden benefit is that plenty of servers allow users to grab extra unutilized CPU cycles. Combining virtualization with cloud servers can yield some neat advantages. Virtualization enables a user to launch a new server instance from any server already on their account. Storing sensitive data is also easier since storage is on the host server. Data is preserved in case of an unexpected malfunction, such as server failure, so the data can be retrieved once the server is brought back online.
Some hosting companies can accomplish this through their unique implementations of a hypervisor program. Open source applications are becoming much more popular as users and companies seek to cut down on borrowing costs. Open source hypervisors often lend themselves to unique interpretations. Virtualization combined with cloud server technology is opening the door to a new era. The way servers are being used will change as cloud computing begins to catch on, despite lingering security concerns. Cloud servers free a business or a consumer from remaining in one physical place.
Blake A Fields