Expert interview with Philippe Humeau, CEO of NBS System:
What is Cloud Computing in its simplest form?
First, I need to clarify some technical jargons – cloud computing is equivalent to virtualization.
Here’s how virtualization looks like in the previous old-fashioned way: The bare metal is a physical server like an appliance that you put in a rack. You put it up and install software like Linux to run it. When it reaches its limit, you add another bare metal.
The “cloud computing” (or virtualization) utilizes the same physical server applying a virtualization system in it that slices up into different logical instances serving different websites. For example, 4 logical instances will serve 4 different clients. The resources are still dedicated to the customer and not share among them.
Servers can be made up of 2-4-8-16-32 core per Central Processing Units (CPUs). For example, we want to change 16-core server to 32-core server to be able to handle peak shopping hours, it is extremely simple to migrate the virtual machine to another physical (bare metal) one, in order to have more resources.
With the new Cloud, changing 16-core to 32-core server can be done in a few minutes!
However, with the old-fashioned way, we have to migrate from one server to another, install and de-install the software and set up the servers which take very long.
To summarize, cloud computing refers to the delivery of infrastructure components, software, storage and services over the Internet based on user demand with pay-as-you-go subscription. The cloud’s essential characteristics are flexibility, elasticity, scalability, duplicability, automation. The virtual servers are not physically bound to a machine and can therefore be moved around, scaled up or down on the fly without affecting the end user.
NBS System provides private cloud computing, we almost don’t do physical servers anymore, only in exceptional cases.
Are there security issues in Cloud Computing?
NBS System has been an IT security company for the last 14 years. Our own research & development has created CEBERHOST which is the most secured hosting option available today. To prove it, we setup a Cerberhost Spring Challenge in March 2013 to invite hackers to hack into our system and give a prize for the one who can hack the system. But no one succeeded!
The Cloud itself is overly protected and very complicated to hack. 95% of the hacks come from BAD CODES. Developers forget to check the content of their internet settings. They must double check the lines of the internet configuration otherwise hackers can inject some codes between the lines, modify the behavior of the website and retrieve database easily. Each month, there are about 20 huge sites that have been hacked including Apple, Sony, LinkedIn, the French government sites, etc.
With NBS System’s private cloud, it’s impossible for a hacker to access from one server to another. Each of our clients has their own compartment – IP address, CPU, RAMs, and disks. Our different clients do not share IP addresses nor CPUs nor RAMs nor disks.
Why work with NBS System?
NBS System is an expert in managed hosting. We host around 2,500 websites. We go beyond what a classical hosting company does. They mostly provide servers and basic hosting with minimum service, such as rebooting of basic configuration.
NBS System knows the e-commerce platforms by heart that is why we did the Benchmark of e-Commerce Solutions report. When there’s a problem we know exactly how to fix the problem quickly. We work out anticipated solutions with our clients so that their e-commerce sites will be able to handle substantial web visits and online sales on Mother’s Day, Christmas, Black Friday, and other special holidays.
We are knowledgeable of consumer behaviors and their peak shopping days and hours. We also fully understand the situation of e-commerce sites – each second that the site is down, they lose huge amount of money! Thus, our clients rely on our expertise to keep their sites run smoothly. We monitor them very closely increasing their resources when necessary.
What if something happens between midnight and 7 am?
We’ve got a permanent technical person who manages night and weekend emergencies. If a problem arises, our client can contact us at 3 a.m. even on the 1st of January.
How do you manage peak periods?
The highest record we had was 460,000 unique visitors per day on a Magento (PHP) site.
To cope up with peak periods, we have to increase the e-commerce site’s resources meaning servers, fine tune the platform, optimize system settings and website configurations. We have to prepare the platform properly so that every server is working at similar speed, we make sure that not one server is overloaded while the other is doing nothing.
Likewise, we have highly skilled developers working directly with experienced agencies. Team work between the web agency and hosting facility is very important.
Do you host all types of e-commerce platforms?
Yes, we host both Java- and PHP-based e-commerce platforms.
Interviewer: Stephany Gochuico