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Nesio Sanders
Nesio Sanders

Cloud Servers Vs Dedicated Servers

Since even a one-second difference in page response time can cost you up to 7% of your customer base, choosing the correct hosting model is a vital business decision. Cloud and dedicated servers are two popular choices if you are looking for top-tier performance and uptime, but these hosting models excel at different use cases. Which one is the right option for your business needs?

cloud servers vs dedicated servers


This article explains the difference between cloud and dedicated servers and outlines the features of both hosting types. We provide all the info you need to make an informed decision and identify the hosting option that fits your use case, business needs, and budget.

A dedicated server is a physical device set up at a data center and used by a single client. Unlike a cloud server, these traditional setups do not use virtualization and rely on actual hardware (CPUs, GPUs, RAM, hard drives, network cards, etc.).

When you set up a dedicated server, the entire device is at your disposal. You do not share resources with other users, a feature that makes these servers both the safest and fastest hosting option on the market.

Cloud and dedicated servers are common hosting choices for companies looking for high reliability and performance. While the two hosting models rely on different infrastructures, both server types perform the same basic functions as they can:

Both cloud and dedicated servers can support any service or app you want to host. The two server types also rely on similar backend tools. When compared to shared and VPS hosting, both cloud and dedicated servers can:

If you know how to manage them correctly, both dedicated and cloud servers are excellent hosting choices. Neither model suffers from performance lags during traffic spikes, and both of them process data faster than a shared or VPS host.

Unless you use all the processing power at once (which is highly unlikely), a dedicated server does not need to queue requests. This capability makes dedicated servers ideal for use cases in which microseconds count, such as heavy computing or high-frequency transactions.

Since multiple cloud environments operate on a physical server and tenants share the same physical network, these units can also suffer from occasional bandwidth throttling. Dedicated servers do not run into throttling since a single host uses the network interface.

You do not need an engineer or architect to spin up a new cloud server or add components. On the other hand, a dedicated server requires high-level expertise for proper maintenance and management. The team in charge must:

Dedicated servers also require you to dedicate more time and effort to creating backups. Nevertheless, the single tenancy makes dedicated servers the go-to hosting option for companies that wish to comply with privacy regulations like CCPA and GDPR.

A cloud server does not require downtime during migration. Moving instances to a new cloud is a quick and straightforward process that does not require shutting down services. However, a large migration can require scale-out planning between multiple cloud servers.

Short-term cost benefits of cloud servers are obvious, but dedicated servers are more cost-effective in the long run. If you have a consistently high requirement for hosting, dedicated servers are the more cost-effective option as cloud providers tend to charge more for:

Once you deduct the initial fee, running a dedicated server is cheaper than what you have to pay for the same setup in the cloud. However, you have to cover the cost of the entire unit regardless of how many resources you are using, so a dedicated server requires precise resource planning.

Once you understand your business needs, you can consider what server type you should use. Both cloud and dedicated servers come with a line of benefits, but each type excels at different use cases. Cloud servers perform best for:

Companies that already have a highly skilled in-house team should also consider deploying a dedicated server. Businesses and startups that lack in-house expertise should first look at cloud servers as these units come without hardware maintenance.

You do not have to choose between high scalability and consistent performance. PhoenixNAP's Bare Metal Cloud enables you to set up a dedicated server with cloud-like capabilities for adding and removing resources.

Deploying a cloud or a dedicated server requires a considerable investment of effort, time, and funds, so you cannot afford to make a poor decision. Now that you know the difference between the two server types, you can make an informed decision and not invest in a server that does not fit your use case or business needs.

Another difference is the location. Dedicated servers are typically located in a single data center whereas cloud servers could be located in multiple data centers. Cloud data centers are known as "availability zones." When you access a dedicated server, you are accessing a physical piece of hardware in a specific data center.

One of the main benefits of cloud servers is scalability and right-sized, on-demand infrastructure. What do I mean? Since the cloud is comprised of partitioned resources, you can easily scale up and down by taking down walls within that apartment building. Since it's utility-based pricing, you pay for what you use. If you only need a one-bedroom for the week, you can do that. If you need a five-bedroom for the day, you can do that. This eliminates common issues relating to right-sizing your servers for your apps.

I almost forgot to mention that cloud servers feature scheduled and unscheduled image backups. These serve as restore points and can be used to restore a failed instance or spin-up additional servers in new regions or for performance.

From a performance perspective, dedicated servers are often the most desirable for a customer that is searching for fast processing and retrieval of information. Why? This is because dedicated servers process data locally and they do not experience a great deal of lag when performing functions. This is especially important for customers where speed is particularly important.

With cloud servers, the processing must go through the SAN to access data which can slow down performance. In addition, the request must also route through the hypervisor. This excess processing can add a certain level of latency that cannot be reduced.

Dedicated servers are entirely tied to the host site or application which prevents throttling on the environment. This is amazingly simple when compared to a cloud server environment. Think about it. The sharing of physical network incurs a significant risk of throttling bandwidth. If one or more tenant is using the same network simultaneously, both tenants may experience negative effects. For that reason, many cloud customers upgrade to a network interface card (NIC). This is a great option for customers that are bumping up against their maximum available bandwidth on the network.

Dedicated servers scale differently compared to cloud servers. The physical hardware is limited to the arrays or drive bays it has available on the server. A dedicated server may have the ability to add a drive to an open bay through an underlying logic volume manager (LVM filesystem or RAID controller. However, it is somewhat more challenging to perform a hot-swap to scale. Dedicated servers also require more time and resources to change processors without maintenance and downtime.

When it comes to migration, both dedicated and cloud servers can achieve seamless migration. However, migration with a dedicated server environment requires more planning. Dedicated server planning should focus on both the current and future growth of your requirements. You should have a full-scale plan on how this should be created and executed over time.

When it comes to cloud migration, it gets a little bit trickier. Are your applications ready for the cloud? Are they even compatible? Do you have enterprise licensing that could be impacted by a multi-tenant environment versus a single-tenant dedicated server? This is a big deal.

However, cloud servers tend to lose their cost-savings advantage as time goes on. Think about it this way. As you take more pictures and videos on your phone, you see that your storage continues to fill up to the point where it is full. This is the same with cloud resources except you can keep adding files and using compute resources to infinity. The only problem is that it gets more expensive as you go. You reach a point where the cost benefits of the cloud are no longer applicable the dedicated server is the better choice from a cost perspective.

With cloud servers, you can optimize IT performance without the huge costs associated with purchasing and managing fully dedicated infrastructure. Businesses with variable demands and workloads often find that cloud servers are an ideal fit.

A dedicated server is a physical server that is purchased or rented entirely for your own business needs. Dedicated servers are typically used by large businesses and organizations that require exceptionally high levels of data security, or organizations that have steady, high demands for server capacity.

With dedicated servers, businesses still need the IT capacity and expertise to manage ongoing maintenance, patches and upgrades. Businesses using I/O-heavy applications, such as databases and big data platforms, find significant value in bare metal dedicated hardware.

Cloud and dedicated environments are both available with utility-based pricing models. When looking beyond pricing models, cloud allows for easy compartmentalization of resources that are often expensive with dedicated hardware.

Elastic cloud solutions can scale to provide higher levels of web traffic support than a single dedicated server can provide and are increasingly becoming an essential aspect of keeping the most popular websites and mobile apps hosted online.

When comparing a cloud server vs dedicated server, it is first necessary to understand how cloud servers work. Cloud hosting utilizes a virtual server that uses cloud computing technology to distribute data among connected servers located in different areas. 041b061a72


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