Cloud virtualization – Containers & VPS Solutions
Containers and Virtual Private Servers (VPS) both use software virtualization to partition and allocate hardware resources on cloud networks. VPS plans operate with hypervisor software providing shared kernel support across multiple native host operating system installations on a web server with fixed resource allocations. Containers use a runtime engine for virtualization and micro or nano operating systems with cloud orchestration frameworks like Kubernetes , Docker Swarm, Mesosphere DC/OS, OpenStack, CloudStack, or CoreOS Tectonic for elastic scaling of resource provisioning on web servers. Docker, rkt/etcd, LXC/LXD, Apache Mesos, & Kata Containers with Hyper runV are the leading open source platforms for container orchestration.
Virtual Private Servers (VPS), Virtual Machines (VMs), and container platforms like Docker are widely used together in complex cloud network construction and data center management. Containers have the advantage of faster boot times, elastic cloud orchestration frameworks, lower system resource usage requirements, better OS security, and multi-tenant isolation. VPS and container solutions can both include hardware provisioning from disk images using command line tools for automated web server software stack deployment. VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, Virtuozzo/OpenZV, Parallels, Citrix XenServer, KVM, & SolusVM are some of the most popular VPS management software tools in the web hosting industry. VPS plans are popular with small businesses, ecommerce stores, & web/mobile apps that need an affordable way to run a customized web server environment for software support. VPS plans provide all of the major advantages of running dedicated servers to users while contracting for data center services.
What is the difference between Containers & VPS?
Most of the Linux VPS plans available in web hosting run on KVM, Xen, or Virtuozzo/OpenVZ software, whereas Windows VPS plans more often implement VMware, Parallels, & Microsoft Hyper-V solutions. All of these platforms offer competing or complimentary hypervisor support for sharing OS kernel resources and virtual drivers between VPS partitions on the same hardware. Web hosting companies and other IT data centers make use of VPS plans for shared system resource allocation. It is easy to configure VPS plans at a webhost with the exact amount of system RAM, dedicated CPU cores, SSD storage, or monthly bandwidth required for web/mobile app support. In this manner, the resources of the largest, most recent generations of web servers running Intel & AMD multi-core processing can be divided between autonomous VPS plans running in parallel in a data center on the same hardware. The platform management tools guarantee user account isolation in a multi-tenant environment, web server security, file storage partitions, as well as RAID storage backups of all active website files, databases, etc. that can be cached for better performance with cloud load balancing utilities.
Containers operate similarly, but using a runtime engine like Docker, rkt, LXC/LXD, Hyper runV, etc. for virtualization on top of a host operating system. Containers installed with a micro or nano OS load more quickly than VPS or VMs with software stack packages at 10x or 100 times the storage size (MBs/GBs). This allows container servers to load programmatically in less than one second where VPS partitions may take 3 to 10 seconds to fully launch on reboot. Some web/mobile developers install containers on VPS partitions for Microservice integration and multiple programming language support in isolated environments. KVM virtualization is most popular on Linux servers, while Microsoft’s Hyper-V is the standard on Windows. VMware provides the largest number of VPS tools for companies on private cloud or public cloud installs, although the code is proprietary and more expensive than open source alternatives like Citrix XenServer. Docker and Kubernetes offer companies the ability to provision and scale elastic cluster web server networks to support the highest levels of user traffic on cloud hardware resources. CoreOS, RHEL OpenShift, SUSE MicroOS, RancherOS, OpenStack, CloudStack, & Mesosphere DC/OS are the most popular open source software distributions for container orchestration with Docker & Kubernetes. KVM, OpenVZ/Virtuozzo, Xen, & SolusVM are the most popular Linux software platforms used for VPS management in web hosting.
Containers & VPS – Advantages/Disadvantages
VPS plans are very efficient in partitioning multiprocessor web servers with large RAID storage allocations into many isolated environments for client use in multi-domain web hosting. VPS plans may be fully managed, with the host operating system and web server framework pre-installed, or unmanaged, with the user given the ability to install any Windows or Linux OS on a fixed hardware (CPU, RAM, Storage) partition. Because VPS plans run a full operating system and may be over-allocated with hardware to meet uptime requirements, container virtualization can be more efficient in resource utilization for large scale data centers. Container systems running a micro or nano operating system and launching from disk images can boot faster than VPS platforms. VPS plans support web traffic larger than shared hosting accounts will provide but smaller than a single dedicated server, with configurations ranging from 1 to 32 cores, 1GB to 128 GB RAM, SSD or HDD storage options, & fixed rate or unlimited monthly bandwidth options.
Containers are used with elastic cloud orchestration software like Kubernetes, Docker Swarm, Mesosphere DC/OS Marathon, OpenStack, CloudStack, & CoreOS Tectonic to manage web server resources for data center operations in clusters. VPS hosting plans are available starting in the $10 to $20 per month range, competing with dedicated servers for resource provisioning cost, while container-based elastic cloud hosting services scale past the dedicated server level with “pay-as-you-go” provisioning that can cost the largest companies hundreds of millions of USD per year. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) or Container-as-a-Service (CaaS) plans allow small businesses and SMEs to use the same tools as enterprise companies in web/mobile app support and to gain competitive advantages through the pricing of cloud hosting with integrated web server security features. The use of multiple data centers internationally and domestically for some online businesses is viewed as strategically important to 100% uptime goals and data integrity in backups for financial transactions. Software start-up companies build on these services so they can scale quickly with user traffic on public cloud hardware platforms, while guaranteeing a specific web server stack construct is run in production to support custom web/mobile app code.
Containers – Main platform standards
Docker is the leading open source platform for container virtualization, with the Docker Runtime Engine, Docker Swarm, & Docker Disk Repository forming an integrated suite of tools and utilities for web/mobile app developers. Docker works together with the main DevOps and version control software for distributed Agile/Scrum teams to program more efficiently according to CI/CD requirements. Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) necessitates that development teams publish regular updates, security patches, bug fixes, and new features to web/mobile application code that must be tested in advance as well as including server stack software compatibility. The ability for Docker containers to use runtime images for server software stack deployments means that DevOps teams can more easily guarantee platform compatibility and code portability across various hardware configurations and cloud service vendors.
CoreOS rkt, LXC, LXD, Linux-VServer, OpenVZ/Virtuozzo, Apache Mesos, Hyper runV, & Kata Containers all provide virtualization standards for containers that are generally inter-operable with Docker solutions. RancherOS, CoreOS, SUSE MicroOS, RHEL Atomic Host, VMware Photon, & Microsoft Windows Nano are all operating systems designed specifically for use in container cloud orchestration. RHEL OpenShift and SUSE OpenStack Cloud 7 platforms both provide Container-as-a-Service (CaaS) options for data centers in public, private, and hybrid cloud architecture building with OpenStack tools. OpenStack, CloudStack, and Mesosphere DC/OS are the most advanced of the available open source solutions available for cloud data center management. These tools allow the complete orchestration of cloud network resources on data center resources through integrated scheduling, auto-deployment, account management, disk image provisioning, and elastic web server automation. Running under “pay-as-you-go” billing on a public cloud platform, these solutions can scale to support the IT requirements of even the largest, most popular SaaS or media companies in the world.
All of the largest public cloud service providers, i.e. Google, AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM BlueMix, HP, Oracle, etc. now offer CaaS plans with Docker & Kubernetes support for enterprise clients or web/mobile startups, ecommerce companies, SMEs, & NGOs. Google & AWS container services with cloud orchestration using Kubernetes & Docker can be used to support web hosting companies with thousands of customers and millions of registered domain names on outsourced data center hardware. These service companies focus on custom web server stack platform management under the PaaS/SaaS/CaaS models and compete heavily with the various public cloud service providers for wholesale pricing on hardware. Many start-up companies assemble multi-cloud deployment tools that can be plugged into OpenStack, Docker, & Kubernetes for Microservice & API-driven functionality or to utilize better version control for updates in DevOps teams. The SaaS model allows many companies to compete at providing new communication, knowledge sharing, collaboration tools, or cloud software apps that replace traditional desktop installs. CRM, accounting, bookkeeping, billing, time-tracking, and document sharing are all other examples of SaaS sectors where many start-up companies compete for business on the public cloud model.
Virtual private servers (VPS) – Software
The main advantage of VPS platforms are their ability to run partitions with both Windows and Linux operating systems on the same hardware. This is accomplished through resource sharing at the kernel level using virtual drivers and multi-tenant isolation. VPS software guarantees a fixed amount of system RAM, dedicated CPU cores, and storage allocation per partition, with administrator isolation, file security, and super-user permissions managed at the platform level that can be integrated with billing, analytics, load balancing, monitoring, & security utilities for data center management. KVM is the most important hypervisor framework for Linux, with OpenVZ, Virtuozzo, SolusVM, and other tools building on KVM & Xen primarily to enable managed/unmanaged VPS hosting plan services for major brands.
Microsoft Hyper-V, Parallels , and VMware offer proprietary licensed software for companies that manage complex VPS installations in data centers for both desktop and web server networks. Citrix XenServer and VMware solutions were very popular in large data center management during the first wave of virtualization, during which VPS plans from web hosting companies offered a more efficient path to data center resource allocation for businesses compared to dedicated server costs. Containers operate in the cloud paradigm of elastic cloud server networks scaling to provide complete data center outsourcing services for enterprise companies or .gov/.edu/.mil organizations. VMware offers services on AWS and Google Cloud as well as through partner integrator companies like Rackspace. The shift from VPS to container solutions has largely been driven by the rise of public cloud service offerings with Docker & Kubernetes support. Web hosting companies have integrated VPS aspects into their shared hosting plans and provide cloud VPS plans with elite SSD hardware configurations running managed web server stack software. These allow shared hosting plans to operate with more resource allocation in tiers and provide better web traffic support on CMS sites for high performance.
OpenVZ, Virtuozzo, & SolusVM provide VPS platform management tools suitable for web hosting industry applications while Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware, & Parallels solutions are leading in corporate enterprise deployments in large IT centers. Much of what VPS solutions accomplished for businesses 10 or 20 years ago is being supplanted by containers, elastic cloud constructs, and the public cloud model of web hosting. With this is increased reliance on DevOps tools through Agile teams with CI/CD requirements and the use of version control in web publishing. VPS plans running CentOS, CloudLinux, or RHEL give users the ability to run cPanel software or WHMCS for web hosting applications & multi-domain support. Senior management groups must coordinate hiring and training policies of IT staff around platform choices made on system administration tools. Cloud hosting pricing is prepared by IT departments and Agile/Scrum project managers for comparison with long-term costs of private cloud upkeep.
Containers – Web hosting solutions
Cloud hosting is defined by the model of the largest IT companies building data centers with millions of rackmount servers running together and offering the hardware, fiber connections, software stack, etc. for the services at prices lower than a business could manage at the same cost internally. Google, AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM BlueMix, Oracle, & HP all operate public cloud server platforms where even the largest media companies, banks, industrial companies, or government agencies can switch their “in-house” IT service departments from local bare metal hardware installations to remote resources and save money on regular upgrades, systems administration, web development, and server deployment costs. Google and Amazon support millions of simultaneous users and customers, then make their advanced data center management, custom database, and web development tools available to programmers under the PaaS/IaaS models. Businesses can procure CaaS plans with Docker and Kubernetes support on public cloud hosts at costs much lower than private cloud maintenance and construction.
Security on the public cloud hosts is trusted by the largest media/finance corporations and government agencies for reliability and is priced in the upper range for small business or SME plans. For example, a start-up web business may operate 3 to 10 web servers in a cloud cluster at costs from $350 to $1500 per month for IT operations in support, whereas a larger corporation like Netflix or Verizon may bill at $200 million per year for hundreds of thousands of web servers at a time on the same platform, using the same software tools and hardware infrastructure. Only the largest public cloud operators have the resources to support enterprise and government agencies at this scale for over millions of domain names or through percentages of Fortune 500 business share. Docker and Kubernetes platforms are some of the few active frameworks proven to scale to data center management at the levels required by corporate enterprise and governance through automated web server resource provisioning in public clouds.
All of the major cloud companies now offer container orchestration and Kubernetes web hosting services under “pay-as-you-go” billing for businesses to deploy complex web/mobile applications in elastic clusters with Microservice support. For example, developers can use containers with APIs and Serverless processing to add new functionality to websites or build integration with AI/ML/DL platforms. This can be used for image recognition, text-to-speech apps, voice processing, language translation, improved search results, & product recommendations etc. in web/mobile applications. Other uses are improved ecommerce product marketing or media content analytics, faster processing of financial transactions, the ability to support complex programming language requirements, and the provisioning to auto-scale hardware resources to match web traffic with 100% uptime guarantees & encrypted data security. Disk images allow containers to boot in under a second, loading web/mobile apps at scale to millions of users at a time, each with customized content & product recommendations. System administrators can provision the exact amount on hardware required for web/mobile app support, whereas public cloud providers have integrated tools for Docker & Kubernetes that make it easier to scale to meet variable rates of web traffic without over-provisioning dedicated hardware resources.
VPS plans – Web hosting solutions
Most shared web hosting platforms run managed services with resource allocations for multi-domain portfolios starting with 512 MB to 784 MB RAM minimums plus options for virtual RAM (vRAM) usage on the storage partition. CMS website owners or ecommerce sites that need more processing power for scripts can upgrade to VPS plans as an intermediate stage between leasing a full dedicated server. VPS plans can be provisioned with between 1 to 32 dedicated CPU multiprocessing cores, 1 GB to 128+ GB in RAM, various amounts of HDD or SSD storage, & monthly bandwidth at competitive prices between the major web hosting brands. Some web hosting companies offer Cloud VPS plans with elite SSD hardware configurations, managed web server software stack installations, robust platform security, developer tools, etc., while other companies provide unmanaged VPS platforms with more developer flexibility & freedom for unique OS and programming language extension configurations. Which approach is better depends on the particular needs of the development project, where hardware with price per GB of RAM, dedicated CPU cores, GB/TB of SSD/HDD storage capacity, monthly bandwidth rates, & number of included IP addresses or SSL/TLS certificates are most determinant on comparisons between different hosting brands.
VPS plans are almost always cheaper than dedicated server plans, representing a partition of a fraction of a web server’s resources, but some VPS plans can actually be provisioned with more multi-processing resources than a dedicated server plan due to advances in multi-core CPU hardware technology. Similarly, VPS installations can be orchestrated in cloud clusters for complex web/mobile application support with CMS sites, while container-based solutions are popular in DevOps with the use of disk images for full stack deployment in custom-coded apps with large teams of programmers, i.e. as solutions for private companies in industry or SaaS start-up companies. Many webhosts offer Bitnami or similar disk image services on VPS plans with the ability to save website back-ups as full-stack disk image snapshots. These can be ported between VPS accounts in development or used to restore a website in case of a database crash or systems power loss. Snapshot services make heavy use of Git and command line tools for regular web server security updates, as well as loading stack OS software in containers and VMs.
Overall, KVM is the most popular hypervisor used in VPS hosting, where Citrix XenServer is also a reliable platform option for data center management. OpenVZ and Virtuozzo are similar software with one free under open source licensing agreements and the other a paid, professionally licensed distribution for web hosting companies to launch and manage VPS networks with virtual partitioning including monitoring, billing, & analytics for domain service plans. SolusVM is also a software platform for VPS management in web hosting with support for multiple hypervisors, integrated billing, invoicing, load balancing, & web database security tools. The Hyper-V virtualization products and tools available through Microsoft Azure Cloud & Windows are industry leading, with VMware solutions running on AWS, Google Cloud, or other public/private cloud hardware interchangeably. GoDaddy & MediaTemple have a VPS platform suite based on Parallels virtualization tools. All of these VPS services are commonly marketed as cloud solutions by web hosting companies through faster SSD hardware sold against retail plans. Customers adopt PaaS/SaaS/IaaS models when signing up for powerful VPS configurations at discount flat rates, and receive superior performance and page load speeds for WordPress & other CMS apps as a web hosting solution.
Containers vs. VPS – Comparison
Containers are widely used in corporate IT deployments in support of web/mobile applications like major media companies, finance/banking groups, industrial manufacturers, government organizations, etc. at scale in data center operations through elastic cluster web server networks. VPS plans are used by a wide variety of web publishers, ecommerce websites, and multi-domain developers for their web hosting requirements. Both VPS and container hosting can facilitate custom code requirements as well as distributed programming teams. Largely it depends on the expected or given user traffic base of a website, domain, or mobile app how much total hardware resources will be required to support operations in production.
For web/mobile applications that need to scale beyond what one dedicated server or VPS partition will support, elastic cluster servers have become the preferred option with container orchestration using Docker & Kubernetes or other frameworks. These solutions are robust enough to operate for Netflix, Verizon, Twitter, Google, Amazon, & Microsoft as web publishing tools that support the highest rates of traffic in the world. As public cloud service providers, these companies provide their software to SMEs, enterprise companies, government agencies, education groups, and NGOs under highly competitive rates for hardware, with innovative software stack features and other API-driven tools. Public cloud operators challenge shared hosting companies to introduce new services, products, and features into their platforms to keep clients from migrating away. Public cloud operators also have large sales & marketing budgets that can lead to greater brand recognition than smaller, independent webhost companies or start-ups.
Many companies in the process of modernizing legacy IT operations and applications for cloud hosting advantages have different needs, requirements, budgets, etc. that will determine which approach is most appropriate for each project. The preferences or project management approach of the programming team can also determine whether a VPS or container orchestration platform is required. Both VPS & container platforms will support Microservice development with web/mobile apps. The determining factor is web traffic scale measured in page hits per day, number of simultaneous users, how the servers and websites are configured for caching, use of integrated CDN services, etc. The budget and creative ability of the web/mobile app development team compared to the use case scenario or project requirements in operation are also determining factors between VPS & container solutions. Open source and proprietary licensing standards can highly influence which choice is ultimately best for a business group, non-profit organization, or other online projects.
Containers vs. VPS – Server resources
One of the main advantages of containers over VPS plans is that they can be deployed with lower system overhead in resource allocation, saving money through efficiency in provisioning and superior launch times. RancherOS, CoreOS, SUSE MicroOS, and other Linux distributions for containers offer the smallest total file size possible for the fastest boot times when operating at scale. These distros also have minimal kernel elements with fewer security upgrades and patches. The advantages of micro or nano OS installs are mostly found through elastic cloud orchestration and Microservice integration. Software Defined Networking (SDN) and APIs allow developers to build web/mobile apps with complex functionality, encryption across communication channels, AI/Ml/DL support, or dynamic content generation & “big data” search results. Docker containers with CoreOS or RancherOS can be 10 to 100 times smaller in overall installation footprint than some VPS partitions running a full operating system with many programming language extensions. Multiplied by thousands or millions of users, containerized apps can save money on data center operations for IT companies in production.
Containers make cross-platform app portability vendor neutral, where the same containers can be transferred seamlessly to other hardware vendors through IP routing and loading Docker/Kubernetes disk image files. VPS plans are an excellent resource for independent developers to configure custom programming environments for new web/mobile app development. However, most VPS plans lack elastic cluster server capability instead include only the ability to provision more RAM, CPU cores, or storage for a virtual server without taking the website offline. VPS plans replicate the dedicated server model with fixed system resource allocation, but may need to be over-provisioned to support peak rates of traffic as well as downtime periods on the same hardware. As most websites do not scale to require more than a single web server, VPS plans are a variable performance upgrade over shared hosting for CMS, CRM, & ecommerce websites managed by SMEs, or are commonly required for custom programming language environments when a small business is developing new software solutions for online clients.
Containers vs. VPS – Operating systems
RancherOS is one of the most popular micro or nano OS distributions available for Linux servers running container orchestration, with CoreOS Tectonic also popular for Kubernetes integration. Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux both offer OpenStack packages with container orchestration support that uses Docker for partitioning data center hardware into cloud networks with unified load balancing, systems administration, monitoring of data traffic, and web security tools. Otherwise, Mesosphere DC/OS (the Datacenter Operating System) is another major option for cloud orchestration using containers, and the Apache Mesos native container system can be used interchangeably with Docker & Kubernetes. Red Hat OpenShift and Atomic Host platforms will now include elements from CoreOS Tectonic for container orchestration and cloud cluster management with Kubernetes. The SUSE OpenStack Cloud 7 distro is packaged to use containers with MicroOS. CloudStack is another option for public/private/hybrid cloud data center networking utilities on open source foundations using containers.
Companies like Rackspace, Google, AWS, HP, IBM, Oracle, & Microsoft have custom cloud hosting services using Docker containers & Kubernetes for business solutions. Microsoft Windows Nano and VMware Photon are alternative OS distributions for containers with extensive development resources behind the software but proprietary licensing fees. Container-as-a-Service (CaaS) platforms allow any operating system or web server stack to be installed in seconds using disk snapshots, and similar features are also common on cloud VPS plans in web hosting. These services will give the ability to install CentOS, CloudLinux, Ubuntu, Fedora, RHEL, Slackware, Windows, BSD, etc. on a VPS plan with support for Apache, Nginx, & programming language frameworks like PHP, Python, Perl, Ruby, Node.js, RoR, etc. auto-configured with the stack snapshot. CMS publishers can launch the latest version of a web script automatically on top of the server stack, including custom programming environments like Zend for PHP or Acquia Dev Cloud for Drupal. Similarly these disk image snapshot services make it easier to deploy Nginx, LiteSpeed, Windows, or TomCat servers or different Linux/Apache web server distributions for code tests & website optimization.
Containers vs. VPS – Web traffic
Each webhost has a unique VPS platform and software stack, i.e. some using OpenVZ, Virtuozzo, Xen, Parallels, SolusVM, CentOS/cPanel, or Microsoft data center tools. Many companies use VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, SUSE, & RHEL in private cloud orchestration for business and industry. There is now increased portability between private cloud and public cloud environments for web/mobile app developers using containers. VPS plans are popular for distributed development teams using version control software like Git, CVS, & Subversion to collaborate. VPS plans developed from the early 2000s, whereas container orchestration is a later cloud hosting innovation becoming popular after 2014 when Kubernetes became an open source project or when AWS released EC-2 around 2008. Docker, Rancher, CoreOS, OpenStack, & Mesosphere DC/OS all scaled tremendously in widespread business adoption during that period of time. VPS plans will scale to the limit of resource allocation, whereas container platforms with elastic cloud web server orchestration will support complete data center operations at the highest levels of corporate enterprise and governance under “pay-as-you-go” billing models. It largely depends on a company’s website or mobile app publishing needs, budget, and web traffic as to which approach is required. Public cloud products offer the same services as private cloud hardware facilities at much lower prices and cost of maintenance.
Containers vs. VPS – Hosting speed
One of the main advantages of container solutions over VPS partitions at scale in cloud hosting is the speed in which each instance can boot in production under strain. In many tests, containers consistently boot in under one second in production with a micro/nano OS and disk image, whereas many VPS plans require 3 to 10 seconds minimally to boot, depending on the company, hardware, & OS installed. VPS plans operate as a dedicated server and may host multiple IP addresses per VM. In container orchestration, each node in the network can be assigned with a virtual IP address through the software management utilities. These constructs enable better Microservice, API, RESTful, & Stateless/Stateful processes for databases and complex web/mobile app software construction. All web/mobile apps rely on page load speed and web server performance for best ranking in the search engine results pages (SERPs). VPS plans on SSD hardware have been benchmarked to serve web pages in under 200ms, i.e. running WordPress or another CMS.
The difference between HDD and SSD storage options can make as much as a 20x speed difference in cloud hosting on any platform. Similarly, DNS response times may vary significantly between web hosting companies. The speed of a data center’s CPU hardware, the number of dedicated cores, their multiprocessing capability, generation of manufacture, etc. will all affect the benchmarking speed of the web server. These configurations may not be standardized across web hosting plans, price schemes, or cloud software platforms. Many publishers produce better web/mobile page load speeds through the use of Nginx servers over Apache or through the installation of Redis or Varnish Cache for superior web page caching to network users. Managed VPS platforms can offer optimized performance for CMS websites with integrated software stack tools that would cost thousands of dollars to create independently. These PaaS products save significant money on systems administration for SMEs and small businesses.
VPS & container plans compete with Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings like managed WordPress and Drupal hosting that is specifically optimized for improving the overall performance speeds of popular CMS websites at scale. WPengine, Pantheon, & Kinsta are all examples of hosting companies offering platform specific hosting for CMS sites with an emphasis on elite hardware configurations and the fastest page load speed performance. Many of these solutions run Nginx, Varnish Cache, & Redis for better page caching and load balancing on domain hosted data center traffic. Container sites running on AWS, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure have guaranteed fastest response times due to data center locations, traffic volume, hardware provisioning, fiber connection speeds, reliability, etc. but still get undercut by bargain webhosts on VPS plans for independent web publishers, small businesses, & ecommerce websites in the retail hosting marketplace. On a fundamental level, it is the benchmark speed of the cloud host hardware, web server software stack optimizations, plus web page caching that will most determine the performance of web/mobile applications in production.
Containers vs. VPS – Data security
The VPS platform software ecosystem has grown over almost two decades to include robust open source and proprietary licensed options for business applications of almost any size. Most of these platforms are peer reviewed for security but must be regularly patched with updates and bug-fixes to repair any issues. Some analysts and technicians believe that containers are more secure than VPS partitions in multi-tenant environments because of the differences between hypervisors and runtime engines in virtualization. The micro or nano operating systems are preferred because they include fewer kernel elements or extensions with potential security vulnerabilities. Other companies have invested significantly in VPS platform solutions and need to optimize them for best overall performance with new cloud software tools.
Network firewalls, malware scanning, account permissions, anti-DDoS attack protection, database backups, virus scanning, and web application firewalls all can be installed as part of a web server stack distribution to improve security. SSL encryption can be enabled on all data transmissions to insure user privacy. Some companies view the security provided on managed VPS and CaaS plans to be better than self-hosted or private cloud, or vice versa. With open source vs. proprietary code, there are various advantages and disadvantages to each approach for every business or organization. Some programmers & developers view Windows solutions as more secure while some in the same group or team view Linux solutions as more secure. Companies are forced to make a platform choice and then build around development requirements for web/mobile app production.
Containers and VPS platforms can run Linux and Windows interchangeably with equal support used to provide virtualization tools for web servers in either environment. ASP.Net /Visual Studio developers will require Windows servers while PHP/Python/Perl/RoR programmers will prefer Linux servers. Node.js developers may deploy on Java server frameworks. Any web server operating system will have security vulnerabilities unless regularly patched with upgrades, making cloud server maintenance along with web script platform updates important aspects of web security for WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, & Magento publishers. PaaS/IaaS/SaaS/CaaS business models are considered to offer better web security in data center operations by having elite facilities, top experts in the field, and more financial resources to dedicate to cloud platform support systems. Other executives feel there is more risk in storing sensitive company data in a third party, remote service operation that employees outside of the business can access. Adding layers of encryption in VPS and container-driven apps make cloud deployment and web/mobile app construction more complex. Similarly, the use of Microservices and third-party APIs can add security holes to a website not anticipated when adopted by an organization. Regular pen-testing and chaos-testing of apps is recommended to be aware of the pathways that hackers and script-bots use when targeting websites or how complex apps degrade when parts of different systems fail.
Containers vs. VPS – Cost
Container hosting plans are priced on a “pay-as-you-go” model of billing to compete at wholesale volume to customers who require the lowest prices on advanced data center hardware. Google, AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM BlueMix, HP, & Oracle all compete for the business of the Fortune 500 companies and governmental institutions worldwide, have platform options for education institutions to adopt their services, and make the same tools the largest organizations use in web hosting available to any business or developer at affordable rates to make new web/mobile apps that can scale to the highest levels of web traffic. These companies earn billions of dollars per year through cloud hosting and this sector remains one of the fastest growing in the global economy. Many have entry level plans targeted at small business owners and local groups that compete with traditional web hosting brands.
Container plans are still priced at higher prices than VPS options because of the cloud orchestration administration for cluster web servers and the rarity of the number of companies developing CaaS platforms at the scale of data center management. Nevertheless, container hosting and Kubernetes hosting plans compete competitively with dedicated server and large data center investment requirements with next-generation cloud platform support for programming teams. These solutions also compete functionally with AWS EC-2 products without vendor lock-in for business organizations. VPS plans start around $20 per month and scale to costs similar to a dedicated server, i.e. $150 to $350 per month depending on hardware configurations, stack software, & included third-party utilities. The same resource allocation might cost $450 to $850 per month with dedicated hardware plans. Container hosting is priced on the “pay-as-you-go” approach with only the exact amount of server resources, processing time, bandwidth, storage, etc. required charged for at wholesale rates, designed to challenge these same price ranges for popular online businesses. It largely depends on the public cloud operator, software licensing fees, and web/mobile app development requirements which solution is best for particular projects to make use of available investment resources. Many businesses are willing to pay extra for the reliability of elastic cloud constructs that auto-scale efficiently in production.
Most companies cannot compete with Google, AWS, Microsoft, IBM, etc. with voice/image recognition, automated transcription, & language translation apps or AI/ML/DL processing so that API and Microservice integration with these cloud services become an affordable way for SMEs to add cutting-edge innovation to their IT products. Private cloud purchasing needs to be evaluated vs. public cloud hosting options for complex organizations and independent web publishers to procure hardware at the most affordable prices. Elastic server platforms are considered a more sustainable long-term IT solution for online companies over dedicated server and VPS hardware, but may require more technically skilled programmers and developers to manage. The cost savings represented by Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) products saves thousands of dollars in systems administration costs for even the smallest businesses to implement, and thus can be viewed as an exceedingly good bargain for independent web publishers, i.e. when priced competitively with Cloud SSD VPS plans in the $40 to $150 per month minimum range. The largest Fortune 500 companies pay hundreds of millions of dollars to use the same software & hardware at scale, so PaaS models guarantee industry reliability for SME cloud operations and custom-coded web/mobile application requirements.
The most common way websites scale is by starting on shared hosting plans and upgrading through VPS levels as web traffic increases to support larger script processing requirements or database query volume. Companies that need support beyond a single dedicated server or VPS plan can build around elastic cluster server frameworks using container virtualization. Docker, Kubernetes, RancherOS, CoreOS, RHEL, & SUSE Linux are all leading in developing container solutions for cloud data center management. OpenStack, CloudStack, and Mesosophere DC/OS provide data center management tools based around containers. Kubernetes sets the leading standard for elastic cloud container orchestration using Docker, while Docker Swarm, Marathon, rkt/Tectonic, and other platforms compete for market share. The main competitor in the IaaS sector is AWS EC-2 which pioneered elastic cloud server platform technology on the web, with the Rackspace-developed LiquidWeb CloudSites platform similar but marketed to small business & publisher requirements. Google Cloud, AWS, & Microsoft Azure have the most advanced public cloud CaaS options for Docker & Kubernetes solutions. The alternative choice for companies is private cloud orchestration with OpenStack, CloudStack, or Mesosphere DC/OS, or using data center solutions from Microsoft, VMware, Parallels, Citrix XenServer, RHEL, SUSE Linux, CoreOS, Rancher, etc. to manage Docker & Kubernetes installs.
VPS platforms build around a hypervisor like KVM, Xen, Hyper-V, etc. and management tools like VMware, OpenVZ/Virtuozzo, & SolusVM. These allow large, new multi-processor web servers running multi-core CPUs to be partitioned effectively for shared resource utilization in web hosting. Container solutions are more lightweight and scriptable than VPS plans for elastic cloud web server deployments. VPS plans are powerful and customizable solutions for small businesses and ecommerce websites with new module, plugin, template, & theme development requirements on CMS platforms. Containers will scale to support web/mobile apps with millions of users, while VPS plans can be used to grow from shared hosting limitations to more expensive hardware allocations at a fraction of the cost of dedicated server resource allocation. Elastic web server frameworks target VPS & dedicated server business plans using “pay-as-you-go” billing, charging only per second of required processing power or total number of cores, servers, storage, bandwidth, etc. consumed. These plans permit even the largest telecom & media companies to outsource their data center operations to the cloud and save money on IT costs. SMEs can take advantage of these advanced, new web/mobile app development tools at low introductory rates using public cloud PaaS/SaaS/CaaS products for their hosting requirements.