When considering the hosting solution for the software components that will host your site, the first thing to do is choose between on-site and cloud hosting. The business features of your site can be delivered in the same way with minor implications such as security considerations, but there are several things your company needs to consider before choosing one solution or the other.
On-premise hosting vs cloud hosting
systems use dedicated hardware in your company's data center and are managed by a dedicated team while cloud hosting
systems use third-party hardware hosted by a cloud services provider company and require internet connection to be accessed. The management of both systems and site can be done together by the cloud services provider. This implies that there have to be SLAs signed between your company and the cloud services provider.
The table below shows some of the most important differences between the two solutions:
On-premise hosted software
Cloud hosted software
Security rules require your software and data to be placed behind company firewall.
Your software and data is not so sensitive or it is even required to be accessed from the web.
Your software is integrated with other sensitive zones of your IT environment,
so exposing though internet would be considered a risk (for example the single sign on issue type ).
The integration of your software to other zones of your IT environment is not so tightly coupled
from the security point of view or the security methods used are very well implemented.
The IT department of your company is able to fully administer the software
( installation, upgrading, migration, backup, updating, monitoring, integrating, documenting, reporting tasks ).
The IT department of your company cannot sustain the effort required to administer
the entire list of tasks needed in order to maintain the software.
The cloud hosting company will handle this for you.
The company is able to buy and license the required software.
The company does not want to buy or maintain licenses for the software,
so this financial effort is externalized to the cloud hosting company. This can lead to cost savings.
The hardware that your company owns can handle the scalability required for increasing the workload.
Cloud hosted software generally can be scaled very quickly.
A company does not usually have a large data center and uses multiple data rooms that requires cooling
and electrical power, thus the green footprint may not be so light.
Large cloud hosting companies have huge data centers that use more efficient cooling and
electrical power systems.
One of the most important implications when adopting a cloud solution is the security. Accessing your site and integration with your site hosted by a cloud provider has to be done in a secure way and taking into consideration all aspects that derive from this, such as authentication and authorization, user and identity management, SSL connections, digital certificate management, Web Services security, etc. These things are important also for on-premise hosted, but because of the firewall security that should be available, the importance is generally lowered for this type of systems and sites.
Cloud hosting with IBM SmartCloud Enterprise
For your site's cloud hosting, IBM offers the SmartCloud Enterprise infrastructure solution that lets you use pre-installed machine images of IBM WebSphere Portal server and IBM Web Content Manager Version 8.0. These two products are pre-configured with features that allow you to quickly use them and take full advantage of this situation.
The IBM WebSphere Portal server and IBM Web Content Manager Version 8.0 features that are configured on IBM SmartCloud Enterprise images are listed below:
- Security enabled. IBM WebSphere Application Server security is enabled, with the virtuser user ID serving as both the WebSphere Portal administrator and WebSphere Application Server administrator ID. During the provisioning of the image, you must set the password for the virtuser user ID.
- WebSphere Portal light-startup-mode enabled. Light-startup mode speeds up the start time for WebSphere Portal by deferring the start of individual Web applications and portlets until they are first requested by users. You can disable the portal light mode so that all applications are started and ready to use by clients.
- HTTP Server enabled. The IBM HTTP Server is configured to provide access on both HTTP and HTTPS ports to WebSphere Portal. This ports are the default 80 and 443 ports.
- External DB2 database. An instance IBM DB2 Enterprise Edition is installed and configured as WebSphere Portal and IBM Web Content Manager's external database and user repository. This provides an enterprise-class and highly performing database environment.
- Web Experience Factory. Eclipse and Web Experience Factory are installed (development image only).
IBM SmartCloud Enterprise lets you select from a number of different instance types to meet your computing needs, while each instance provides a predictable amount of dedicated computing capacity.
To manage the image instances, IBM provides a simple, integrated, web console for managing images, image instances, access keys, and storage instances on the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise site.
To access the image instances you can choose between two methods:
- Console access: The image can be accessed through secure shell (SSH) using a secure RSA private key based on the key pair specified at instance creation. Users need to save the RSA private key pair to a local file that can be used as input to SSH.
- Remote desktop access: Users can access the system by using a free Virtual Network Computing (VNC) client to connect to the graphical desktop
You can start, stop, service, and use all the software installed on the images just as normal installations. You can extract the customizations applied to an image and apply them on new images. The customizations may include content libraries, portlets, portal configurations. The extraction and importing of this customizations are done by using normal IBM WebSphere Portal and IBM Web Content Manager version 8.0 methods such as xmlaccess and ConfigEngine. The customized images can be captured and used when required.
For a more detailed view on the relation between IBM SmartCloud and WebSphere Portal 220.127.116.11 view this article
Alternatively, you can use IBM WebSphere Portal through Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). For more details consult this IBM page
and this Amazon Web Services page