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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    72

    Is cloud worth it for small web hosting?

    Hi all, i am not expecting for a straight answer on this but at least for a few indications to help me make a decision.

    We run a small web design agency where we host our clients websites in a decent dedicated server. Around 150 websites with a growth of around 30 per year. Considering our usage needs it doesnt look that we will need any more resources in the next 3 years

    We are very satisfied with what we have now: dedicated server running directadmin, server management support, daily backups, ect. We only have minor downtimes maybe 8-10 hours per year.

    So now the real question is what cloud can offer more to us? To be honest we tried Cloud sites in Rackspace but it was very slow.

    Obviously cloud might be useful for us only in terms of scalability, higher availability and in cases of disaster recovery.

    So are there enough reasons to consider cloud in our case? Or we should wait.

    thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    124
    I would imagine you can save money with cloud hosting over a dedicated server and have better uptime since your sites will now be clustered. Easier management with a control panel (unless u already use that), but also you don't have to worry about updating the dedicated server, drives and hardware failures, etc. One thing to consider if you're looking at shared cloud hosting like rackspace is resource usage. Most hosts will limit the amount of memory and CPU a website/webnode/application can use. You may have to split your sites up into groups to spread the usage around and that could push the costs up.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    New York City
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    5,054
    The cloud is great you'll notice many differences when you switch one being reliability and another being scalability bring able to add more resources to your cloud with a few clicks here and there feels wonderful. Pricing is also great when it cones to cloud depending on who you go with.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Canada
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    934
    Quote Originally Posted by Lakiscy View Post
    Hi all, i am not expecting for a straight answer on this but at least for a few indications to help me make a decision.
    ... thanks
    - it doesnt look that we will need any more resources in the next 3 years

    You don't need one of the cloud strong points, flexible provisioning.


    - We are very satisfied with what we have now: dedicated server running directadmin, server management support, daily backups, ect. We only have minor downtimes maybe 8-10 hours per year.

    Unless you choose wisely, you're not going to get better uptime. I assume your current setup is active management as well and covers hardware SLA. Failover would be the only thing left on the table, but if you have a sufficient disaster recovery procedure in place, it's not going to make much of a business difference. Some people get good mileage by spanning their DR into the cloud - have a cold site B ready to go in case expected downtime is greater than you can bare.


    - Obviously cloud might be useful for us only in terms of scalability, higher availability and in cases of disaster recovery.

    Not really. Most high-profile sites with high availability people associate with cloud are architected specifically for component failure. Kick-dropping existing apps onto the cloud doesn't buy you much other than convenience.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    76
    With 8 hours of downtime you are getting 99.9% uptime which is probably good for 99.9% of typical customers. As some already said do some serious disaster recovery planning and mock test it few times. How long are you running on that server already - if hardware is 3 years old you would be better off migrating to new server.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Cambridgeshire
    Posts
    18
    Hi Lakiscy,

    We're going through the same questions as you right now, deciding whether we need to scale up our network to the cloud based system for expandability and growth, and also the failover of having multiple hypervisors.
    However, from what you have said above, I don't think that you should think about moving to the cloud for a few years yet. The cost, and work that it will cause will be much more than the benefits that it brings. The "new" thing is to go onto the "cloud" and to get up to speed with what everyone's doing, but if you're happy where you are, it sounds like it works and is good enough for you to stay there. In a few years, once you'll be wanting to get a new server, maybe that would be a convenient place to consider getting some cloud space?

    Feel free to drop me a message if you want any help,

    Regards
    Steve @ MTH

  7. #7

    Disaster recovery

    Hi,

    I think disaster recovery is also an important factor as mentioned by you already, and must not be ignored at all. However, this highly depends on the efficiency of the service you avail.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    780
    Having done something like the above, I will say that its totally worth the effort and expense. Hosts and VPS will be commodity that you can add easily to scale up and growing will be a matter of just spinning up a new VM. With centos/cpanel as a template, you can provide VPS to customes instantly. Note that all the other features you can grow and market with a true cloud solution: High Availability, private VPN for customers, Public and Private Instances ( database servers in private ) etc, Amazon S3 compatibility. Plus customers not going down when a hypervisor is down, so ease of maintenance, upgrades etc without affecting customers etc.

    Moving to a cloud is worth it as your scale-out, growth and maintenance will be easier. You can also offer cloud features ( vpn, private/public instances/ cpu-disk-memory packs - so that customers can spin up thier own vms etc) With the infrastructure already in place, you can dedicated a few hypervisors to public/hybrid cloud and let customers use tools like rackspace to manage thier VMs on your infrastructure.

    Your existing model is very good, and it is working perfectly for you as I see. But you also need to catch up to where the world is moving, grow , offer more features, differentiating features
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Lakiscy View Post
    Hi all, i am not expecting for a straight answer on this but at least for a few indications to help me make a decision.

    We run a small web design agency where we host our clients websites in a decent dedicated server. Around 150 websites with a growth of around 30 per year. Considering our usage needs it doesnt look that we will need any more resources in the next 3 years

    We are very satisfied with what we have now: dedicated server running directadmin, server management support, daily backups, ect. We only have minor downtimes maybe 8-10 hours per year.

    So now the real question is what cloud can offer more to us? To be honest we tried Cloud sites in Rackspace but it was very slow.

    Obviously cloud might be useful for us only in terms of scalability, higher availability and in cases of disaster recovery.

    So are there enough reasons to consider cloud in our case? Or we should wait.

    thanks
    Off course. However, I believe what matters the most is the adoption of a good service provider. Financially, it might be expensive for the first time but for long run it is the best option.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    188
    Not all clouds are built the same. To me it depends who you use and go with.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    449
    Take a look at Citrix Xenserver 6.2 which is now open source. You get cloud-like features like HA (failover) and VM Live Migration for very little effort and cost. Perfect for those who don't want the hassle of setting up a full blown cloud like Cloudstack or Openstack, but gives you the best features of a cloud and a nice windows based tool (Xencenter) to quickly build and manage VM's. You can use a NFS server or open source ISCSI back end to supply centralized storage.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    72
    Thanks for the replies guys they are very helpful. From my research asking a lot of people in the web design business, it seems that cloud servers are not yet for us, even hosting of 200+ websites with 3000 visits per month.

    Probably one day in the near future when i will have to migrate 300 websites to a cloud infrastructure, i come back to this thread and say "I was wrong". But now it seems that cloud is only useful for higher demand websites/apps that can truly benefit from it.

    I would really like to listen more opinions from people that actually use cloud for their customers hosting and not dedicated servers.

    thanks

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Dub,Lon,Dal,Chi,NY,LA
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    1,838
    If you want to stop worrying about hardware, raid, power supplies, redundancy and being able to scale from 4 CPUs and 4GB ram to 32 CPUs and 128GB of ram with no more than a reboot, or being able to simply 'grow' your servers disk from 100GB to 200GB in a few minutes, then cloud is for you.
    dediserve www.dediserve.com
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    WebHostingTalk
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    16,965
    Quote Originally Posted by Lakiscy View Post
    So now the real question is what cloud can offer more to us? To be honest we tried Cloud sites in Rackspace but it was very slow.
    Any kind of hosting including cloud have their own limit. The way you run cloud will depend on how the provider use it and it can be overloaded too...

    There is nothing wrong with what you have right now and since it is dedicated server and dedicated to you, you know the limit.

    Worrying about hardware failure? Not a problem. As long as you have a proper plan, then you are good. I am talking about backup, hardware quality, raid setup, load balance, etc...
    Specially 4 You
    .
    JoneSolutions.Com ( Jones.Solutions ) is on the net 24/7 providing stable and reliable web hosting solutions and services since 2001

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Atlanta, US
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    1,040
    I would say good for new small host and once your growth the Cloud will absolutely expensive than a traditional Dedicated Server.
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  16. #16
    Cloud is about rapid scalability, true, but it is also about reducing costs and increasing availability. I think almost any business can benefit from moving to the cloud.

  17. #17

    Citrix Xen

    Quote Originally Posted by WebGuyz View Post
    Take a look at Citrix Xenserver 6.2 which is now open source. You get cloud-like features like HA (failover) and VM Live Migration for very little effort and cost. Perfect for those who don't want the hassle of setting up a full blown cloud like Cloudstack or Openstack, but gives you the best features of a cloud and a nice windows based tool (Xencenter) to quickly build and manage VM's. You can use a NFS server or open source ISCSI back end to supply centralized storage.
    Well I don't have idea with this new version. But previously I have had great slugish experience with the earlier versions.

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