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Exocomm cloud hosting services

Exocomm's cloud servers are fully virtualized, self-contained servers -- not "shared hosting" or "VPS". You're running not only a custom set of applications such as a Joomla CMS or an OSCommerce shopping cart, but an entire operating system of your choice. It still runs on a physical server shared by other users, but your server is rather well isolated from problems caused by others. You can decide to run Microsoft Windows instead of Linux if you so desire. You can generally add resources like storage space, memory and CPU power on demand. In some cases, you can easily move a cloud node from one physical server to another -- for example to move your virtual from a third-party provider to an in-house physical server.

How does a cloud server differ from the cheap VPS hosting you see advertised, dirt cheap? A VPS, or Virtual Private Server, is a way to give you the illusion of having your very own server. It's still shared with other users, but technical trickery is used to mitigate that fact. You'll generally be able to install and manage the applications you want, without relying on the hosting company; but your choices might be limited to the specific operating system version chosen by the hosting company. You can begin to build custom features specific to your business to help attract and retain customers. VPS services generally have some measures in place to ensure available resources are shared fairly between users. A VPS is often capable of supporting dedicated IP addresses, so that you can operate a secure web site that assures customers their data is being properly stored and managed. You can choose the technologies you prefer, rather than having the hosting company make these decisions for you. Of course, you need the time and expertise to manage these components -- or the money to hire someone to do it for you. The problem with VPS systems such as Virtuozzo is that customers are not properly isolated from each other; it's still a shared server. If one customer has a problem that brings down the server, all customers are affected.

A shared / VPS server might suitable for a basic web site, but not much else. Because you are sharing your server with many other users, you'll often find the server is overloaded by other people's activities. Your web site might be slow because other users are hogging resources, and you might lose an occasional e-mail due to other users on your server distributing spam. You'll be restricted in the types of applications you'll be able to install and run, because the hosting company manages the server and all of it's resources. Your sensitive data is at risk of interception, because after all, it's running inside the same machine as perhaps 1,000 other businesses like yours – shared server infrastructures are notoriously insecure. Despite the abundance of hosting companies who advertise "unlimited hosting" at low prices, the fact remains that you are sharing a computer – computers always have finite resource limits, including storage, CPU power, network bandwidth and I/O performance. If you have a problem, you're not likely to get a lot of technical support for $10/month. If there's a component failure such as a dead hard disc, or hackers break into the server and erase all of it's data, there's not much the hosting company will do for you. Worse, these small hosting companies generally have a life-span of 3-5 years. When their business fails, you'll have to rebuild everything somewhere else.

It's time to get serious. You want a web site that looks good and stays online, with your own domain name. You want a shopping cart, and a real e-mail service you can rely on. You want to be able to store files, and be reasonable sure they're going to be there tomorrow.

Typically, cloud hosting services offer "elastic computing" options; you can add resources (storage, processor power and memory) on the fly -- and you'll only pay for what you use. Hosting companies like cloud products because they require less maintenance than dedicated servers, because it allows them to manage costs more efficiently, and because the potential profit margins are higher than with shared or dedicated servers.

Customers select cloud services because of the low initial cost, availability of resources on demand, and “self-serve” management. As the hosting company manages all hardware, power, network and security infrastructures, the customer does not require in-house expertise in these areas.

However, despite all the marketing hype surrounding this currently fashionable hosting option, cloud-based hosting is inherently less efficient than conventional VPS services. Because the physical server must run multiple distinct operating systems, more physical resources are necessary to handle the same number of customers. This increases the costs to the hosting provider, and to you. There's still a risk that hackers who break into the physical cloud server can access your sensitive data.

And the cloud can be expensive. As an example, a "standard web application configuration", containing 6 cloud nodes (2 databases, 2 application servers, and 2 web servers, generally considered a typical "three-tiered" architecture) with 300 GB of storage and 120 GB of monthly data transfer, will cost $2,794.76 per month. That is $33,537.12 per year! Many internet businesses find that the cloud model makes sense during initial development, but when a service goes live and begins to consume resources, costs can rapidly balloon out of control.

Of course, cloud-based services need special design characteristics to be cost-efficient; a cloud-based system is often best implemented in a single-node design which incorporates all functional tiers into a single node.

Exocomm's US cloud hosting farm

The high potential costs of raw resources (network bandwidth, data storage or processing power) guarantees that most successful online companies eventually outgrow the cloud and need to consider operating their own infrastructure.

A cloud hosting plan is right for individuals and small businesses who require a basic internet presence. A high-availability cluster provides the most reliable infrastructure for your business. Your systems are automatically replicated across servers located in three continents to ensure maximum performance and stability. Clustered hosting technology is designed to eliminate the problems inherent with typical shared hosting infrastructures. This technology provides customers with a "clustered" handling of security, load balancing, and necessary resources. A clustered hosting platform is data-driven, which means that no human interaction is needed to provision a new account to the platform. Clustered hosting "virtualizes" the resources beyond the limits of one physical server, and as a result, a web site is not limited to one server. They share the processing power of many servers and their applications are distributed in real-time. This means that they can purchase as much computing power as they want from a virtually inexhaustible source, since even the largest customer never consumes more than a fraction of a percent of the total server pool.

If your architecture is more complex (including multiple databases, firewalls, or proprietary software), a dedicated virtual server provides the security and flexibility of your own isolated virtual server. If your company is looking for new leading-edge ways to cut costs while improving overall efficiency and provide better service, a virtual machine (VM) hosting environment may benefit your business. We take high-performance server and create multiple "virtual servers". Each virtual server provides all the benefits of a dedicated server with better resources utilization. Each VM runs it's own copy of the operating system and is completely isolated from the host system and any other virtual machines. Exocomm can customize a server consolidation and virtualization strategy for your applications that will lower capital expenses associated with not having to acquiring multiple physical servers. In addition, because of the ability for rapid server deployment and quick setup environments associated with a VM hosting service, a real economic benefit is realized by streamlining and reducing the time and expense that comes with managing change. Perhaps best of all, recovery from a critical failure in a VM environment will have your mission critical applications up and running again in minutes, not hours.

A high-availability cluster provides the most reliable infrastructure for your business. Your systems are automatically replicated across servers located in three continents to ensure maximum performance and stability. Clustered hosting technology is designed to eliminate the problems inherent with typical shared hosting infrastructures. This technology provides customers with a “clustered” handling of security, load balancing, and necessary resources. A clustered hosting platform is data-driven, which means that no human interaction is needed to provision a new account to the platform. Clustered hosting "virtualizes" the resources beyond the limits of one physical server, and as a result, a web site is not limited to one server. They share the processing power of many servers and their applications are distributed in real-time. This means that they can purchase as much computing power as they want from a virtually inexhaustible source, since even the largest customer never consumes more than a fraction of a percent of the total server pool.

Operating systems available :

  • Exocomm OS
  • CentOS
  • Debian
  • other (customer-provided ISO image)

Locations available :

  • Toronto, Canada
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Luxembourg
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