An Introduction to ‘Clustered Web Hosting’

Let us first understand what is stand alone hosting. In this system all the web services, like the site’s control panel to FTP to email servers, are run on a single server. This becomes a little cumbersome for the machine, and thus leads to slow functioning. Now you know why sites are often ‘down’ when you try to access them!

What is clustered webhosting advantages

Web hosting companies in particular face this problem as they have to host several websites simultaneously. The whole idea behind clustered hosting is eliminating this down time, by sharing the job of running websites over multiple servers.

So what is clustered hosting?

A cluster is a system where a few computers work together for performing heavy duty processing or other tasks critical to the mission. Applications that must run continuously, or those that cannot afford to lose any data, make use of this technology. Think of these servers like engines on an aircraft. Even when one fails, the others keep the plane in the air.

There are 3 different models:

High Availability

The cluster model is set up so that services and resources can be provided continuously. The basis of this model is that if any one server in the cluster is down, services and applications can be accessible on a different server. This cluster type is used in mission critical email data bases, file servers and so on.

Load Balancing

In this model of clustering, incoming resource requests and traffic is distributed among all the servers in the cluster. This means that every server is responsible for handling requests. In the event a particular server goes on the fritz, the requirements are redistributed among the functioning servers. This model is generally used in application servers.

High Availability Load Balancing

As you may have guessed, this model combines the two mentioned above. This makes the services more easily available and scalable. This cluster type is used the most for email, web and application servers.

So basically this is a data driven hosting platform that does not rely on just one single server.

What are the chief benefits of clustered hosting? At a glance they are:

  • Server capacity is utilized better
  • Performance and availability is good
  • Scalable
  • Reduces costs.
  • Enhanced security

In clustered hosting every website is protected from its neighbours. A site running a heavy database will not affect other sites because its requests are spread over many servers. Even where there are abrupt spikes in bandwidth usage or traffic, the sites are not affected much. As the load of hosting sites is spread out so much, the odds of one service affecting another are virtually zip. Generally all sites that comprise of heavy duty databases are spread really thin across several servers to minimize the chances of the heavy work load from draining the resources and subsequently slowing down other websites.

This is also advantageous when you are performing program updates and you have to reboot the servers. Whenever you need to reboot, websites can continue to run on the other available servers while you reboot a specific server; the reboot can be rolled out gradually across all the servers. This also applies whenever you have to implement software upgrades. If you are on online entrepreneur or are hoping to be one, then you must consider the necessity of clustered hosting.

Conclusion

Every single day more businesses and organizations create and host their own websites. In this situation it is necessary to find a web hosting company that recognizes the need to balance the work load across their servers and resources. After all, no customer likes to keep waiting for a web site to load, or to see a ‘Cannot load this Page’ message.

This is a guest post by Nathan Brown of buyatt.com, a site that offers savings and current information on at&t Uverse services.

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