I recently argued that cloud is not a suitable solution for the online shops, blogs, forums and content driven sites that constitute the vast majority of the web. After all, these are websites that need nothing more than a CPU and a database, which can be provided at lower annual cost by the numerous VPS and Shared Hosting providers.
But even if a shared host is more sensible for your business, you may still benefit from some short-term access to the cloud:
The cloud is a great resource for testing the minimum hardware requirements for your online service. This is exactly what I did for my own startup. Unsure of how much computing power I will require, I started off by using Amazon’s smallest cloud solution, a ‘Micro’ machine instance with only 613MB of memory and a low power CPU. Slowly I progressed up the stack, to larger and more powerful systems. Keep climbing up the ‘power stack’ until you find a server that can just support your requirements. You can now move the code back to a standard VPS for cheap, long-term hosting, but with the comfort that you will choose exactly the hardware that you need.
Some companies require a website for only short-term use, to run online competitions and other short term promotions. These websites really don’t need the services of a cloud provider. But they may be cheaper to run on the cloud if their online presence is expected to last for less than a month (you will find that costs after a month may make it cheaper to go back to using a standard VPS or Shared Host).
Next article: Why your business really needs the cloud