The recent Rackspace Survey clearly hints at a lack of awareness about
Cloud hosting among small businesses. I thought I will take upon this
opportunity to push this idea further in this space. If you are a small business
owner and if you rent dedicated server(s) from a data center, this post is for
When Amazon came out with their EC2 service, my first thoughts were to check
out if I can use it to replace the dedicated server I had to host all my
domains. When I dug into the EC2 documentation, I realized that I cannot use EC2
as a dedicated server because it lacked persistent storage and IP addresses. I
was worried that in the event of the EC2 instance getting rebooted, I might end
up losing some amount of data. Well, I do agree that there are ways to use database replication procedures to
minimize the impact of EC2 instance crashes but I just wanted to replace a
single dedicated server with a single EC2 instance. I gave up on that idea then.
Later Amazon added Elastic IPs and Elastic Block Store (Persistent Storage) to
their kitty making it a good candidate for web hosting. In fact, I did a back of
an envelope calculation for running an EC2 instance with S3 as persistent
storage at that time and the cost was comparable to the dedicated servers
available in reliable hosting companies like Rackspace or The Planet. My
calculations also pointed out that the amount of savings to replace a cluster of
servers with EC2 environment was considerable.
Recently, I came across a blog post that talked about a company called Imageloop.com
that moved its web hosting needs from the traditional hosting options to 100%
cloud based hosting (called Cloud hosting). Their need for hosting resources
were pretty high.
Imageloop boasts no less than 20 Million
slideshow views per month and each day people add about 30.000 Images to the
stack. Of course, Imageloop needs a lot of bandwidth and storage for all those
terabytes of big multi megapixel images. Additionally, resizing the images for
slideshow consumption typically needs a lot of CPU power, and increases server
They moved completely to Amazon EC2 cloud and got the scale they wanted. In
the process, they saved two-thirds of operational costs. Let me link to their
architecture before they moved to the cloud and after they moved to the cloud
In their own words (well, in the words of the consulting company that helped
Imageloop.com), they not only saved tons of money on operational expenditures
but also had other advantages of the Cloud along with the savings.
The result is a site that is faster, more flexible and more scalable than
ever. It also comes with a better backup strategy and more redundancy, while
costing only a fraction of the money it took before to run it. With this single
switch imageloop.com saved a whooping 2/3 of its monthly fixed costs. And by
cleverly leveraging the benefits of the AWS interfaces, probably untold
thousands of Euros will be saved by not having to deal with broken hardware and
wasted phone calls to the hosting company.
For small businesses, Cloud hosting has the following advantages
- Zero CapEx
- Much Reduced OpEx
- Better Performance
- Easy Scaling
If you are a small business owner renting out 3+ servers from a traditional
hosting company, I strongly urge you to take a look at the Cloud based hosting.
It offers tons of savings and the much needed peace of mind. Hopefully, by
highlighting case studies like this, we can generate enough awareness before the
next Rackspace Survey and make Cloud Hosting a household name.