Designing Your Business Website In The Clouds
The 2013 Parallels SMB Cloud Insights report finds that 22 percent of businesses develop and manage their websites with IaaS and SaaS tools, and another 30 percent say they will follow suit by 2015. As more companies adopt the use of the cloud with their websites, you’ll need to know how it integrates with your web design work. Understand how the cloud works and you’ll have a powerful tool for the expansion and flexibility of future website projects.
Cloud Storage Scalability
Traditional website development requires you to plan your data storage requirements ahead of time and handle errors caused by “disk full” conditions. Cloud storage offers a dynamic resource that expands to your needs. A reliable cloud provider will have processes in place to increase storage as the demand rises. A potential limit can exist if the company requires a dedicated server, or the storage may be finite, unless previous expansion arrangements were agreed to. Public and shared server situations shouldn’t have this problem.
Types of Cloud Storage Sites
A list of the most popular cloud storage services is available at You The Designer and shows the typical differences between them. Some sites focus on storage and availability of data, such as Dropbox and Box. Other sites integrate tools to work with the data in the cloud, such as Microsoft Skydrive and Google Drive. The choice can depend on the focus on the cloud. One company may only want the storage flexibility and scalability, while another may want to integrate some of the tools into their website, as well.
Some cloud vendors offer automated backup procedures, available from a desktop, mobile device or through an API. A reliable provider will include a level of redundancy so your backed up data exists in multiple data centers. Should one backup become corrupted, they will still have access to a good copy. You may need to work with your cloud services provider to determine if the site needs to be offline for any portion of the backup.
There is a need to keep data in sync between local resources and the cloud, especially with the rise in mobile devices to access the data. Some cloud storage services have addressed this by creating apps to sync local files or folders with corresponding files in the cloud. Dropbox does this with folders and their Datastore API, as noted by Future Insights. The advantage of these syncing tools is that work can be done offline and the data will sync up to the cloud automatically once back online.
There are different approaches to data syncing. When looking for the right storage for your company, and browsing frequently asked cloud storage questions, check for which cloud storage offers data syncing capabilities and how they achieve it. Some do this file by file, while others sync by copying entire folders. Regardless of what you are looking for, this FAQ should offer insight into the particular capabilities and pitfalls of each cloud based server.
By creating a library of multi-media and other large files in the cloud, the migration of a website becomes much easier. You can move your website to a different host or upgrade from a shared host to a dedicated host, without needing to move images, videos, or music files. Development and testing also becomes easier since you can link to the same static files in the cloud as your production environment.
Performance Increases Due To Additional Server Capacity
Once you move all of the multi-media and large files to the cloud, your website host no longer has to serve up that content. Fewer requests mean that your web server can now handle more traffic. With this increase in capacity, you’ll be able to stay on the same web server longer before needing to upgrade.