Cloud Computing refers to the use and access of multiple server-based computational resources via a digital network (WAN, Internet connection using the World Wide Web, etc.). Cloud users may access the server resources using a computer, netbook, tablet computer, smart phone, or other device. In cloud computing, applications are provided and managed by the cloud server and data is also stored remotely in the cloud configuration. Users do not download and install applications on their own device or computer; all processing and storage is maintained by the cloud server. The on-line services may be offered from a cloud provider or by a private organization such as Rockbridge Services.
We are currently using Amazon S3 and Cloudfront for our Content Delivery System since it is supported by WordPress. The fees are minimal. Normally less than $9 / month for even a very image intensive application. We are currently exploring an approach where Rockbridge can administer this service for you or you can administer it on your own. Contact us to find out more…
Why Would I Need This ???
The application owners that might want to consider this service of distributing the website content are those applications that are archiving large amounts of data, in particular images and other bandwidth intensive downloads. The advantage to using “the cloud” is that copies of the data on your hosting server are duplicated in what are known as EDGE servers around the U.S. and around major cities in the world. So…. the time it takes a page to load in NYC is very fast if the person requesting the page lives in the North East U.S….. if they live say on the West Coast it will take longer to load… even longer in Europe etc. The more image intensive your application is the more noticeable the web page download delay will be for your customers if you don’t use the “cloud”. Also… the bandwidth on the hosting server gets very large as all customer around the world are pulling images off of ONE server.
What the cloud does is essentially makes a parallel copy of your hosting server all across the many multiple EDGE servers in the particular cloud provider network so that when a customer clicks on your website link anywhere in the U.S, or the world for that matter, the actually pages (and images of course) are coming down to their PC from the CLOSEST physical server. The does two things. 1) Makes the connection download time run very faster because the download distance is closer. 2) decreases the bandwidth and CPU load on the hosting server since not all customers are pulling files from it at the same time improving loading efficiency for the rest of the website code.
Since many large companies have been using this “cloud” based model it means that EDGE server infrastructure has grown significantly — they are able to in effect “lease out” this bandwidth are very low rates to just about anyone who has a need to use it! Its these super large companies that actually invest in expanding the cloud server infrastructures. Around 2008 many got smart and realized they could “time share” this impressive infrastructure for a few cents / download bandwidth with countless other companies and even individuals.
Not all customers will ever need this service… only those with application and content download intensive applications and many visitors per month exceeding 20 GB of Bandwidth / Month or any customer who just likes SPEED!! Most Rockbridge customers are fine… but we do have some sites that have required up to >40GB of bandwidth per month. We will be required to add more bandwidth to the hosting servers since we have been expanding it for those customers without charge or have their sites go down. We do not intend to pass these additional costs along to ALL customers since most are far below their limit! The cost of this server bandwidth increase will however eventually need to be passed along to those customers who require it that are exceeding their 1GB / 5G or 10G / Month bandwidth limit depending on the package they purchased (Bronze – Silver – Gold respectively). We are exploring and recommending the use of Cloud Computing because it is a significantly less expensive alternative than expanding host server bandwidth and we would be able to adjust it precisely for each user that exceeds >10 GB / bandwidth per month so it will be very low cost and you pay only for what you are using without subsidizing others!
The more customers using the service will allow us to also drop the cost for all customers over time. Typically we are estimating $7-9 / month for this service if administered by us at Rockbridge. It would only be for customers who require large amounts of bandwidth or want to dramatically improve their site performance and are also consistently over at least > 10 GB Bandwidth / month.
If you want to purchase and administer cloud computing services yourself and save a couple of dollars a month, you can do so. I would need access to your cloud provider account to set it up you would need to do administration and maintenance. Here are the recommended “Cloud” providers that are compatible with the W3T Caching module we use and WordPress at the present time:
- AWS – Amazon Web Services — Cloudfront ( you will also need S3 ) — The most reliable and most popular and the one used by Rockbridge
- Cloudflare – all in one solution – free / pro versions available
- Rackspace — second most popular and reliable
- Microsoft Azure Storage
If you want to know how much bandwidth your present website application is using, drop us a line and we will send you a report.
Last Revision: 2011-07-06