Like Driving a Car
When trying to work out what to expect from the various web hosting platforms, consider an analogy with car ownership.
- Cloud Computing is like hiring a taxi. You don't pay anything when you're not using it, but it's expensive when you do.
- Managed Hosting is like leasing a car. You can use it when you like and someone else has to service it, but you are typically tied in for a long period.
- Colocated Hosting is like owning your car. It's your responsibility to maintain, and you have to pay for valet parking.
- In-house Hosting is like owning your car. Everything is your responsibility, but make sure the council maintains your road up to the highways.
In all these scenarios you are trading off flexibility of consumption against cost - or fixed costs vs variable costs.
All technologies require expertise, but the 'less-owned' ones require less expertise. There is no such thing as a free lunch however; you always have to understand what's going on under the hood, even with cloud hosting.
And the Rest?
Okay, so what about shared hosting
or virtual private servers
Well, I'd say that they are analogous to train travel or bus travel. You have to share your space with a load of strangers, some of whom may be inclined to pick your pocket, and you aren't even guaranteed a seat.
I'd like to refer you to The Register's article - Google network lord questions cloud economics - Does Amazon make sense at 100% use?
The Register's article is in turn inspired by Vijay Gill's blog post, cloud economics.
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