Although according to Wikipedia, they weren’t launched until February 19, 2008, I first heard about Mosso (now Rackspace Cloud), a cloud computing (cloud hosting) service from a friend nearly two years ago.

At the time, I was working on a big web programming project, and despite the fact that it was on a dedicated server by itself, it was still slowing the site down quite a bit because of the sheer size of the project (the number of hits/second, the size of the database, the number of database queries, etc.).

Although I ended up not using it on that project due to the fact that I needed custom software installed on the server for this project, and they weren’t supporting it, the idea behind their hosting service intrigued me.

Since then, I have used their service for multiple projects, and have always been pleased with their reliability, scalability, and support.

The concept behind their service is relatively simple:

Instead of having one website on one server (and often having hundreds of websites on a single server), have a big “network”/cloud of interconnected web hosting servers, and have all websites hosted by that “cloud” of servers.

The benefits are many, but for most users, the primary selling points are:

1. The uptime, as well as data security, is a lot higher. This is because under a usual hosting setup, if the server goes down (has a hard drive failure, or some other issue), all websites on that server instantly go offline (and under some circumstances, data can be lost as well).

With a cloud setup, everything is redundant, so if one server goes down, the other servers automatically “take up the slack”, and there is zero downtime (theoretically, at least).

2. It is a lot more scalable. If you had a website on a usual hosting setup and you suddenly got a surge of traffic to your site, your server may or may not be able to handle the increased load.

Under a cloud setup, instead of being limited to the resources of one single server, you are limited to the resources of the dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of servers on the “network”, so theoretically, your site traffic could increase 100 times overnight, and your site would load just as fast as it would otherwise.

These two features in particular have suited themselves very well for several projects I have worked on that either have a large traffic potential (and need access to a huge amount of server resources), or where reliability, uptime, and data security are critical.

While they certainly have their little issues with occasional downtime, these issues are to be expected with technology like this that is relatively new to the scene, and for my projects, this hasn’t posed an issue so far.

Mosso, which is currently in the process of rebranding themselves as “The Rackspace Cloud”, is, as the name implies, a “division” of Rackspace, which is known for their “fanatical support”.

As cloud computing seems to be the future of web hosting, the move toward cloud hosting and tighter integration with Mosso on the part of Rackspace seems to be a very business-savvy move, as more and more developers look to upgrade their hosting from the standard shared server setup.

The only big downside to small websites looking to create their own account with Mosso is that their least expensive fee runs at $100/month, and increases from there based on the server resources used.

However, for larger websites where scalability and reliability is important, it might be worth taking a look at.

Nathan Malone

P.S. I am currently able to accept a limited number of additional clients for my PHP Development services. Interested in discussing the possibility of my handling your project for you? Contact me!

Filed under: Hosting