Summary of Leading Cloud Providers

Naked Element favour Digital Ocean hosting due to it’s flexibility, cost, security, ease of setup and control. However, there are other leading hosting providers. The summary below details the level of security and price of each different provider.

Types of Hosting

To best understand the offerings of the different providers, it is important to understand the different types of hosting generally available. ‘Hosting’ refers to servers running a company or a private individual’s applications, databases and data storage.

Public cloud – A public cloud is owned and operated by third-party providers. There are no hardware or maintenance costs associated with public clouds because they are often offered as a pay as you go approach, with very easily scalable servers.

Private cloud – A private cloud is a bespoke infrastructure that is designed to cater for specific businesses. Private clouds are hosted at data centres or at your business’ premises.

Hybrid cloud – A hybrid cloud is a combination of the best parts of both public and private clouds, depending on the operation that you looking to perform. An example of this would be using a public cloud for non-sensitive information transfer and a private cloud for business-critical workloads and workloads that require added security.

In-house servers – An in-house server is a server that is hosted inside of the business premises with hardware that has purchased and maintained by the company themselves. The data is stored inside of the business, but is only as secure as the server is.

Server in a data centre – You can also use privately owned server hardware and hold it in a data centre. This will keep all of these servers and data secure inside a specifically designed data centre.

 

Digital Ocean

Digital Ocean is a cloud infrastructure provider. They provide public cloud servers that allow you to store data securely and allow you to use your software anywhere that has an internet connection. This is one of the main reasons they are the favoured provider for software developers.

What are Digital Ocean’s key advantages?

  • Digital Ocean offers an SSD-Only cloud service. This means that the applications and software running on the server are run on a high-performance Solid State Drive. This benefits the application’s speed and performance.
  • Digital Ocean’s servers are professionally hosted at a low price. Their servers start at $5 per month and can be easily scaled with the application as it is used more.
  • They are more easily configurable and maintainable than in-house servers. If the server’s disk needs to be increased, all it takes is a click of a button, a reboot of the server and often less than an hour’s wait. This process can take days on an in-house server.

How secure is the data stored in Digital Ocean’s servers?

In theory, Digital Ocean can access your data, but this is only to give to government officials if they present Digital Ocean with a search warrant or US court order, as Digital Ocean is a US company. Digital Ocean must adhere to the Data Protection act and will not give anyone without authority access to your data.

The data that is stored in the data centre, if in the EU, will never leave the EU. If a foreign government (i.e a non-US government, as Digital Ocean is under US law) requests access to your data, Digital Ocean is under no obligation to accept this request without you allowing it. If a US government requests access to your data, and has the appropriate legal forms for this, i.e a court order, then Digital Ocean has to give them access to it.

Something else to consider is how secure you make your own server. You can choose to turn off root login, disable remote access and set up SSH keys which are a string of complex characters located on your machine. A user trying to access your server would need a copy of the private SSH key to access your server, making it very difficult for a hacker to get hold of, more so than passwords.

Price

The typical pricing of an application and database hosted on Digital Ocean is as follows:

Server Price
Application Server – 1GB RAM, 30GB SSD, 1 CPU $10 / month
Database Server – 1GB RAM, 30GB SSD, 1 CPU $10 / month
Total: $20 / month

 

AWS (Amazon Web Services)

Amazon Web Services is a cloud infrastructure provider. AWS provide public cloud servers that allow you to store data securely and allow you to use your software anywhere that has an internet connection. They allow you to quickly start up servers at the click of a button and will pre-configure them based on the options you choose.

What are AWS’s key advantages?

  • AWS boasts security that is recognised as stronger than on-premises servers, meaning that the security of their cloud servers are stronger than the security of in-house servers.
  • They offer low cost, pay as you go pricing with no up-front costs or long-term commitments. You pay for what you want to use and are free to stop at any time.
  • AWS has a wide variety of solutions and services provided from application hosting to websites to databases.
  • They can provide instant scalability. If you need to increase the size of the hardware used in the server, you can do so at the click of a button.

How secure is the data stored in AWS’s servers?

The AWS infrastructure has multiple security measures in place, both virtual and physical, to keep data secure, as it is stored in one of the AWS secure data centres.

You are free to set up your own SSH keys. SSH keys are a string of complex characters that are located on your machine. A user trying to access your server would need a copy of the private SSH key that you have to access your server, making it very difficult for a hacker to get a hold of, more so than passwords.

AWS has secure data centres across the globe. Without authorisation, nobody is able to access your data except if the US government has a court order or search warrant to access it. AWS must comply with the data protection act to keep your data secure.

Your data is stored on Amazon S3, which is a cloud storage service. Data in transit is encrypted, as well as when it is being stored. Amazon S3 encrypts your data when they store it and decrypts it on retrieval. The data is encrypted with 256-bit symmetric keys.

Price

The typical pricing of an application and database hosted on AWS servers are as follows:

Server Price
Application Server – approx: 1GB RAM, 30GB SSD, 1 CPU $10 / month
Database Server –  approx: 1GB RAM, 30GB SSD, 1 CPU $10 / month
AWS S3 Storage $0.0300 / GB
Total: ~$36 / month + storage

 

Rackspace

Rackspace offers a wide variety of private cloud servers available with the flexibility of catering to your business, whether it is big or small. They offer flexible and easily deployable cloud servers that allow you to configure them how you choose and will help you with the parts you can’t do yourself.  They also offer a dedicated server package that allows your application to run on a server that is only for your company and has no ties with any public cloud infrastructures.

What are Rackspace’s private cloud server’s  key advantages?

  • Rackspace offers an SSD cloud service. This means that the applications and software running on the server are run on a high-performance Solid State Drive. This benefits the application’s speed and performance.
  • Every server receives 40Gbps of network capacity to increase high-bandwidth application’s performance.
  • Pay-as-you-go payment plan. You only ever pay for what you use. The servers are easily scalable and cost scales with the hardware you use.
  • Local data centres so that your data will not leave the EU.

What are Rackspace’s dedicated server’s key advantages?

  • Rackspace offers a high level of performance.
  • Their service has enhanced security with a dedicated firewall and backup.
  • They have a 24/7 Support service for technical issues.
  • Proactive security patches are included.
  • They guarantee 100% uptime.

How secure is the data stored in Rackspace’s servers?

When hosting applications on one of Rackspace’s cloud services, your data will be stored in the data centre that you chose for your servers to be hosted at. These data centres are secured with biometric hand-print scanners and nobody has access to them without authorisation. If the US government presents a court order or search warrant to Rackspace and requests access to your data, Rackspace has a legal obligation to grant access. If a non-US government requests access, they are under no obligation to give access to your data without you saying so.

All of Rackspace’s staff that work at the data centre go through an in-depth screening process to ensure that there is no risk of customer details being leaked.

Price

The typical pricing of an application and database hosted on a Rackspace private cloud server are as follows:

Server Price
Application Server – approx: 1GB RAM, 30GB SSD, 1 CPU £17.52 / month
Database Server – approx: 1GB RAM, 30GB SSD, 1 CPU £17.52 / month
Service and Management £35.00 / month
Total: £70.40 / month

The typical pricing of an application and database hosted on a Rackspace dedicated server are as follows:

Dedicated server £640 / month

 

MigSolv

MigSolv offers a state-of-the-art data centre, in Norwich, that gives clients peace of mind that their data is safe. MigSolv offers rack space for your own servers so that you can store them securely in their data centre, lock them away and only allow yourself access to them. Your servers, and therefore the data, is accessible by you 24 hours a day and all visits are approved by an approved access list.

What are the key advantages of using MigSolv’s data centre’s?

  • Low chance of floods. The data centre is 39 meters above sea level.
  • Every rack is fitted with an electronic lock that is dedicated to each customer. This lock is for your use only.
  • Monitored by both manned and electronic security 24 hours a day.
  • Iris scanners to ensure that only your eyes will grant access to your data.
  • Local data centre so you can go in and check everything is in order whenever you want to.

How secure is the MigSolv data centre?

MigSolv boasts state-of-the-art security to ensure that your data cannot be accessed by anyone other than you without your permission. Only your iris will allow access to your data and the rack space that you rent is monitored 24/7 to ensure that there are no internal threats. Dedicated electronic locks protect your rack spaces so that no two are the same.

There is also the case of how secure you make your own server. You can choose to turn off root login, disable remote access and set up SSH keys which are a string of complex characters that are located on your machine. A user trying to access your server would need a copy of the private ssh key that you have to access your server, making it very difficult for a hacker to get hold of, more so than passwords.

Price – The typical pricing of an application and database hosted on the same virtualized  physical server (1 unit)  in the MigSolv data centre are as follows:

 

Rack space / unit £50 / month
Bandwidth £10 / Mbps / month
Switch Starts at ~£10
Total run cost per month: £60 + server maintenance
Connect connectivity to the rack £250
Your own hardware and setup Dependent on hardware
Total setup: £250 + server setup

 

Summary

Naked Element has found that all of the different providers offer a similar level of security and only permit access from the US government with a court order or equivalent, with the exception of Migsolv, where only the owner of the server has access to it.

AWS has a slight advantage over the other services in providing scalable, encrypted file storage, called S3. However, S3 on AWS can be used as the file storage mechanism from any of the other providers (mix and match).

 

Provider Cost
Digital Ocean $20 / month
AWS ~$36 / month + storage
Rackspace (public cloud) £70.40 / month
Rackspace (private cloud) £640 / month
Migsolv £60 + maintenance / month£250 + server setup (one off)

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