Firstly, an Operating System, or OS, is quite literally the most crucial program to run on any computer. No functioning computer, or device, can be a functioning computer or device without one. Without an operating system on the computer I am using right now, I would not be able to type, nevermind actually opening an application to type on.
Many, many things are reliant on an operating system, such as printing, any applications or programs you want to install on your computer, practically anything you want to do. The Operating System is the backbone of your entire operation, so it’s best to know what you are signing up for.
This is what it means to use a Hosted Operating System.
Firstly, let’s look at the cloud; in the most basic definition, the Cloud is just someone else’s computer. Nothing fancy, your data is just stored on someone else’s computer. You access that data via the Internet.
They host your information much like you would host an event. Literally, think of it like a big event. You house is tiny and can’t handle a lot of people so you rent a building or space to host your event. The event being all your data, including information and files, absolutely anything you want stored. The building you need for the event being the hardware, software, operating system, etc. Basically anything that you as an individual do not have enough of or enough money to afford, they handle for you.
Many companies and corporations don’t have the resources (for example; hardware, cash, employees, space) to acquire and maintain hundreds of computers or big servers for their website or files, so they use cloud hosting to handle all that for you instead.
You can’t store your terabytes worth of data on your local machine, so you store it on a paid cloud server. It’s also safer there, because if worst comes to past and something happens to your computers or local servers… lucky you, all your information is still safe.
For more of a practical example:
Imagine you’re sitting here developing an application that runs on Windows XP, but you have nothing to test it on. You can’t load XP on your machine because it doesn’t support it. You can’t practically buy an entire PC with XP loaded on it, because that’ll cost you a lot of unnecessary money. You could try running a VM (virtual machine) on your PC, but most machines aren’t capable of handling that much memory being spent on something like that. What to do?
Operating System Hosting!
You pay a monthly fee and… Bam! Instant access to a cloud machine running Windows XP.
Basically what happens is that you pay a fraction of the cost of acquiring the hardware and/or software to run the OS you need, and you get access to (as explained above) a remote machine (‘remote’ meaning located somewhere on a so-called ‘server farm’) running either one of two things:
a) Dedicated machine running the OS you need. This is not usually the case, because putting another OS on there takes time.
b) A quite impressive machine running VMware (a virtual computer, essentially) with whatever OS you need on it. The benefit of running Virtual Machines on these cloud machines is that you can easily swap operating systems without having to format the hardware every time you need a new OS.
As you can see, there are many benefits to this. With Operating System Hosting, you get access to the Operating System you need without having to buy a dedicated machine and spend money on loading the specific operating system only to toss it all when it becomes obsolete. It’s very, very handy, if I do say so myself.