Geo (Cloud) Hosting

October 13, 2010 by Alicia Gaba

The beauty of cloud hosting is that you don’t need to care about where your computing resources are physically located, they’re just up there. Right? In the cloud? What about the beauty of geo hosting, which works from the concept that for the fastest connection to your server, you’ll want to minimize the distance your data has to travel.  But what if you have no idea where your data is located in the cloud? It’s likely you may be paying a premium on the unit cost of data transfer, depending on your cloud provider.

According to Hosting Review, "a cloud host will have many servers, often located all over the globe. Using a technology called load balancing, the cloud host will allocate server resources to each customer as needed. Generally, you’ll pay a flat fee for cloud hosting, plus additional monthly fees based on time or resource usage. You’ll always have the bandwidth you need during peak traffic periods, but you won’t pay for unused resources during slow periods."

However, "if you’re on the West Coast of the United States, for example, and the load balancer moves your server from the West Coast to the East Coast, your server connection may be up to 23 times slower. " That’s where geo-hosting comes in as a viable option. If connection time is a priority, you’ll want to think about geo hosting. You’ll need to find a host with a data center that’s located close to you and your customer base. Geo hosting is particularly well suited to small and medium-sized businesses that require the fastest possible website and email performance, as well as companies that seek predictable hosting costs.

So wouldn’t one assume that combining the two, what I’ll call "geo cloud hosting," would be the best bet? My guess is that for the mid-size enterprise it does make sense. Those organizations are likely big enough that the demands on IT are increasing, they need a public cloud to help distribute their resources effectively with the ability to serve their business units on demand, but at the same time the connection speeds of geo hosting are extremely appealing. Connection speed is a real issue, even in the cloud, so as the market continues down the "trough of disillusionment" they will become more and more reasonable about the true values of cloud and what makes sense for each business size and type.