One of the many untold benefits of hosting your website with Genealogy Village is that your contribution to online genealogy and history gets to live in the clouds!!! Dennis has always had his head above the clouds and he thought that hosting Genealogy Village on a server that uses “cloud computing” would allow the flexibility that a large expanding project requires (kind of like his head… you know… large and expanding!) In this article we’re going to try and explain what cloud computing is, what benefits it brings to the village, and hopefully not put you to sleep while doing it. So pickup your cup a joe (it’ll help us keep you ¬†awake) and read along!

What Wikipedia says about cloud computing:

Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction

Uhh…. what? Could they have provided a more difficult answer for what something is? I actually had to look up what ubiquitous was in the dictionary! So let’s see if we can explain it a little easier…

Cloud computing makes managing servers easier.

Or in the case of Genealogy Village, makes Dennis’ job easier! Basically, that’s it in a nutshell.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to manage a web server before then consider yourself lucky. Having had a server online since the late 1990’s Dennis has had the privilege to manage a whole host of different servers using different technologies, different configurations, and different software. Think of the early days of computing when you would have to input a command into DOS… or even earlier when you didn’t even have DOS yet! And then came Windows and the world of computing became much easier. That’s the kind of change managing computers is going through now. Think of your home computer… imagine your computer starts to bog down, and you know you need to go buy a new faster computer. So you conduct research online, find the computer you want, go to the store, look at what they have, and then purchase it either at the store or online. Then you get your computer from the online site and have to move all your data from one computer to the next. Or you buy it at the local store and pay extra for them to move your data for you. Either way, it’s a long process. For Dennis to upgrade the GenealogyVillage server he clicks on a link… that’s it. In a matter of minutes the site will literally be on a faster server and running better. And he can do this as many times as he needs to.

You’ve probably heard of websites which had so much instant traffic that it crashed the server? One of the most notorious celebrities who could and did crash servers is Oprah. One mention on her show and if you weren’t ready for it, you’re entire site would go down. AccessGenealogy has had this happen to it before from mentions such as USAToday. We would then scramble to add additional servers so that the site could run properly, or simply wait until the onrush of traffic went away. Cloud computing makes it possible for us to click a link, add another server, balance the traffic between the two servers, and then when the rush of traffic is over, cancel the new or older server. Total clicks of the mouse… two. Don’t you feel just so awful for Dennis’ fingers???

Now… let’s all get back to working on our websites (something Dennis can do more of now thanks to cloud computing) and making Genealogy Village an ubiquitous part of genealogy on the web!!!