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What's the Difference Between a Traditional ISP and the Cloud?

I've watched a couple of videos, including the one on the AWS website that provides a quick intro to the "Cloud" and some of the fundamental elements of AWS.

I wanted to run my comprehension of the Cloud past another set of eyes, however, just so I can be certain that I've got a correct understanding.

As I was listening to the presentation, I went back to a situation I had with a client a year ago when it was determined that we needed a dedicated server to host an application we were getting ready to launch.

A dedicated server plan is much more expensive than shared hosting plan and, while the funds were there to cover the costs, as I was listening to the presentation about the Cloud, it seemed like that scenario potentially demonstrated the advantages of the cloud.

With the cloud, you don't have the same kind of physical overhead as you do with something like godaddy. It's more of a virtual resource, but with that dynamic comes the ability to scale your package in ways that a traditional ISP can't do.

So, while I'm sitting here being told that I needed a dedicated server because that was the next tier of Godaddy's product offerings, with the Cloud I may have been able to get something that was more tailored to my specific need as opposed to a blanket kind of solution that, while it did the trick, may very well have been more than I needed.

Is that an accurate understanding of the Cloud, at least from the standpoint of scalability?
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brucegust
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brucegust
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Paul MacDonaldDirector, Information SystemsCommented:
"Is that an accurate understanding of the Cloud, at least from the standpoint of scalability?"

Essentially.  Cloud computing is essentially the GoDaddy service you spoke of, rebranded.  There are certain assumptions - such as management, flexibility, scalablility, and fault tolerance - that favor cloud computing versus a dedicated host, but these are all things that need to be contracted, so don't take any capability for granted.

Generally, the advantage of cloud computing is that your product is portable and/or distributed, so a failure in your host's network won't necessarily cause your product to be inaccessible.
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brucegustPHP DeveloperAuthor Commented:
So, whereas Godaddy has one central location in Arizona, the Cloud is going to be distributed over several locations, thus you have built in redundancy, yes?
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Paul MacDonaldDirector, Information SystemsCommented:
GoDaddy almost certainly has several physical locations as well, but when you contract with them for server space, you're probably on a specific server, with specific capabilities, in a specific location.  

When we speak about cloud computing, we presume certain capabilities, including redundancy and fault tolerance of the instance of your server.  So yes, the presumption would be that if a datacenter hosting your server went down for some reason, another datacenter would start an instance of your server so that your service was uninterrupted.  YMMV.  Read your contract.  Knock on wood.  Etc, etc.
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brucegustPHP DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Got it! I've got a potential client who's adamant about someone with AWS experience. My experience is nominal, but I want to encourage them by saying AWS is not a new syntax, it is simply a different type of ISP. Whatever skillset is needed to accurately engage AWS is procured as a result of just getting in there and doing it, much like you would with Godaddy or Network Solutions. In other words, sit down, figure it out and you're gold. As opposed to several books, multiple google searches and countless hours of study, documentation and practice.

Sound right?
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