Okay. I have to note from the start that I am learning much of this stuff as I go. This is not intended to be anything reminiscent of definitiveness on Cloud computing and Aptana Cloud in particular. If you happen to notice that I've written something that incorrectly represents a given topic, please let me know!!
I think it's safe to say that, at this moment in the Web, Cloud Computing is THE thing. While it would be easy to poke fun at the craze, it's actually a great thing. Traditional web hosting (and this is still the norm) consist on a single computer, upon which are installed: an operating system, a web server, a database server, a mail server, and other software. This one server is responsible for powering all aspects of your website...not to mention that it's not only your website on this machine. Most websites are on shared servers, as opposed to virtual private servers (VPS) or dedicated servers. There are typically hundreds of websites all on a single machine.
Enter the Cloud. The Cloud essentially abstracts your website from the hardware and software that run it. Rather than your site or application being tightly coupled to a particular set of technologies, the Cloud loosely couples your site or application to the underlying technology. This architecture, at a very base level, makes it easy to change or upgrade your application's underlying technology services and, on a Cloud, your site or application is easily scaled to meet resource demands.
This last point is pretty important and cool. When I deployed my first site to a Cloud (the specifics, of which, I'll get into in a future post), I was able to select a low level of system resources. Specifically, I was able to select 256MB of RAM, 5 GB of storage, and 10 TB (yep, TB) of transfer. Thus keeping my cost as low as possible (about $0.99/day with Aptana Cloud). Should my site becomes wildly popular and begins to demand more system resources than I have paid, I will receive an alert from my solution provider (Aptana). I can, of course, ignore this and let my site's performance suffer, or, I can quickly and easily log onto my control panel and up the amount of RAM for my site to 512MB, for a small fee of course!
In a matter of seconds, my site's memory-related performance problem is solved. The additional RAM I "ordered" is made immediately to my site. Later, when people have gotten sick of me and my site, I can use the same easy system to lower the amount of RAM for my site, dropping it back to 256MB and, thus, lowering my cost. It's a pretty nice way to go (so far, that is :)!
In my next post, I will get started using the Aptana Cloud service, which I will access through Aptana Studio (see Development Environment post if interested in specifics of the environment(s) in which I work.
Up Next: Getting Started with Aptana Cloud (link not activated until next article has been published)