Ladies and gentlemen, please turn your attention to the main event in the ring. In this corner, we have dedicated, exclusive server hosting. In the opposite corner, logical cloud server providers.
Cloud server providers and dedicated server hosting services haven’t exactly come to blows yet (that we know of), but they both boast some pretty hardcore enthusiasts—as well as a varied selection of pros and cons.
The good news is that they don’t have to be in competition. In fact, for many businesses, the choice between cloud and dedicated servers isn’t a choice at all. CIOs and IT managers often recognize the value in both and run operations across several different server architectures.
That said, they both have unique features that set them apart from one another. Familiarizing yourself with these distinctions can help you pick a winner in the server hosting showdown—and choose an architecture that works best for your business.
The defending champion: Dedicated server hosting
For many years, if you wanted to host a website or database, an on-premise physical server was your only option. On-premise servers were easier to customize, with one catch: Businesses had to assume complete responsibility for server management, upgrades and other maintenance.
For many organizations, that meant significant labor costs and a huge time commitment that diverted energy away from core competencies. Enter dedicated server hosting. Using this strategy, you can place the burden of server maintenance on a web hosting company. In exchange for renting a physical machine to each client, this server hosting company assumes responsibility for setup, monitoring, maintenance and upgrades, “dedicating” each machine to a single company’s assets.
Dedicated server configurations come with several benefits:
- Customization: You want more RAM? You got it. Have a favorite processor? Not an issue. Prefer Linux servers? Whatever the specification, dedicated server configurations can accommodate it, making them ideal for serious hardware wonks.
- Power: As far as single-server options go, dedicated servers are much more powerful than comparable cloud-based products. The server hardware’s operating power goes exclusively to your business’ traffic and data, so you can take advantage of its full resources.
- Cost savings: Hosted servers charge monthly for their services, which helps you avoid unexpected costs for repairs and upgrades. Likewise, the cost to rent these servers is much lower than that of on-premise DIY architectures.
The rising star: Cloud hosting
Dedicated server hosting’s limitations became clear when hosting services like Amazon Web Services (AWS) began offering public cloud hosting platforms that allowed any business to create a new server almost instantaneously. These virtual machines—known as cloud servers—sit in large, enterprise-level data centers offering top-tier performance and power that typically far exceed those of an individual machine.
Ultimately, dedicated server hosting just couldn’t match the flexibility of virtualization. In addition, with cloud-hosted architectures, server specifications can be managed remotely from a mobile platform, meaning you can scale server size up and down as needed. Other hosting providers picked up on the trend and began offering their own cloud hosting services and management interfaces, ushering in the age of cloud computing.
Companies that use cloud-hosted servers enjoy several advantages compared to those working with dedicated servers, including:
- Speed and scalability: For many companies, speed is one of the cloud’s main selling points. While configuring a new physical server takes time, you can launch new virtualized servers in a matter of minutes. That flexibility allows software-makers to quickly launch test environments and website designers to quickly build custom sites for clients, to name just a couple of examples.
- Self-service: Because cloud hosting is managed through a platform, you can make adjustments yourself without having to wait for help from a customer service representative. When time of is of the essence, that access can be an incredible asset.
- Even more cost savings: The “pay-for-play” pricing model of cloud hosting charges only for the data storage you use. In contrast, a dedicated server hosting model charges for the amount you could use.
When you boil it down, both of these methods enable you to host a website or database. However, given that the technical needs of most businesses have surpassed single-server architectures, the ideal arrangement tends to involve using an assortment of servers with both dedicated and shared resources.
Of course, the superior choice for you depends on your needs and your budget, which is why we created our IT Services and Pricing Guide. Download it today to evaluate your server needs and decide which services are right for your business. Making that decision may not be as exciting as watching a prize fight, but it will definitely give you some peace of mind!