How to Start a Cloud Hosting (or Other) Company

Start a Cloud Hosting (or Other) Company

Starting a web hosting business is a great idea if you are really into hosting, and you want to make a decent amount of money. But, you do have to be prepared to put in sixty-hour weeks, and basically hide from the world while your business gets off the ground. In other words: it's not going to be easy! Sorry!

If you still want to start a web hosting company, there are a few things that you can do to help your business grow from day one. Ready to dive into the startup cloud? Here we go!

Build a Plan

Start a Cloud Hosting (or Other) CompanyNo business in the world ever got started without a solid business plan. The very term ‘business plan' can sound intimidating, right? It's hard to wrap you head around such a big thing. You will find, though, that writing a bare bones business plan will help you formulate you company goals in addition to helping you get everything together.

If you aren't sure where to begin, think of writing a business plan like creating a brainstorming session. Write down everything about your business that you want to achieve, and roughly how you plan to achieve those things. From there, you can start adding in additional details.

Gather Up a Team

This is going to be tougher than writing that business plan. Why? Because surrounding yourself with good people that you can trust is no easy task. Plus, you have to make sure that those people love your company as much as you do. This can be accomplished by rewarding the people you work with. Start by giving out compliments as well as pointing out flaws.

It also never hurts to give your employees extras like allowing for overtime or working with someone's complex schedule. While it will seem like a great idea to send out lots of tasks and charts and other things from the start, this will just overwhelm your team. Take it slow, one day at a time.

Put People In Charge

Learning to delegate is a really great skill to have. The more you let people handle a certain section of your business, the better off you will be (and the less you'll have to spend doing these things yourself). Everyone has a strength, so make use of those strengths when you can. Not sure what strengths people have? Try and get to know your team members, so that you can determine what strengths and weaknesses people have.

Start a Cloud Hosting (or Other) Company: Research and Read

Read everything you come across. Read advertisements and books and anything else that you see. You never know where you're going to see a great idea. It also pays to research every single thing that you want to implement. When you research something, you will gain that knowledge, and that's vital to the success of your business.

Starting up a shared hosting, cloud hosting, or just a cheap hosting site won't be simple, but you can do it right by following these basic steps. Need help? Just ask!

VPS Hosting vs Cloud Hosting

VPS Hosting – VPS vs Cloud Hosting

vps hosting vs. cloud hostingVirtual Private Server hosting commonly referred to as ‘VPS hosting’ is a service provided by web hosting service providers as a midway solution between a completely dedicated server and a shared hosting format.

With VPS, the physical servers are shared amongst clients, but individual virtual space is completely isolated. The result is that of a dedicated server too.

Features of Virtualization – VPS vs Cloud Hosting

VPS vs Cloud Hosting

  • Access to enterprise-ready system.
  • Allows the clients to reduce their infrastructure spend on standard hardware and administrative time.
  • Instant access to the easy-to-use central management interface, flexible backup and restore options.

Benefits VPS hosting – VPS Hosting vs Cloud Hosting

  1. As compared to shared hosting, where all the clients on the same server affect each other. The VPS partitions on the server isolates from the other. Hence, the client has full control over his own server space. If there is a problem on a website or experiencing heavy traffic, the other websites remain completely unaffected.
  2. VPS offers all the flexibility and independence at much lower cost.
  3. The client can install any desired software because they have full root control.
  4. Dedicated IP address provided
  5. VPS hosting ensures that you get a particular volume of disk space, bandwidth, and memory. And, thus, the overall performance is better.
  6. Safe and secure option due to virtualization.

Cloud Hosting – VPS vs Cloud Hosting

This kind of hosting service does not rely on a single server. Rather uses a network of servers, which might be at different locations, to create cloud servers. So, website fed by a pool of resources (RAM, CPU, Storage, and bandwidth), adjusted in real time.

Advantages of Cloud hosting

  1. Cloud hosting dynamically serves the changing needs of various websites and resources allocated in real time. There is automatic scalability. In a time of high traffic of visitors on your website, you get additional servers/resources. Also, in times of low traffic, you scale down and do not have redundant resources.
  2. If you are dependent on a single server, your website too will go down when failure happens. But if using a cloud hosting service, the other servers readily available to the keep website going.
  3. This type of service is based on ‘pay-per-use’ model and you pay only for what you use. This, in turn, is cost effective. Normally there is no setup fee or administrative fee involved either.
  4. Cloud hosting offers more flexibility and freedom with efficiency and minimum costs.
  5. Secure and reliable as the website data tends to be stored in machines in different locations or data centers. Almost all the hosting service providers that extend cloud-hosting services have 24×7 customer support, which can be vital.
  6. The system runs on the latest version with the proper patches in place.

In Comparison Conclusion

The basic difference between VPS hosting and cloud hosting:

  • The VPS offers a single divided server. While cloud hosting offers a “cloud” of the server connected together and acts as one.
  • VPS hosting has physically less hardware involved, so it is cheaper.

The best way to choose is to first define the requirements of your website. Then finally, go ahead with VPS Hosting or Cloud Hosting.

Porticor: Making The Cloud A Little Safer For Healthcare


porticor cloud securityWe've touched on cloud security risks here on the Ananova blog in the past. In case you missed any of the articles, here's a quick fact: cloud hosting is just as risky as traditional hosting. While it may seem as if it is more vulnerable to hacker attacks, that is just simply not true. It's all in the way you store your data, and the strength of the password that protects it.

When you turn to cloud hosting for the healthcare industry, it becomes even more important to follow best practices. You don't want the medical records, social security numbers, imaging files like x-rays and MRIs, and other confidential data to be compromised!

Porticor: Security Is Key

How do you safely manage and store all of this data while minimizing the risk of a security breach? Probably the single most important step you can take in order to ensure security: encryption. This is a no-brainer. The key lies in how you encrypt that information.

You need to keep patient data safe, while at the same time maintaining regulatory compliance. That means you need to think long and hard on your strategy regarding encryption keys. Typical methods don't really apply with cloud hosting — you are trying to cut out the data center, so making your ISP the key holder isn't going to work here.

Porticor: What Works

One idea is split-key encryption, a method normally used to encrypt smaller files. Porticor is a company that revamped the process to make it faster than before, allowing it to be used for larger files like you would find in a healthcare database.

Porticor: How Does It Work?

Let's use a doctor as an example. The doctor enters data into the system, which is encrypted, and the key to access that data is split into two. The doctor is the owner of the “master key,” the first half. The second half heads to the Porticor Key Management Service for future use.

The master key is the doctor's, protected by homomorphic encryption. With this method, the master key is encrypted at all times. Not just in the cloud, but even when it's being used. What's more, each time you use the key, it is encrypted in a new way. That means that even if someone hacks in and steals the master key, it is useless. It cannot be used to access any patient files.

If that doctor wants to allow, say, the hospital access to his files, he can create a key for the hospital, which will also be split into two. The hosting provider cannot access this information at all, just the doctor and whomever he grants a key to.

This isn't a new technique used to encrypt data, but has been historically slow and not something a business would think to rely on when data must be obtained quickly. Porticor has found a way to make this a much faster process, allowing any industry to quickly access their records in highly secure fashion.

Do you think this is a positive advancement in the healthcare industry, or do you still have doubts it is secure enough to store such sensitive data in the cloud?

Healthcare a highly regulated industry

Healthcare software-as-a-service (SaaS) products

The primary concern for a hospital with cloud-based applications include:

  • Privacy
  • HIPAA compliance
  • Cloud Security

Hey, You! Control Your Cloud!

Control Your Cloud

control your cloudWhile the word ‘cloud' is being thrown around left and right and businesses signing up for cloud hosting services with increasing speed, there are issues that need to be addressed. Security is one of them, and often due to security analysts warning of the possible breaches that could occur.

But why are people so scared of the cloud? It can save a company a bundle of money, especially in the lessened need for IT staff. But remember, it's a lessened need. You don't want to get rid of your entire IT department. You still need someone there to manage, secure, and deliver content to the cloud. Security is a major concern, but doesn't need to be the end-all of your cloud hosting strategy.

Private Cloud To The Rescue

When you're concerned about the security of your data while it travels from your within business to the cloud outside of your business, know that you can introduce an internal cloud. Not only does this allow you to slowly move your way to the public cloud over time, it is a great way to deal with regulatory and legal issues of storing certain types of data in the cloud.

Increasingly, companies are storing their data with a handful of big name cloud vendors. These companies will place their customer data into a cloud hosting environment with one cloud company and their applications into the cloud of another. It seems to be thought that if one cloud fails for any reason, they can simply just move data over to the other cloud. Although it will take a few days at most, that's better than finding a whole new cloud solution!

Cloud Is Growing

The cloud is giving businesses the power to scale down their in-house IT systems by accessing these applications and data remotely thanks to cloud hosting. This leads to a lower rate of outsourcing: IT systems are less likely to be incompatible and won't require any form of integration. This leads to the scaling down of IT staff, as well as significant cost savings that go along with it — one of the major reasons a business switches to cloud hosting in the first place.

Cisco surveyed over 2,000 tech managers in 13 countries in December 2012, and discovered 52 percent of them rely on, or plan to rely on in the future, cloud hosting. As more businesses see that the security risks are the same as traditional hosting environments, that number is expected to grow.

And it's easy to see why businesses would find value in the cloud. Take Amazon, for example. It is highly scalable, and offers pay-as-you-go storage for startups and small businesses to begin their ventures without the massive amount of capital typically required to invest in IT.

Control Your Cloud: Balance Is Key

So although it may not be the totally secure option out there, know that nothing is totally secure. It's the nature of computing. The best bet: retain some IT staff to assure that you are doing everything in your power to protect yourself from a dangerous security breach. This is the only way. Although you can't say it won't happen, the more prepared you are, the less likely your chances.

Are you afraid of the cloud? What are some of your concerns?

Why Some Startups Ditch The Cloud For Physical Servers

Cloud or Physical Servers

Cloud Physical ServersWe've discussed the benefits of cloud hosting here at Ananova many times. There are times where the cloud does not work out, such as like Eric Frenkiel, founder and CEO of MemSQL. And you can't say the man didn't give it the old college try.

As most startups do, he relied on Amazon Web Services to provide cloud hosting services from the very beginning. However, the solution was short-lived, and Frenkiel ended up going with a more traditional physical server instead.

Cloud or Physical Servers: Why?

It seems they outgrew Amazon's cloud, reaching a stage in development where physical servers and computers were cheaper than the cloud hosting solution AWS was providing. Because of this, Frenkiel said, “I'm not a big believer in the public cloud. It's just not effective in the long run.”

This demonstrates the idea that the cloud isn't for everyone. It's great for a startup in the beginning, or a newly created website that doesn't grow very big, but for others it's just not economically feasible. Zynga, the online gaming giant, is a perfect example. They too moved away from Amazon's cloud environment and transferred it all to in-house data centers when Amazon just wasn't enough for their needs. Surprisingly though, it isn't just giants like Zynga, but smaller companies, that are switching to traditional hosting environments.

Cloud or Physical Servers: Too Expensive

Uber, ride-sharing startup company, switched over to dedicated hosting company Peak Hosting from Amazon's cloud, as have Mixpanel, analytics company, and Tradesy, online clothes-trading company.

Engineer at VMware, Kit Colbert, said, “I don't know how much this is written about…Within IT departments, public clouds do tend to get more expensive over time, especially when you reach a certain scale.”

Frenkiel found it was easier to rent virtual servers from Amazon for MemSQL in the beginning where prices were low, and its seed funder, Y Combinator, offered $10,000 Amazon credits. Of course, it seemed like a great idea. “When you're lean and just getting started,” said Frenkiel, “it's obviously the way to go.”

When prices rise, it becomes time to reconsider your options, which is precisely what happened to Frenkiel. With the site's database stretched across hundreds of servers, and more virtual machines were required for testing, the cloud became a bad idea fast.

Cloud or Physical Servers: The Turning Point

In April, MemSQL spent a whopping $27,000 on Amazon's virtual servers. If they continued for the remainder of the year, that would be $324,000 total. Physical servers, on the other hand, only cost $120,000 and would perform for at least three years. And even if they needed to add more servers, they'd still be saving money compared to what they would pay Amazon's cloud hosting services.

In fact, Frenkiel said that if they still worked with Amazon, MemSQL would have spent roughly $900,000 over the next three years! This demonstrates the value in his decision to switch over to physical servers, costing roughly $200,000. “The hardware will pay for itself in about four months.”

“The public cloud is phenomenal if you really need its elasticity,” he said. “But if you don't — if you do a consistent amount of workload — it's far, far better to go in-house.”

Even Rackspace's CTO, John Engates, agrees. “Web servers belong in the public cloud. But things like databases — that need really high performance, in terms of [input and output] and reading and writing to memory — really belong on bare-metal servers or private setups.”

This demonstrates the need to be flexible, knowing that if the need arises, you might need to jump off of the cloud bandwagon for the sake of your company's bottom line. Do you rely on the cloud? Do you see that situation changing in the next few years?