What are Cloud Computing Projects?
What is a Project?
A project is a group of virtual machines, servers, and online assets such as domain registration that work together to deliver your business online. These cloud computing-based servers work in tandem to ensure that your website and applications are always online, regardless of operating your business on a dedicated server, VPS, or cloud environment.
Online assets are just an individual piece of a project. Whether that asset is a server, domain, or additional services such as backups or a VPN. The project aspect allows you to group your servers and relative assets. This makes it easy to separate your cloud platform from any other servers that you may have running on your account.
You can easily add and remove other servers, domain registrations, or other services from your project when needed. This makes it easier to manage your business’s representation in the online world.
Through the rest of this article, we will focus on Liquid Web's Managed Cloud Server platform. Keep in mind that anything can be grouped in a project through the my.liquidweb.com interface. The following information will further explain how this all works.
When is a Project Needed?
There are multiple aspects involved in hosting a website online. Some of those pieces include domain registration, DNS zones, servers, backups, and security functions. While a single business may include just a few of these, more complex online environments may have several different assets. These may need to be combined into projects to distinguish different groups easily. For example, an environment dedicated to developing a website in one project can be separated from the actual production environment. Grouping these parts into a project makes it easier to see which servers are involved without having a different account.
Another example is a business that runs multiple websites for different companies. The developer would be able to separate the assets for each company into projects. It is allowing them to see an interface for each of their customers in a more straightforward layout.
As it relates to Managed Cloud Servers, a project has an additional function in the cloud platform. When a Managed Cloud Server is ordered and built, several servers work together to ensure your business stays online regardless of those servers’ size. Since this platform provides servers in a cloud environment, automation of that build is managed through the cloud computing software.
These servers are added when they are built in the frontend for the cloud’s functionality. This makes adding new web nodes to your environment seamless and worry-free. When adding a new node to a Managed Cloud Server product, all you need to do is add it to the project. The cloud computing software that it resides on will handle all of the necessary configurations to the appropriate servers. This makes it available to your Load Balancer and Primary Node.
How is a Project Created?
When a Managed Cloud Server is ordered, a new project is created. This includes the servers that are placed within the same project. That project includes the Load Balancer, multiple Web Application nodes, and Primary node. The number of servers will vary based on the size of the chosen environment. This ensures assets are shown in a way that separates them from any other assets that may be running on the same account since they operate together as a single unit. It also provides the functionality and automatic configuration changes needed for all of the pieces to work together.
Ordering a new Managed Cloud Server is simple. On the Managed Cloud Server product page, click the Start Here button. There are some other considerations to take into account when placing your order. Initially, you are presented with three options of Managed Cloud Servers:
- Standard - Built-in; offers a Load Balance and Primary node. This option costs less and allows you to easily add additional Web Application nodes to the platform if needed.
- Professional - Includes two Web Application nodes automatically when the servers and project are built.
- Premier - Includes four Web Application nodes automatically when the servers and project are built.
Once you select the bundle you want, you have full control over each node’s amount of resources. The Load Balancer has its own options. These are separate from the choices you have available for the Primary and Web Application nodes.
How is a Project Used?
As we discussed previously, a Managed Cloud Server project has an additional function on the back end. When a new Web Application node is added to the project, the cloud environment can see that it is added and automatically adjusts the Load Balancer and Primary Node to start using the new Web Application node. Everything is handled by the cloud environment, making new node creation easy.
Not only are you able to add a new node, but you are in immediate control of the RAM, CPU, and disk space resources. You can resize each node as your business grows and your website starts getting more traffic.
To add a new Web Application node to a Managed Cloud Server project, navigate the project and click the Purchase Node button. The project and cloud environment will take care of the rest.
In a Cloud Server environment, the Web Application nodes should have the same amount of resources. This ensures that your website’s experience is similar across the board. But this is just a rule of thumb and doesn't have to be the same. You are still in control of the environment that you need. While this tutorial touches on load balancing, more information can be found in our Understanding Load Balancing article.
Outside of Managed Cloud Servers, a project can be used for anything that you need to put together in a logical grouping of servers. For instance, if you already have an environment that separates the database server from the webserver for one part of a company and a separate server that runs a different part of the business, you can group these separately. This way, you'll always know which servers are associated with each environment.
How is a Project Modified?
Once your new Managed Cloud Server is ordered and built, you still have control over the individual node's resources. This includes the number of Web Application nodes in the project. Modifying a project is quite simple. The My Liquid Web interface handles tasks similar to any other server that can scale.
However, with Managed Cloud Servers, there is additional granular control of the CPU, RAM, and disk space. After selecting the node that you want to resize, click the Resize button. Here, you are presented with the options available for that type of node. This allows further control of the individual resources available to that node.
Compared to VPS hosting, where one size fits most, you don't need to add additional CPU and RAM resources when you need more disk space on a server. You can control the disk space and RAM/CPU resources independently.
In accounts where Managed Cloud Servers are not present, the control of the server's size is handled similarly, but without the granular control of resources.
How is a Project Removed?
In an account where Managed Cloud Servers are not deployed, when a project is removed, or when items are removed from a project, they become disassociated with that group of servers or assets. When a project is removed, the assets and servers are not destroyed, but their association to the project is removed. So when they are removed from a project, you are still required to destroy the asset or server individually.
Managed Cloud Server environment projects have added functionality compared to other hosting accounts. The only way to remove an asset or server from the project is to destroy it from the project dashboard. This removes the Web Node from the project and from the Managed Cloud Server system itself.
If your website runs a large sale and the additional Web Application node is no longer needed, you can click on that server in the project and destroy the node to remove it from the project. The Cloud Software will automatically disassociate that node from the project and remove its configurations from the Load Balancer and Primary Nodes and require no additional involvement.
If I've removed a Web Application node, did it remove my data too? The short answer to this is no.
The Primary Node on your Managed Cloud Server environment is the primary holder for the web data in the Managed Cloud. The Web Application node replicates those files through the cloud environment to the Web Application nodes to completely remove the Web Server’s processing from the primary node. So when a Web Application node is removed, it leaves all of your web data intact and available to other Web Nodes in your environment.
All in all, a cloud computing project joins the functionality of a Load Balanced solution with the scalability of a virtual server environment through the automation of cloud computing software that runs on the backend. Its ease of use through the My Liquid Web portal allows you to scale the environment when you need it most without invoking manual configuration changes to make everything work.
About the Author: Jake Wright
Jake Wright has been immersed in computers for a majority of his career and is still fascinated in learning new technology. He's provided support in many IT related fields, including: end user support, networking, hardware, server and system administration, web hosting and training (just to name a few). He greatly enjoys outdoor activities with family and friends when he is not at the keyboard.
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