What is the difference between a cloud server and a dedicated server?

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 keep reading.

Cloud Servers
If you need to optimize IT performance without the huge costs associated with purchasing and managing a fully dedicated infrastructure, cloud servers are a great option. Many small and mid-sized businesses, and those with variable demands and workloads, find that cloud servers meet their needs effectively.

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

With cloud servers, you only pay for the exact amount of server space used, and have the benefit of infinite flexibility. You can scale resources up or down resources depending on demand, and 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. Dedicated servers are great for large businesses, organizations that require exceptionally high levels of data security, or organizations that have predictable demand necessitating all of their servers running 24x7x365. Businesses using I/O-heavy applications such as databases and Big Data platforms also find significant value in bare metal dedicated hardware. Businesses using dedicated servers still need the IT capacity and expertise to manage the ongoing maintenance.

Cloud Servers vs. Dedicated Servers — Your Questions Answered:
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.
Can I upgrade the RAM, disk space and CPU? The answer is yes for both cloud and dedicated servers. 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 that would require a scheduled maintenance window.
Can I achieve High Availability quickly and cost effectively? Again, yes for both options. However, this can be achieved very quickly with cloud servers. You can configure an HA environment quickly with multiple cloud servers and a load balancer within minutes. While you can request an HA environment within a dedicated infrastructure using multiple dedicated servers and a dedicated load balancer, this can take hours or even days to build. Another key difference here is that building a HA environment in the cloud can cost up to 60% less.
Are tools available for auto-scaling, auto-provisioning and auto management? Yes, in a cloud environment these tools are readily available via the community-driven open development API. While tools are available in a dedicated environment, you may have to wait for vendor-driven development.
Can I easily run cost-effective segmentation of resources? Compartmentalizing your resources by function allows for easy scalability, management and resource segmentation. This can be achieved cost effectively in the cloud. However, this type of compartmentalization is very expensive to achieve with dedicated hardware.
Is monitoring available and can I get technical support? The answer to this is yes for both options.
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.
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.
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.

And one question we hear a lot:
Can I run cloud resources and dedicated resources in one environment?

Gone are the days of the one-size-fits-all approach to cloud solutions. That’s why we’re here to help. The cloud is a powerful technology, but it isn’t the complete answer for every business and every workload. You need the ability to use the cloud for applications where it’s best suited, and run dedicated hardware where needs require.

Combining the power of dedicated hardware with the flexibility and agility of the cloud is something we’ve done since we launched our pioneering RackConnect hybrid technology. This combination creates an even more compelling proposition in terms of both price and performance.

The hybrid cloud is a real game changer, allowing you to combine public cloud with private cloud or dedicated hosting and leverage the best of what each has to offer to meet your needs. Use the public cloud for non-sensitive operations, the private cloud for business-critical operations, and incorporate any existing dedicated resources to achieve a highly flexible, highly agile and highly cost effective solution.

Want to Know More?

Selecting the right server and the right approach is a crucial decision for your business. The choice you make will depend on your business goals and objectives, as well as your immediate and long-term IT requirements. We’re here to help ensure you meet these needs and achieve the best possible solution. For more information on our cloud and dedicated hosting options and how we can help you build an architecture for your individual needs, contact a member of our team today.
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