Fundamental Basis of Cloud Hosting Platforms
IaaS-based cloud web hosting platforms provide customers with complete control over their web hosting experience, with emphasis put on the operating system used and the resources of virtual machines. eNlight from ESDS is a prime example of an IaaS implementation because our cloud hosting clients are able to develop their virtual machines with the resource that they wish to see, as opposed to choosing a pre-defined web hosting plan as outlined by other forms of web hosting. IaaS implementations can provide businesses of all sizes with a variation of benefits such as:
- The pay per use configuration of this cloud platform basis ensures that customers are only billed for the resources that they are using, along with any additional features purchased to support their VMs
- Scalability is offered through the option to order additional capacity for your virtual machines as demand increases; with eNlight you will also find that auto-scaling is supported providing vertical and horizontal scaling
- Reliability and security are two features that IaaS can offer as additional control can be offered to clients, putting them in a position similar to what a dedicated server provides.
Additional control of particular networking components is also a possibility because to some degree it is important for businesses to have control over factors external to their cloud virtual machines. Popular options chosen by larger users of cloud web hosting can include:
- Setting up a virtual LAN between multiple virtual machines in the cloud can create a secure communications channel between these servers
- Access to routers can be provided to offer load balancing in the cloud for websites that experience high volumes of traffic
- APIs can be built into the software layer to offer advanced control of virtual machines from third-party interfaces, whether these are desktop applications or web applications.
ESDS utilizes the concept of IaaS with our eNlight cloud hosting services, one of the most advanced cloud hosting platforms available today. We also offer private cloud solutions for situations where a shared cloud doesn’t provide the desired level of control.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS services related to applications or services that are hosted in a central location where the user doesn’t have control over the operating system layer or any of the hardware involved. The best example of PaaS is where hosted Microsoft Exchange email Server is offered within the context of a shared platform where multiple users share the same Exchange server environment; here the consumer will have no control over the hardware, OS or application layers, but can create additional email accounts that can access and use the Exchange environment. Benefits of PaaS services include:
- Similarly to IaaS services, a majority of PaaS services work on a pay per use basis; so if we use Exchange Server as our example again, you will only be paying for individual email accounts here and any additional storage purchased for your existing email accounts
- Instant scalability can be achieved with ease as in such environments capacity can be increased with the addition of hardware; as a consumer, you can create extra accounts for use with the centralized application as necessary.
The only downside to choosing the PaaS hosting model is that you as the web hosting company are responsible for the management of the platform as a whole, but if you have a 24×7 support team such as the one that ESDS has at its disposal then it is easy to appreciate the benefits that PaaS can bring to businesses. PaaS should be seen as an alternative to situations where otherwise a dedicated server would be considered for application where it isn’t really necessary.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
You may not realize it, but a majority of the time you are probably using a SaaS-based service. SaaS based services serve the software directly through a web browser in a fashion meaning that the consumers has no control over any of the underlying layers, including the application layer. SaaS is often used to deliver applications that are designed through a specific service through a web browser; these applications could otherwise manifest themselves as desktop-based applications, but this introduces system compatibility issues, as individual versions will need to be developed for different operating systems.
Examples of SaaS applications include HR and Finance applications for businesses that require access from a multitude of locations and because of this a desktop application would be inconvenient; a centralized operation provides a central point from which applications can be managed and updates can be applied without the need for any intervention from consumers. Web hosting companies, including ESDS, use SaaS billing applications for the management of their finances because web hosting billing applications tie into a business’s infrastructure to control further aspects such as servers and web hosting accounts.