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Vaielab's Rant: What is cloud?

Posted by Vaielab, 20 August 2014 · 6544 views

cloud hosting rackspace
So what is cloud hosting?

We all heard this new buzzword "cloud", and I have some clients that absolutly want to be on the "cloud" but don't even really know what it is...
But the truth is no one really know what cloud is.

That it's, it's just a buzzword to make you feel bigger (normally there is some pills for that, but theses day, the important thing, is your server size)

I've been with Rackspace for the last 2months on their "cloud" services... and I won't be there for a third month.
In the first 2 months I was there, they were 3 downtime (that I know about), theses are the logs
0150: (40 min) (hardware issue, Strike 1) Server2
9730: (20 min) (Network issue, no strike) Server1
9527: (20 min) (hypervisor issue, no strike) Server1

First thing that pop in mind is the downtime #0150. They say it's was 40minutes long... but I was on the live chat trying to find a solution for over 90minutes (I do have the chat logs with timestamp to prove it), plus the time that I got my first call because the server wasen't running, plus the time I stop the live chat because I could not do anything more. So the downtime was more like 2h30, but they are assuring me it was only 40minutes.

But hey... What? Hardware issue? On a cloud?
Normally, on a cloud, if a machine catch fire, your virtualos should be transfered to a other machine without you even realizing it, without any downtime (maybe a very little one)
Durant the live chat conversation, I ask them about changing the machine, and they told me it could be done, but will most likely take 3-4hours and they will have to use a 1 day old backup...
So I was kinda surprised about their "cloud", I even double check their logo, underneat it, we can read "The #1 managed cloud compagny"
To be #1 in something don't you have to offer it first?

So I ask them on a supports tickets: "What exactly are your criteria to say this is a cloud, even tho, my os is on one machine and cannot be moved (and to reinstall from a 1day old backup isn't what I call moved)"
The next day, I got an answer telling me for a question like this, they need to transfer me to a account manager...
I mean, anyone from the sale team should be able to answer this no? Sale team, engeneer, programmer, probably even the guy cleaning up the bathroom at rackspace should be able to answer this!

So I waited... and waited, waited... 7 days later, still no anwser.
I reply to the ticket again... and waited, waited, 2days later, no answer... so I join the live chat telling them if I don't have a answer soon, I'll simply quit.
2 hours later, I finally got an answer: "To answer your question, we call our Cloud Servers cloud since it is truly a Cloud offering. Even though your Cloud servers are provisioned on a single host(usually in different parts of our datacenter), that still makes it Cloud because you have the flexibility to add, delete, replicate and move servers automatically to provide redundancy. "

Are they talking about a control panel?
If I have any kind of architecture and I add a control panel to create them, modify, delete, I can call this a cloud?

That awesome! At home, I have a computer with a headless virtualbox installed on it, and I control it with phpvirtualbox, I can create machine with that, back them up, modify and delete them, I did not know I had a cloud at home! Suddently, I feel so much more important!

So I ask them about that... and now I'm waiting, hopefully I'll get an answer in the next 7days

To answer this blog's question: "What is cloud?" it's easy, no one know, anyone can invent their own definition of cloud and it's ok... Cloud is only a buzzword to be able to sell your stuff at a much higher price.
But one thing sure, I'm gonna leave rackspace as soon as I find a other place to host my projects.

Have you had experience with real or false cloud?
What do you consider cloud is?
Or do you have some good decicated server with managed service to suggest me?

  • 2

It reminds me of when one of my non-techie friends called me to beg for help, because her company was switching to a "cloud-based solution" for one of their programs, and she wanted to get a head start on studying for it. I had to explain to her that it just means the software resides on servers outside her building, and that she can't get any advanced studying on it outside of whatever training/manuals they provide. She'd also heard that it would be "complicated" because it's on the cloud. I told her that's a software issue, and it could be easy or hard.


She calmed down when I explained that her Yahoo account is working on the cloud.

    • 1

Exactly... sometime cloud only mean internet

So what a cloud host? Any host on internet?

I have so many cloud server that I didn't know about :P

    • 0

I get questions everyday at work about backups to the cloud...and the quick answer I give is simply that the backup is stored remotely (from the customer's perspective) on one or more of our servers. But "the cloud" sounds so mysterious, and as far as I can remember, the only real mystery is the route that the data travels...but at some point the data is just sitting on a server somewhere.


And they way they explained cloud based services to us in class was more akin to distributed redundant physical servers, so if one went down another would simply take it's place seamlessly...but it doesn't seem like your cloud host is doing that. Are they claiming that they are redundant by hosting virtual servers on the same physical device? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of "cloud hosting" if something happens to the physical server?

    • 2

That my friend, is pretty much the exact definition I have for a true cloud service.

    • 2

There is cloud, there is cloudy, and there is in the clouds, lol

    • 1

With a chance of meatballs.

    • 3

I was talking with a salesman from digitalocean (a other "cloud" host)

And their answer: "That's exactly correct, we are a VPS provider that provides fast SSD servers, though we do offer a really easy to use user interface for managing your droplets."

So to have a cloud we simply need a control panel

I've been using cloud all thoses years without knowing it!

    • 2

So if I understand you Vaielab, that salesman is saying the VPSs on the same physical machine is a cloud service?? Especially if the offer that really nifty cpanel?


With marketing, I guess they can define things in what ever they feel and the actual definitions don't matter to them...as long as they can get that monthly fee from you.


Time for some new marketing definitions... It's been a bit foggy here the last couple of days...was I actually computing in the cloud?!? What about when I am traveling and flying at cruising altitude while I use my laptop? I am literally in the cloud, does that count? Maybe it doesn't because I didn't have a cpanel...

    • 2

I think you just invented a new kind of cloud host :P

    • 0

Essentially a VPS cloud is just having two folders on one server.


A cloud server will always be by my definition "Files hosted across multiple servers but displayed as an individual file that when changes are made are synced across servers so when one server goes down the file is still accessible."

    • 0

Me too... but after looking at all the cloud hosting I could find, I actually just find one that has this definition (and that the sale guy who told me that... is it really this, I'm not sure)

90% of them has nothing to do with cloud, but because they are using a control panel, they can call themself cloud

So in the end, I got normal vps server, and create my own replication on them.

    • 1

Not a bad idea...you don't really need a cloud solution unless you are actually a larger website...if you have a reliable host then there is no need for a cloud based service unless you're hitting 50k+ users per week.

    • 0

Sounds like a pretty crappy host..


Anyways, i always thought a "cloud" was just any online storage..

    • 0

Actually, from all the host compagny I checked, only one was actually a true cloud (and I didn't test it, it was simply via their answer)

Most (if not all) of the host who said they are cloud aren't really... they just have a control panel.

    • 0
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