Cloud-hosted servers are the backbone of modern-day storage and management of data and applications. To join this giant market, you must solidify your basic understanding of cloud computing. One of the most fundamental things to learn is what is a cloud server.
In this article, we’ll explore cloud-based servers in terms of their definition, working principle, and key benefits. Keep reading to familiarize yourself with the concept. But to gain a more in-depth understanding of cloud servers and other cloud basics, consider enrolling in a cloud computing course.
What is a Cloud Server?
A cloud server is a virtual server created in a cloud computing environment accessible to anyone online. It is created by dividing a physical server into several virtual servers with the help of a virtualization software known as the hypervisor. Organizations can then use a fraction of the cloud server via a network and avoid expensive physical infrastructure. Cloud-based servers enable online data storage, website hosting, and program execution from anywhere worldwide.
The term ‘cloud’ implies the hidden nature of the physical server and the presence of a large intangible pool of resources that can be contributed to and utilized for its functions from anywhere. A cloud environment is imagined to be similar to the fluffy, semi-intangible nature of clouds that are visible to everyone. It is a massive infrastructure that collects, processes, and delivers data, similar to the clouds that collect water from the environment and release it in the form of rain.
The Workings of a Cloud Server
The organizations providing cloud computing services assemble physical servers in their data center. Their overall resources are pooled together and run through the hypervisor that divides them into multiple virtual servers or machines (VM). Every virtual server is an independent computing and storage system with a separate operating system, reboot provision, and application pool.
A prime example of how a cloud-hosted server works is using an Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud server by EPAM. EPAM is a software development organization that helps with strategy and advisory in cloud management, migration, infrastructure, and application development. As a cloud advisor to Maestro Technologies, it was entrusted with migrating the Maestro hybrid cloud management platform to another cloud-hosted server. They must use a cloud-based server that enables storage and hosting applications. AWS has many superior options for this very purpose.
A cloud-native application was redeveloped on AWS Graviton, using processors to run the cloud workloads in Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). This cloud server is also flexible regarding future expansion of features and services. The Maestro cloud management platform experienced a 10% improvement in Maestro performance and a 40% enhancement in the price-to-performance ratio.
The hows and whys of the process described in this example are expertly discussed in industry-recognized cloud computing bootcamps, designed to acquaint and train you in applying the workings of the cloud server. The curriculum includes cloud computing fundamentals and modes to utilize cloud-hosted servers for maximum output.
What is a Cloud Server, and What are the Types
The requirements and budget of using cloud systems vary from business to business. To cater to varying needs, we have different types of cloud-based servers:
cloud servers are fractions of the cloud provider’s infrastructure with pre-established parameters such as virtual CPUs and memory. The users can upgrade to more memory and more CPUs, but the server remains hosted on the local server at the cloud provider’s data center.
Private cloud servers encompass the servers created on data centers owned by a particular organization for their operations alone. These are not commercially available and are not accessible to all. The requirements of the organization’s various departments determine the allocation of resources and memory for these servers.
A dedicated cloud server is a physical server (or ‘bare-metal’) provided by the cloud service provider, and the entire server is available for only one organization. Even if it has an application layer, the cloud services are dedicated to that organization alone. It cannot be shared with any other user.
Hybrid cloud servers are a combination of private and public servers. Parts of them are available to be utilized by the public. For example, gaming companies allow gamers to access the game via a public cloud but keep the internal communication and operations on a private server.
Multicloud servers entail using at least two cloud services from different service providers. This server type ensures that the organization’s data is backed up in multiple locations and is accessible to everyone because certain cloud services are unavailable in certain parts of the world.
Further, the cloud-based servers are offered in three main types of cloud computing services:
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
The type depends on the features offered by the cloud provider. For example, if an organization chooses IaaS, its employees can manage applications, data, runtime, middleware, and operating systems. However, the service provider controls features such as virtualization, servers, networking, and storage.
Meanwhile, PaaS allows only the organization to control the applications and the data. In SaaS, the organization controls none of the features. The cloud provider allows access only to the software or applications hosted on the cloud. Salesforce is a prime example of SaaS, wherein the organization develops the software and releases it for other organizations, but it controls the cloud features.
Cloud Server vs. Traditional Server
There are several reasons cloud-based servers are coming to the fore in preference to traditional servers. Here are some of the key differences between them.
|From anywhere in the world
|Only when accessing the organization’s network
|Data redundancy and backup
|Conducted on the cloud, making it possible from everywhere
|Can be conducted only on the organization’s network, restricting the backup of files prepared outside of the network.
|Place of hosting
|External servers owned by third-party provider
|Physical hard drives and website servers of the organization
|Delivery of services
|Via Internet on multiple servers
|Via local servers
|Low cost due to the absence of a requirement of physical servers
|High cost due to purchase, operation, and maintenance of physical servers
|Can be upgraded as and when required
|Needs substantial investment and planning for potential upscaling
|Requires fast and reliable internet connection for continued access
|Does not internet connection to access data
|More storage space, with the option to expand
|Less storage space, requiring financial investment for expansion
|May interfere with the operations of the cloud due to the sharing of resources allocated by the hypervisor
|No noisy neighbors as the physical server is fully utilized only by the organization
Why Use a Cloud-based Server?
Apart from the features mentioned in the previous section, there are certain benefits to using a cloud server. Here’s a list of some of them.
- Immediate setup: A cloud-hosted server can be set up in a matter of hours efficiently and economically without wasting time and resources on research, purchase, and installation of physical servers.
- Flexibility: Several categories of files and applications can be hosted on cloud servers. If a particular server cannot do so, it can be upscaled or modified to enable additional features.
- Security: Servers in the cloud are the provider’s responsibility, which ensures a continual exercise to improve the security of the cloud.
- Economical: The small- and medium-sized organizations primarily dependent on SaaS but do not have the resources to sustain a physical server can utilize cloud-hosted servers and still be capable of expanding.
While knowing these benefits is good, you can learn practical ways to achieve them through reputed cloud computing courses. By working on capstone projects and real-life scenarios, you can put your knowledge into practice.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud-based Servers
Like any other entity, a cloud server has pros and cons. Let’s look at some of them.
- An on-site physical server is not required.
- Cloud-based servers are reliable as their operation does not need to be stopped for an upgrade.
- There are multiple options in the application features of the cloud servers. If a feature is not available, there is always an economical option to quickly switch to another server or combine two or more clouds.
- Data backup can be as frequent as required.
- The data recovery cost may be substantial and not cost-effective if the organization does not require instant data recovery and constant uptime.
- Lack of internet may interfere with the operations as the cloud-based servers need internet access.
- There are limits on the data, the number of applications that can be hosted, and the availability of certain features.
What are the Best Cloud Servers?
There is no one ‘best’ cloud server, as it boils down to an organization’s specific needs and goals. For example, a company with open-source developers would prefer AWS, while that requiring primarily SaaS would go for Microsoft Azure.
Here’s a list of the top cloud service providers that could be your potential employers:
- Microsoft Azure
- Google Cloud platform
- IBM Cloud
- Oracle Cloud
- RackSpace Cloud
- Alibaba Cloud
Solidify Your Knowledge of Cloud Servers
Are you looking forward to exploring cloud computing more? An expert-led cloud computing bootcamp will equip you with an in-depth theoretical base and substantial practice to give you a competitive edge in the cloud computing profession.
You will be mentored by industry peers and receive a certificate of completion to prove your capabilities.
Contact us today for further information about a career that could place you in a six-figure bracket!
What is the difference between an on-premises server and a cloud server?
A server is a general term for an entity that stores data, hosts applications, and enables computing. VPS hosting has one physical server divided into numerous smaller servers. The cloud server is a server that is hosted on external physical and virtual infrastructure but can be accessed via the internet by anyone around the world.
What is the purpose of using a cloud-based server?
A cloud server is used for developing and hosting applications, data storage, and computing seamlessly, without the restrictions of place and time.
Is AWS a cloud server?
AWS is a cloud service provider that allows access to cloud-hosted servers with various features for software development, data storage, and more.
Who manages cloud-based servers?
The third-party organization that provides the servers manages them. However, administrators can manage resources through an online portal, scaling them up or down as needed.
Is Google Drive a cloud server?
Google Drive is not a cloud server but a cloud-based storage service that users can use to store and access various files across devices. However, that data is stored on servers in Google Cloud.