Amazon Web Services for the SMEPosted by Christopher Bain / September 23, 2015
Websites and apps have never been more critical to business. More software is moving online as the cloud becomes a safe and viable option. Traditional web servers may not be enough for your business anymore.
How much downtime can you afford? Does your site load fast enough? And, do you have a growth plan for when shared hosting is no longer enough?
The cloud and scalability
Businesses previously had to plan for their busiest period and pay all year for a server infrastructure that could handle that load. You need to know what your requirements will be in the future to avoid embarrassing outages or slow patches. You are also paying for peak load times, ALL the time. Upgrading a traditional hosting environment also involves downtime.
Cloud technologies introduce the concept of automated horizontal scaling. This technology allows your server to grow and shrink as load demands. The costs associated with running a service that scales automatically are significantly less, particularly with cloud servers. It also ensures you stay ahead of demand.
The red line in the diagram above shows actual demand. The dotted lines demonstrate how a traditional scaling method involves regular hardware upgrades and guessing your growth rate. Whereas, the green line shows how your hosting can organically move with demand.
Auto-scaling enables your organisation to adopt a “pay for what you use” approach. Your server will always be in line with demand, and you’ll never pay for power you don’t need. Think of it as the difference between hiring 3 high-level, full-time technicians compared with hiring one and contracting help in the busy times.
Cloud hosting gets cheaper every year. AWS has had 19 price cuts in the past 5 years. The cost of the cloud is constantly in competition and AWS is at the forefront of the pricing war.
The Managed Cloud
Due to the complexity of cloud hosting, it has always required high-level systems or network administrators to look after it. Now, AWS does it all for you. It’s not quite plug and play yet, but most quality developers will have the skill to set you up.
The virtual nature of AWS makes this a thing of the past. Virtual services can be duplicated instantly and can be seen as consumables, as opposed to investments. It provides excellent disaster recovery and also allows you to replicate your site to any of the AWS servers around the globe – Oregon, California, Virginia, Sao Paulo, Dublin, Frankfurt, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo and Beijing..
AWS is particularly good for hosting apps. Apps suffer more severe peaks and troughs and require a completely different architecture than standard websites. Sites like Netflix and Airbnb could not run without it.
However, cloud hosting is no longer just for multi-nationals. It is now affordable and fully managed. If you are starting to outgrow your webserver, perhaps the cost benefit and added security, speed and redundancy of AWS may be the answer for your business.