|Recently, a number of our clients have heard various confusing things about “the cloud” and have wondered if we use a cloud-based system for your websites. Since this has been a common topic of late, I thought it would be appropriate for me to address the following questions:
- What is “the cloud” and what advantages does it provide?
- Does Like Sew Websites use “the cloud”? Who else uses “the cloud”?
- As a client, is my data secure in “the cloud”?
Hopefully the answers to these questions will help you have a better understanding of the technology we use to power our websites.
What is "the cloud" and what advantages does it provide?
Websites for small businesses typically are “hosted” on a standard server in a facility designed to provide pretty reliable connectivity to the Internet. However, this standard approach has a variety of potential failures. The server that the website is hosted on could have a hard-drive failure causing a loss of data. Other parts of the server could fail causing down-time. There could be a fire or flood at the facility causing loss of data. A spike in traffic could overload the server causing the site to be unavailable for a while. The power or Internet connection to the facility could even be accidentally cut by construction crews working nearby.
“The cloud”, on the other hand, is a network of computers that securely places copies of your information and your website on multiple servers in various physical locations around the country and even around the world. It is designed to make your website and data exceptionally reliable and responsive by removing the many single points of failure with a traditional website hosting solution.
Here are some detailed advantages offered by the cloud:
- Multiple physical locations – If a facility in Texas has a power outage, a flood, a tornado, or a construction accident, a facility in Virginia picks up the slack. If that facility also fails, a facility in Oregon takes over, etc.
- Multiple web servers, database servers, and file servers – If any one server or even multiple servers fail at the same time, no problem. In many cases, proper cloud configurations store files and run software simultaneously on a half-dozen or more computers in 3 or more physical locations each located more than a thousand miles apart.
- Edge Locations – Properly configured cloud installations have dozens of additional locations around the globe that temporarily store web pages and files for even faster delivery times.
- Scalability – Cloud solutions provide the capability to respond to huge spikes in traffic in minutes compared to traditional hosting solutions that take weeks to purchase and deploy additional capacity.
- Extremely fast disaster recovery – No system is perfect. If a cloud-based system has a major failure, the entire system can be restored in a couple of hours—much faster than the typical days, weeks or even months (if at all) that it takes for a traditional hosting solution to recover from a major disaster.
Does Like Sew Websites use "the cloud"? Who else uses "the cloud"?
ABSOLUTELY! Like Sew Websites uses the cloud for the many significant advantages it provides. Specifically, Like Sew Websites uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) since they offer the leading cloud technology in the world available to third parties.
Others that use Amazon Web Services (AWS):
- Parts of Netflix
- (and many more)
Others that use and/or provide in-house or public cloud services:
- (and many more)
As a client, is my data secure in "the cloud"? (Can Amazon access my data?)
The security we provide with our cloud set-up uses the latest state-of-the-art security technologies and practices.
Some have wondered if Amazon would access the data we store for our clients in AWS for their own purposes. If Amazon did this, they would violate their stated policy and also their Customer Agreement. In addition, if they were to ever get caught doing this, they would jeopardize an extremely significant portion of their overall business. In fact, the owner of Amazon (Jeff Bezos) has stated that he expects Amazon Web Services to become their largest business unit.
The Bottom Line
“The cloud” has brought about a significant advancement in hosting technologies. Every website hosted by Like Sew runs on multiple servers in multiple physical locations around the country and world providing for amazing reliability and performance. We fully utilize the cloud to ensure there is no single point of failure in our entire system. Many website hosting companies do not run on a cloud. Others run on servers in the cloud but are architected in such a way that many single points of failure still exist. Very few are able to match the enterprise-level architecture that we provide for every one of our clients.
I hope this has helped clarify for you what the cloud is and how we are using it to benefit you. Please contact us if you have any additional comments or questions about our server setup in the cloud.
President & Director of Technology at Like Sew Websites