Cloud Computing - Questions & Answers

Is Cloud Computing for you and how could it help your business?

When it comes to computer systems "Cloud" is a term that describes a network model of a computer system in which the appliances (servers) that supply the processing resources (CPU, RAM, etc) are physically separated in a sub-system from the appliances used for data storage. The servers that supply CPU, RAM are called "Processing Nodes", while those which are used for data storage are named Storage Area Network (SAN). Both groups of hardware appliances are connected though a low latency interconnect (at least 10 Gbps) and work as a cluster. What makes a "Compute cluster" a Cloud is the use of a virtualization technology - VMware, Kernel-based VM, Hyper-V and others - which separates the underlying physical system hardware from the operational environment where certain Operating System and application software are installed.

It is that Cloud Hosting services are delivered from clustered server infrastructures, not from stand-alone physical servers. Any Cloud Computing infrastructure comprises of at least two sub-systems - Processing Nodes and Storage Area Networks (SAN) which combine their recourses in a single system to deliver various computing services. Any Cloud Hosting account usually resides on top of a Cloud Virtual Machine (Cloud VM or Cloud-based Virtual Server). If the Operating System (OS) of the Cloud VM or the physical host on which itself resides the Cloud VM, go down, the Cloud Server either restarts and get back online with a short interruption of the services or simply stays online by migrating itself in other part of the Cloud Computing system (the cluster of physical servers). The websites, apps and services that run on the Cloud Hosting account are not interrupted.

Traditional Web Hosting is a web hosting service delivered from a stand-alone physical or virtual server with no redundancy on an infrastructure level. If the stand-alone physical or virtual server goes down, the web hosting service goes down.

These usually are related to the technical functionality and the capabilities of the underlying Cloud Computing infrastructure to offer a number of services such as Load-balancing, High Availability, Fault-Tolerance both for the storage and/or the computing operations, scalability of the whole system itself and for teh separate Cloud instances.

Public Cloud is a virtualized computer (also called Virtual Environment), which works on a Cloud Computing infrastructure - Processing resources and operations work on a physically separate compute cluster from the data storage, which resides on a Storage Area Network (SAN) - and is accessible through Internet, through FTP, HTTP, HTTPS, etc. It is also called Public Cloud server or Cloud Server. Public Clouds are used like traditional servers to host websites and applications. However, in HCE Cloud infrastructure, Public Clouds feature services like High Availability and Automated Fault-Tolerance (100% service uptime). They can be scaled up and down without any interruption of the services or with a minimal one (when the extension of the Public Cloud requires reboot).

Public Clouds which are also called "Cloud Servers" have public IP addresses and can be accessed via HTTP, HTTPS or any other standard protocols. Public Clouds are used for hosting websites and apps, delivering web content, e-mail, application hosting as well as for any IT operations.

Private Cloud is a purpose-built Cloud Computing instance, which is secured and accessible only from selected locations and/or available for selected users (work groups).

They are used for any internal worlkloads and are only visible and accessible for selected users inside any organization.

Our Cloud Computing services and Clouds are built and provisioned with multiple levels of protection. The service derives from all the best practices for protecting physical IT infrastructures and networks and adds security capabilities built into vSphere, QSAN, vSAN and other software defined storage technologies. All data transmitted between the Clients’ on-premise infrastructure and the service is encrypted via VPN. All data between the HCE Cloud infrastructure and the Clients’ Private Cloud instances, Dedicated Cloud or Virtual Data Center is encrypted. The HCE Cloud infrastructure is monitored, tested for vulnerabilities and best practices for hardening are always implemented to enhance security.

Hybrid Cloud is a IT solution that connects the business office to the Cloud. It is a Cloud Computing infrastructure solution (IaaS) that connects the in-house office IT infrastructure to an IT infrastructure housed in a purpose-built data center (Cloud). The Hybrid Clouds allow businesses to deploy workloads into their Data Center based infrastructure, with the flexibility to move them between onsite and offsite environments, based on their requirements.

The Hybrid Clouds enables businesses to deploy an on-premises corporate IT infrastructure (the fashionable term is "Private Cloud") and to extend their office workloads into any chosen data center, without changing the way they operate. The main reason for any business to have a Hybrid Cloud is to host sensitive or critical workloads in a secure environment, in-house or in an isolated environment on the Cloud, while at the same having less-critical IT resources and workloads hosted on publicly accessible computing instanse, via Internet (Public Cloud) or into any data center located computing instances, which cannot be accessed via public Internet protocols (Private Cloud).

Our Cloud infrastructure is built with VMware Cloud computing technology. It allows us to offer our clients High Availability and Automated Fault-Tolerance for the processing operations (CPU, RAM etc.). We operate three types Storage Area Networks - one build with QSAN enterprise level appliances as well and two Software Defined Storage (SDS) area networks - one based on VMware vSAN and another built with FreeBSD SDS technology.

Our main European Virtual Data Center is based out of Equinix Sofia SO1 facility. However, we also deliver VMware based Cloud Computing services from Equinix facilities in Paris and London as well as from in Amsterdam, Athens, Bratislava and Vienna (through local partners).

Yes, we do! We offer various Fault-Tolerant storage services - both on an infrastructure level and as functionality. Our Public, Private and Hybrid Cloud server clients can choose between SATA, fast SAS2 or SSD-based fault-tolerant storage.

Yes, we do! High Availability (HA) service is included by default in the cost of all Public Clouds. They are highly available! HA is an add-on service to all Private and Hybrid Clouds as Clients might not need it and we are not one of those providers who like overcharging their customers. If you need a Cloud provider like that, please do not sign with HCE ;)

The High Availability (HA) service monitors Public Cloud servers to detect a failure on the underlying physical hosts or any Operating System failure inside the Cloud Servers. If an outage is detected, the HA restarts the Cloud instance on another physical host, part of the HCE infrastructure. The operations resume automatically. All services that run on the Public Cloud return online. There is not need to reboot the server manually.

Yes. There is a service called "Automated Fault Tolerance" (AFT), which totally eliminates the risk of an outage. The AFT creates a live shadow Cloud Server (Failover Cloud instance), which is synchronized and always up-to-date with the primary one. In an event of a hardware outage, the AFT automatically starts the failover Cloud Server, ensuring zero downtime and preventing data loss. It is a paid add-on service to all Public, Private and Hybrid Clouds.

Clients can choose between monthly payments and full-contract prepayment. Unlike most major clouds, HCE does not force Clients to prepay their 1-year, 2-year and 3-year contracts. We are honest Cloud Computing provider and we charge only for services we are delivering.

Other Clouds say "No, it cannot be cancelled before the subscription term expires". HCE says that we will carefully examine any request for Cloud Computing Service cancelation and depending on the contract length, terms, Client history and the justification submitted, we will try to offer you a contract amendment which would work for you. However, we cannot promise that we will be able to honor each and every contract amendment request.

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