Cloud Computing is Internet based development and use of computer technology.
Cloud computing conceptual diagram

Cloud Computing is Internet based development and use of computer technology (The Cloud being the metaphor for the Internet). It is a form of computing where resources are provided as a service over the internet to users who need not have knowledge, expertise or control over the technology infrastructure that supports them.

It enables the on demand allocation or de-allocation of CPU, Storage and network bandwidth and has the ability to meet the scalability requirements to suit user demands quickly without users having to engineer for peak loads.

Cloud computing is the convergence of three major trends:

1) Virtualisation – where applications are separated from infrastructure

2) Utility computing – where server capacity is accessed across a grid as a variably priced shared service

3) Software as a service – Where applications are available on demand on a subscription basis.

What is Cloud Hosting?

Cloud Hosting (often also referred to as clustered hosting) is a step up from the shared hosting infrastructure that is commonly used today. By handling security, load balancing and server resources virtually you are no longer restricted to the limits of one physical piece of hardware. In basic terms, online operations are not limited to a single server, they have access to the processing power of a number of servers that are distributed in real time.

In a physical environment e.g. a web site is limited to the resource constraints that is housed within the physical unit/server (RAM, processing power, bandwidth etc). The concept of a cloud infrastructure no longer has this limitation – you can purchase as much computing power as you need from a virtually inexhaustible resource. The nature of the infrastructure means that scaling up and down is seemless and thus spikes in traffic aren’t problematic.

Load-balancing occurs at the software level and is dynamically load-balanced across a number of servers. Servers can be added or removed from the cluster with no impact or downtime on hosted applications meaning less disruption for customers. The cloud architecture has the ability to provide small and medium enterprises the stability and resilience of a web hosting architecture that a few years ago only huge corporate organizations could obtain through huge IT expenditure.

What technologies does the Cloud use?

It is quite a general concept that incorporates software as a service (SaaS) and Web 2.0 among other recent technology trends, where the common theme is reliance on the Internet for satisfying the computing needs of users.

What infrastructure is the Cloud based on?

The majority of cloud computing infrastructure is built on servers with different levels of virtualization technologies delivering reliable services through data centres. The services are accessible anywhere in the world, with The Cloud appearing as a single point of access for all the computing needs of consumers.

How long have Cloud Technologies been around?

The underlying concept dates back to 1960 when John McCarthy opined that “computation may someday be organized as a public utility”; indeed it shares characteristics with service bureaus which date back to the 1960s. The term cloud had already come into commercial use in the early 1990s to refer to large ATM networks.By the turn of the 21st century, the term “cloud computing” had started to appear, although most of the focus at this time was on Software as a service.

What are compute cycles?

Compute cycles measure how much processing time your applications require on the cloud. Using 10,000 compute cycles in a month is roughly equivalent to running a server with a 2.8 GHz modern processor for the same period of time.

How many compute cycles will my applications use?

Since web applications vary so greatly, it is hard to make a perfect guess. However, there are some guidelines that can help. First, you can think of 10,000 compute cycles as being about the same processing power as you’d get from a decent dedicated server or Amazon EC2 instance. For example 10,000 compute cycles would power:

* about 11 million page views of
* about 25 million requests for a static 15KB image
* about 2.1 million page views using a database-driven content management system

How far can I really scale?

In truth, there are no limits with Cloud Infrastructure. You can push hundreds of millions of requests on single domains. However your site will need to be compatible with the Cloud. Please refer to our technology section to ensure you can run your applications successfully on the Cloud.