Friday, March 9, 2012

Why your next web app should be hosted in the Cloud

The emergence of Cloud Computing is changing how web applications are created, deployed and managed. A dedicated hosted server may no longer be the best option. Whether you are developing basic WordPress or Joomla! sites or building complex e-commerce sites with Magento and SugarCRM, there are multiple ways you can leverage the cloud to your benefit.

This article will cover several of the advantages of moving your customers to a cloud platform. It will also explain how BitNami Cloud Hosting (BCH) can reduce the time you must devote to maintenance chores and help you concentrate on your core competency: web development.

The biggest advantage that the cloud offers is flexibility, a new cost-capacity tradeoff. The acquisition of operative capacity traditionally requires meticulous planning, and it requires investment … at least it used to. The cloud offers the possibility of instantly expanding or reducing the size of your servers, with an immediate impact on your cost structure. You don't have to pre-commit resources for a possible sudden surge in visitors, nor scramble to increase capacity before an unexpected surge drowns your site in a sea of un-responded requests, nor lament costly idle resources when the surge did not (yet?) happen. It's the just-in-time revolution, this time in the server room instead of the factory.
The above said, a cloud environment requires a new set of skills, both in setup and ongoing management of your servers, which can be a time and/or money drain, directly impacting your productivity – just as it was before. BCH significantly reduces the non-core complexity of developing and hosting for web developers – it is a gentle on-ramp to the Amazon Cloud. It is more time available for development. It's the cloud made simple and cost-effective with:
  • Ready-to-run, consistent, fully configured application environments. No more configuration and version nightmares, such as“which library version is required for this app version?” Your WordPress server is fully configured, up and running in a few clicks. Or SugarCRM, or any of our many full-stack offerings.
  • On-demand servers that can be started with one click, stopped with another click – and are essentially free when stopped.
  • Simple server cloning – servers can be cloned in a few clicks to test updates or setup new development servers. Delete them when you are done.
  • A familiar environment, where things work the same as they do now: you do not have to port or adapt your application to the peculiarities of a PaaS provider. You are still in full control.
  • Instant rescaling of your servers, up or down, in a few clicks with the instant rescaling of your hosting costs. Scale up to a monster server, or down to a mite. With a traditional hosted server, you typically need to purchase a machine . That means you either need to purchase a big server that will be underutilized during development or purchase a smaller server initially and migrate to a bigger one when moving to production, and spend time and effort recreating the environment in the new server. As your application becomes popular, you will need to manually repeat the same process to migrate to bigger servers as needed. You can bypass this completely by using BitNami Cloud Hosting to dynamically resize your server as needed without any upfront investment.
  • The ability to run multiple applications on one server. Launch a single server to handle several customers, as you probably did with your hosting solution. Or launch one server for each, gain flexibility, simplify your accounting, and forget all about protecting your customers from each other in order to maintain their service level.
  • Cost-effective access to development servers on a pay-as-you-go basis. Launch a cheap micro server for development and testing, grow it in one click for deployment. Or develop locally on your own servers, physical or virtual, and easily move to an identically configured server in the cloud when ready.
  • Full-server, automatic, incremental backups with the ability to restore the server to any of the snapshots that you have configured. Restoring to a server snapshot guarantees that everything runs just at it did, no more version incompatibility nightmares.
  • Automatic server monitoring. BCH automatically monitors all launched servers and provides CPU, disk, memory utilization and other information so you can keep an eye on your infrastructure
Putting your servers in the cloud gives you more flexibility to manage your cost-capacity tradeoffs: more bang for your buck.

BitNami Cloud Hosting gives you the ability to do so with no effort, significantly reduces your sysadmin time, and frees you to devote your full energy to your core tasks.
Give it a whirl at