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Comparing Cloud Hosting Packages - The Technical Stuff Made Simple!

Published on 23 July 13
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Comparing cloud hosting packages is intrinsically tricky because of all the technical aspects that you need to consider to make the right decision when you adopt.

Thankfully you do not need to be an IT expert in order to assess the relative merits of different packages and providers. To simplify the process of procuring cloud technology, here are eight key areas to consider when weighing up cloud hosting deals.
1. Storage Space
The amount of storage space that is included in a package will determine how much data your business can store in the cloud. You need to think about your current requirements for storage capacity and also project how this will change going forwards, because this will determine the type of package you choose.

The flexibility of cloud computing means that adding more storage should be easy, although the cost of doing so will vary depending on the provider and package you pick.
2. Bandwidth Allowance

Bandwidth is the lifeblood of the cloud, because it determines the amount of usage you can get out of your hosted services over the course of a month.

Make sure that, as with storage, you compare packages based on bandwidth allowance using metrics that you have determined as appropriate to your usage requirements.

Every type of activity involving the cloud will consume bandwidth, although certain services are more data-intensive than others, meaning that the speed with which you get through your allotted usage depends on your specific requirements.

You want to avoid a situation in which you have reached your limit well before the end of the month, because this could limit your business' ability to function normally and you could also incur significant costs for exceeding your allowance.
3. Server Resources
Although the cloud may turn IT into something of a remote, virtual service, which feels far removed from the tangible world of on-site hardware, there are still technical aspects that need to be considered before you commit to a particular package.

The components which are used inside the data centre servers that will power your particular hosting platform are relevant and information about this should be made available by cloud providers to reassure potential enterprise clients. Check up on the RAM, processor clock speed and chipset of the servers so that you know just how much silicon is supplying power to your hosted IT services.

You may or may not have a particular preference when it comes to the hardware that is on offer, but a package which uses cutting-edge components rather than those that are getting a little long in the tooth is probably desirable in most cases, since it shows that the provider is conscious of the need to stay on top of technological advancements.
4. Operating System
There are only a few key operating systems that will be used to power cloud hosting platforms, based on big name brands such as Windows and Linux. The underlying OS could be important depending on the types of applications and services you want to run in the cloud, so it is important to establish this when comparing packages.

You should also check to see which version of a given operating system is in place, because compatibility with third-party apps will often be contingent on this factor and you might otherwise overlook it, only to encounter issues further down the line.
5. Interface

Some cloud hosting packages come with a predetermined user interface, although this is not universally included and so should be something to look for as you continue your search for an appropriate platform.

Popular interface inclusions like Plesk, from developer Parallels, are intended to boost the ease with which you can access hosted cloud services from mobile devices. Meanwhile, alternatives such as cPanel 6, which is intended to operate in a Unix environment, provide suitable tools for desktop management of websites and other hosted elements based in the cloud.
6. Dynamic Servers

The dynamism of the cloud is one of its key advantages over in-house IT set-ups, because you should be able to scale the amount of storage and processing capacity that is available to you at any time to cope with spikes in usage requirements.

As a result, you should look for dynamic scaling as a necessary feature when comparing cloud hosting packages, because without this you will find that your business is unreasonably constrained and less able to cope with fluctuating IT needs.

The price of such scaling is important as well, so remember to look at every aspect of a package, from multiple angles, to get the best idea of which will be most suitable.
7. Contract Length

As with any utility you should look at the contractual requirements of a cloud service so that you can reach a conclusion about its worthiness.

Some hosting solutions will tie you down for a protracted period of 12 months or more, while others will operate on a rolling 30-day contract that lets you opt out whenever you feel that you are no longer getting what you need.

Cheaper prices will usually be available if you are willing to commit to longer deals, although of course you will be sacrificing certain freedoms as a result and may need to pay if you want to get out of a contract early.
8. Customer Service

While all the technical aspects of a cloud hosting package are important, without decent customer service being offered by the provider, even a particularly well-appointed offer may lose its lustre.

Customer service quality is vital, because a lack of communication or insufficient technical assistance might mean that your business does not get the most out of the cloud. Things could become even more problematic when you consider that outages and downtime can be costly and not getting aid in a timely fashion from your provider will leave you in dire straits.

In order to find a cloud hosting package that has good customer service, you should use the Internet to check independent reviews. Seeking out customer testimonials is also useful, because this will give you an idea of what type of experience you are investing in.

Throughout the decision-making process, remember that your business is the customer in this relationship and should thus be able to expect a comprehensive degree of treatment at the hands of a cloud hosting provider.

If you have questions, they should be answered and the provider should endeavour to make the integration of this type of IT solution as smooth as possible, no matter how big or small your company may be in the scheme of things.

With all this advice, you should be able to compare cloud hosting packages without the usual hassle.
Comparing cloud hosting packages is intrinsically tricky because of all the technical aspects that you need to consider to make the right decision when you adopt.

Thankfully you do not need to be an IT expert in order to assess the relative merits of different packages and providers. To simplify the process of procuring cloud technology, here are eight key areas to consider when weighing up cloud hosting deals.

1. Storage Space

The amount of storage space that is included in a package will determine how much data your business can store in the cloud. You need to think about your current requirements for storage capacity and also project how this will change going forwards, because this will determine the type of package you choose.

The flexibility of cloud computing means that adding more storage should be easy, although the cost of doing so will vary depending on the provider and package you pick.

2. Bandwidth Allowance

Bandwidth is the lifeblood of the cloud, because it determines the amount of usage you can get out of your hosted services over the course of a month.

Make sure that, as with storage, you compare packages based on bandwidth allowance using metrics that you have determined as appropriate to your usage requirements.

Every type of activity involving the cloud will consume bandwidth, although certain services are more data-intensive than others, meaning that the speed with which you get through your allotted usage depends on your specific requirements.

You want to avoid a situation in which you have reached your limit well before the end of the month, because this could limit your business' ability to function normally and you could also incur significant costs for exceeding your allowance.

3. Server Resources

Although the cloud may turn IT into something of a remote, virtual service, which feels far removed from the tangible world of on-site hardware, there are still technical aspects that need to be considered before you commit to a particular package.

The components which are used inside the data centre servers that will power your particular hosting platform are relevant and information about this should be made available by cloud providers to reassure potential enterprise clients. Check up on the RAM, processor clock speed and chipset of the servers so that you know just how much silicon is supplying power to your hosted IT services.

You may or may not have a particular preference when it comes to the hardware that is on offer, but a package which uses cutting-edge components rather than those that are getting a little long in the tooth is probably desirable in most cases, since it shows that the provider is conscious of the need to stay on top of technological advancements.

4. Operating System

There are only a few key operating systems that will be used to power cloud hosting platforms, based on big name brands such as Windows and Linux. The underlying OS could be important depending on the types of applications and services you want to run in the cloud, so it is important to establish this when comparing packages.

You should also check to see which version of a given operating system is in place, because compatibility with third-party apps will often be contingent on this factor and you might otherwise overlook it, only to encounter issues further down the line.

5. Interface

Some cloud hosting packages come with a predetermined user interface, although this is not universally included and so should be something to look for as you continue your search for an appropriate platform.

Popular interface inclusions like Plesk, from developer Parallels, are intended to boost the ease with which you can access hosted cloud services from mobile devices. Meanwhile, alternatives such as cPanel 6, which is intended to operate in a Unix environment, provide suitable tools for desktop management of websites and other hosted elements based in the cloud.

6. Dynamic Servers

The dynamism of the cloud is one of its key advantages over in-house IT set-ups, because you should be able to scale the amount of storage and processing capacity that is available to you at any time to cope with spikes in usage requirements.

As a result, you should look for dynamic scaling as a necessary feature when comparing cloud hosting packages, because without this you will find that your business is unreasonably constrained and less able to cope with fluctuating IT needs.

The price of such scaling is important as well, so remember to look at every aspect of a package, from multiple angles, to get the best idea of which will be most suitable.

7. Contract Length

As with any utility you should look at the contractual requirements of a cloud service so that you can reach a conclusion about its worthiness.

Some hosting solutions will tie you down for a protracted period of 12 months or more, while others will operate on a rolling 30-day contract that lets you opt out whenever you feel that you are no longer getting what you need.

Cheaper prices will usually be available if you are willing to commit to longer deals, although of course you will be sacrificing certain freedoms as a result and may need to pay if you want to get out of a contract early.

8. Customer Service

While all the technical aspects of a cloud hosting package are important, without decent customer service being offered by the provider, even a particularly well-appointed offer may lose its lustre.

Customer service quality is vital, because a lack of communication or insufficient technical assistance might mean that your business does not get the most out of the cloud. Things could become even more problematic when you consider that outages and downtime can be costly and not getting aid in a timely fashion from your provider will leave you in dire straits.

In order to find a cloud hosting package that has good customer service, you should use the Internet to check independent reviews. Seeking out customer testimonials is also useful, because this will give you an idea of what type of experience you are investing in.

Throughout the decision-making process, remember that your business is the customer in this relationship and should thus be able to expect a comprehensive degree of treatment at the hands of a cloud hosting provider.

If you have questions, they should be answered and the provider should endeavour to make the integration of this type of IT solution as smooth as possible, no matter how big or small your company may be in the scheme of things.

With all this advice, you should be able to compare cloud hosting packages without the usual hassle.

This blog is listed under Cloud Computing Community

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