Cloud Server Vs Dedicated Server

March 18, 2015

Are you confused about your options when it comes to hosting your application or website? If you’re not sure whether cloud servers or dedicated servers are the right fit, then this should help.

Cloud Servers

These are a great option for businesses that need to optimise IT performance without the huge costs associated with purchasing and managing a fully dedicated infrastructure. For this reason they are a popular choice for small and mid-sized businesses, and those with variable demands and workloads.

Cloud servers can be configured to provide a similar level of performance, security and control of a dedicated server, but instead of being hosted on physical hardware that’s solely dedicated to you they reside on a shared “virtualised” environment managed by your cloud hosting provider, meaning that you benefit from the economies of scale of sharing hardware with other customers.

With Cloud servers you only ever pay for the exact amount of server space used, on an hourly basis, and have the benefit of infinite flexibility. You can scale up or down resources and server specification depending on demand, meaning that you can avoid paying for idle infrastructure costs when demand is low.

Dedicated servers

A dedicated server is a physical server that is purchased or rented entirely for your own business needs, making it a great solution for large businesses, those that for regulatory reasons require exceptionally high levels of data security, or organisations that have predictable demand necessitating all of their servers running 24/7/365.Businesses would typically need the IT capacity and expertise to manage the ongoing maintenance..

Whilst there is much debate as to the value of dedicated servers in the new world of Cloud, the reality is that there is still very much a need for bare metal dedicated hardware as businesses grapple with increased use of I/O-heavy applications such as databases and Big Data platforms.

Cloud servers vs dedicated servers

1. How quickly can I have resources online? With cloud servers you can have resources online within minutes but with dedicated servers this can take considerably longer, even weeks in some circumstances.

2. Can I upgrade the RAM, disk space and CPU?
The answer is yes for both cloud and dedicated. The key difference here is that with cloud servers this can be achieved in only a few clicks or even automated using an API, however with dedicated servers this is a manual process and that would require a scheduled maintenance window.

3. Can I achieve High Availability quickly and cost effectively? Again yes for both options. However as already discussed this can be achieved very quickly with cloud servers. You can configure a HA environment quickly with multiple cloud servers and a load balancer within minutes, whereas whilst you can request a HA environment within a dedicated infrastructure, using multiple dedicated servers and a dedicated load balancer, this will take hours if not days to build. The key difference here is also that building a HA environment in the cloud can cost up to 60% less.

4. Are tools available for building auto-scaling, auto-provisioning and auto management? Yes, in a cloud environment these tools are readily available via the community driven open development API. Whilst tools are available in a dedicated environment you may have to wait for vendor driven development.

5. Can I easily run cost effective segmentation of resources? Compartmentalising your resources by function allows for easy scalability, management and resource segmentation and this very cost effectively achieved in the cloud. However compartmentalisation in this way is very expensive to achieve with dedicated hardware.

6. Is monitoring available and can I get technical support? The answer to this is yes for both options.

7. Can I address stringent security and compliance needs? If this is a requirement then dedicated hardware might be the best choice for your business. Complete compliance with most regulations can be achieved in a dedicated environment.

8. Can I manage my servers on the go using a mobile device? Yes, both iOS and Android operating systems are compatible with cloud servers. This is not the case with dedicated hardware and management is a manual process.