Identifying The Three Different Cloud Service Models

Identifying Cloud ServicesContrary to popular opinion, cloud computing is by no means a monolithic technology. That’s precisely what makes it so powerful and prolific – if it were only useful in a narrow range of situations, then I doubt it would have gained such widespread acceptance as it has. Unfortunately, the multifaceted nature of cloud computing can actually end up serving as a barrier to adoption if one’s organization doesn’t understand the service models available to them.

Let’s see if we can’t clear the waters a bit. Read more »

What MMORPGs Can Teach Us About Running A Server

MMORPGsBelieve it or not, developing and running a massively multiplayer online game is one of the more complex tasks in the world of networking. Not only do you need to manage everything you’d ordinarily deal with while running a server, you’ve a whole plethora of additional tasks to tackle. These include (among others) cheat prevention, game balance, latency, game maintenance, and state management.

For this reason, it shouldn’t be terribly surprising that there’s actually a great deal one can learn by studying some of the more successful developers in the world of online gaming. How they run their servers – along with the mistakes they’ve made, both past and present – can serve as a great primer for any budding administrator, regardless of whether or not  they’ve an interest in gaming. Read more »

Using The Cloud For Rapid Application Development

Application Development In The CloudAccording to a survey carried out last year, application developers are still somewhat ambivalent about whether or not they stand to benefit from cloud computing. It’s the same old song and dance we’ve heard on multiple occasions before; concerns that the cloud isn’t secure enough collide with fear of vendor lock-in, a dearth of optimized tools, and skepticism about cloud reliability.

Before we move on to talk about the advantages of cloud application development, it’s worthwhile to stop for a moment and consider the risks. Like it or not, there’s a chance that if one chooses the wrong vendor, one’s source code can be compromised – either through negligence or malice; such vendors could also derail the development process through downtime and poor performance. Similarly, failure to properly read through and understand one’s contract can lead to vendor lock-in. Read more »

Five Signs You Could Use A Dedicated Server

Dell ServersDedicated servers aren’t for everyone. The’re more expensive than other hosting options, and — depending on your host — require a more technical know-how than a shared hosting solution. That said, for the right business, a dedicated server is the perfect choice.

How can you tell if your business is the “right” business? Read more »

Five Advantages & Disadvantages Of MySQL

MySQL LogoAlthough MySQL still remains one of the most popular relational database management systems in the world, it’s recently been losing supporters. Some hold that it’s actually on the way out, and that we’ll see it replaced by a better alternative in a matter of years.  We’re witnessing the slow death of the system, they claim; particularly since we’ve seen organizations such as Google ditch the database solution in favor of MariaDB.

Such claims ignore the clear advantages MySQL can offer an organization – even in light of its drawbacks. Although the database solution certainly isn’t made for every situation (few are), it’s nevertheless considerably powerful in the right hands. Today, I’d like to take a look at some of its strengths – and shortcomings. Read more »

Estimating Your Cloud Hosting Costs

Estimating Cloud CostsAlthough there’s a good chance cloud hosting will save you a great deal of money, you could still lose money if you don’t properly budget for it. Cloud infrastructure may be a somewhat nebulous thing, but the expenses associated with it most definitely are not. The cost of hosting something on the cloud – be it a database, application infrastructure, or remote server –  may not always be clear from the outset.  Although many cloud vendors provide applications to help you work out the expenses on your own, there’s still a certain element of legwork – and guesswork – involved.

That said, if it’s properly managed, the cloud most definitely will save you both time and money. So…how does one go about estimating hosting costs? Read more »

Cloud Load-Balancing Ensures Sites Perform Consistently Under Heavy Load

5751301741_aa8463e472_bThere are two fundamental methods for scaling server infrastructure. They can be scaled up, or they can be scaled out. In the former, sites are progressively moved from lower spec servers to higher. Typically a site or group of sites might move from shared hosting to a low-powered dedicated server and then to successively more powerful servers. Scaling up is also frequently referred to as vertical scaling.

The second method, scaling out or horizontal scaling is different. Imagine a group of sites hosted on a relatively low-powered server. As the sites grow in popularity and their traffic increases, eventually the server will reach peak capacity. Load beyond this point will cause the server to falter: usually it’ll be the RAM that gives out first. The server worker processes will multiply to the point at which there is no more memory available: the server will start queueing requests and swapping out memory to disk. This is a bad situation for a server to be in because it significantly degrades site performance. Read more »

Speed And Reliability Are The Cornerstones Of Any Successful Website

6244022171_a5325c25ed_bWhat do you look for when deciding which web hosting company to entrust with your business’s site? If you asked a hundred small and medium business owners what their criteria for choosing hosting is, you’d get many different answers, but they cluster around a few key factors:

  • Price.

  • Extra features: one-click install, backup, unlimited bandwidth, management, etc.

  • The quality of branding and on-site copy. Read more »

Varnish Can Significantly Improve The Performance Of WordPress

The vast majority of sites on the web today use content management systems. The benefits are obvious: they remove the need to tangle with code, make it easy for non-technical people to run a site, and usually provide all the extensions you could ever need for adding functionality.

But, for all those benefits, there’s something of a trade-off. Content management systems like Joomla! and WordPress are dynamic site generators. Every time a user requests a page, it is generated on the fly. There are various ways of doing this, but the most common method — and the one used by WordPress — is by executing PHP code and making database requests. From a functionality perspective, that’s incredibly powerful, but the downside is that each stage in generating a page takes time. Compared to static sites, where everything is pre-made, dynamic sites can be slow — and that’s bad for users and for conversions. Read more »

Cloud Servers Are The Perfect Solution For Seasonal eCommerce Surges

2131995373_c2c697e510_zWe’re getting to the time of year when shopping will be on the mind of most American families. Black Friday is just around the corner and Christmas will be upon us before we know it. Brick-and-mortar stores will be thronging with gift buyers and eCommerce stores will see more traffic than at any other time of the year. And, therein lies a problem.

For eCommerce businesses in a market with seasonal traffic spikes, managing infrastructure provisioning so that stores stay stable, available, and perform well is of prime concern. But, maintaining a great experience on a site all year round can also mean having a lot of wasted capacity at slower times of the year. Read more »

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