Nigel Beighton, from Rackspace, gave a talk on how merchants can use cloud hosting to deal with peaks in demand.
Nigel outlined a strategy he called bursting, where merchants run their website on dedicated infrastructure that can couple with normal levels of traffic and use cloud hosting to automatically fire up additional servers to deal with peaks in demand.
He illustrated the point by showing graphs of an example website where excess demand was dealt with in this way. This is the main advantage of cloud hosting for merchants, because they do not have the cost of maintaining hardware that can coupe with peak demand.
Neil made some good points:
- Cloud hosting is not suitable for everyone - it's no good if your hosting can scale with demand but your software can't
- Cloud hosting has mostly been used for open source solutions, because there are currently issues with how closed source providers deal with licensing costs
I'm a big advocate of cloud hosting for large scale websites because the ability to scale up and down automatically gives website owners peace of mind.
There can be issues with PCI compliance and cloud hosting, for more information on this see PCI and cloud computing: Cloud computing compliance guide from SearchCloudSecurity.com.
Next Talk: Technical Performance Panel