Posted on October 11, 2014

Scaling Your Website Resources in the Cloud

One main advantage of the cloud is the ease in scalability. Small businesses can save money on technology resources, and large businesses can scale up as revenue and customers increase. Before you spend too much money on IT resources, you should understand the difference between the two types of cloud scaling.

Vertical Scaling

Vertical scaling is the most affordable, and it’s the easiest for most business owners. Vertical scaling adds resources to your server without the need for new machines. For instance, if you need more hard drive space, you add storage to your server. Need more memory? Add memory to your server. This option is great for website owners who need just a little boost in server performance.

Good cloud hosts let you vertically scale your servers from a remote desktop panel. You can add memory, hard drive space, CPU power or networking resources to your server using cloud management software. Because you only pay for server resources used, technology costs scale proportionally with your current business growth.

Horizontal Scaling

Horizontal scaling is more expensive, but it’s also more powerful and useful for big businesses. Horizontal scaling adds entire new servers to your web farm or business network. Virtual horizontal scaling is also available in the cloud, but your cloud host sometimes needs to physically add more servers to your farm, which takes more time than vertical scaling.  The steps needed for dynamic addition of more servers depends on your host provider, but the cloud has advanced enough where most providers have the ability to virtually build new server racks quickly.

In addition to servers, horizontal scaling adds hardware to other network resources. For instance, if you add servers to your existing web farm, you probably need a load balancer. A load balancer directs traffic to the next available web server in a web farm. You use a load balancer with two or more servers, and it eliminates downtime if one server crashes. This type of service is better for big businesses, but it’s more expensive than having one web server.

Advantages of Cloud Hosting Over Other Hosts

Cloud Hosting is the latest buzzword in the hosting industry. If your business is small and just starting out, shared hosting is sufficient at the beginning. However, real businesses need faster and more efficient hardware, and cloud computing puts hosting control in the hands of the webmaster. Instead of changing your hardware contract, you can add and remove server resources as you need them. This convenience is the advantage of the cloud.

If you plan to grow your business within a few months, the cloud is probably the best option. Shared hosting is fine for new businesses or webmasters who just plan to build a hobby site. However, your site is placed on a server with hundreds of other webmasters, so you fall victim to issues other webmasters cause the server. If the server goes down because of one site, you are stuck waiting for the host to bring up the server. With cloud computing hosts, other webmasters don’t affect your website.

While the cost might be slightly higher initially, cloud hosts have several more advantages than regular host providers. If you want more freedom with your hosting choices, choose cloud computing as your platform.

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