Servers play an important part of forming the internet infrastructure, as our technology advances, so do servers.
In the current market there are two major types of servers available: cloud and dedicated servers. Which one to choose? Let’s look at each of the features, advantages, disadvantages and some application of it.
What is a Dedicated Server?
Let us start with the basics, and the fundamentals of the technology that cloud is leveraging on.
Dedicated server is a physical server/powerful computer hosted in a remote data center that is only utilized and accessed by a single client. It’s computing resources or hardware are completely dedicated to only a single client, no other client will share the unit.
A dedicated server can further break down into a managed dedicated server or self managed dedicated server. A managed dedicated server is renting a server from a server hosting provider by paying a rent to the provider. It is the repayment for them taking care of the server on behalf of the client. Self managed server is a client who will be getting their own server hardware and maintaining it themselves.
Advantages of dedicated server
Security: Having your own dedicated server and not sharing with other clients will give you the maximum security and control needed to protect your data.
Performance: Since the dedicated server was built to cater your business needs only, its performance will match whatever processing power is required for your business.
Reliability: Dedicated servers will perform as efficiently as possible with the proper management in place. With your own care, uptime of the server is mainly depending on your management.
Application best suited for dedicated server
Dedicated Servers are ideal for stable applications which are unlikely to see sudden resource spikes or require hardware upgrades in the near future.
Applications which require a high level of CPU processing, RAM, and disk space that follow the above criteria are also generally better served by a Dedicated Server.
A few dedicated server usage example: Reseller hosting, Game server, Large databases applications
What is a cloud server?
The cloud is a technology that allows an infinite number of physical servers to act as a single entity. Each server on the platform connects together and is responsible for a specific task such as processing, storage, memory, etc. When information is stored “in the cloud,” it means that it is being held in a virtual space that can draw resources from different physical servers.
A hypervisor is also installed to handle how different sizes of cloud servers are partitioned. It also manages the allocation of physical resources to each cloud server including processor cores, RAM and storage space.
The result of this setup is that new cloud servers can be instantly created/destroyed, and each cloud server is protected by a redundant and self-healing infrastructure. It does not mean that cloud servers will forever stay online, it simply means that it can quickly route to a redundant server to cover the ones that are down.
Advantage of cloud server
Flexibility: As cloud servers a form by a collection of virtual servers, you can easily scale up resources as demand spikes.
Fast deployment: The physical server hardwares are already in place, only the virtualisation is required, hence the deployment can be instantly.
Increase uptime: With redundant components, uptime is much guaranteed.
Application best suited for cloud server
Any application that requires rapid server deployment, optimal uptime, and instant scalability is a good fit for a cloud server.
Example use of cloud servers: e-commerce site, SaaS application, medium to large business custom applications.
The similarities of dedicated server and cloud server
The most obvious similarity of both servers is the ability to process large amounts of traffic without lag. Securing data stored in the server and ensuring the stability of web application are also some of the similarities.
As you have the ability to take control of the root for both servers, it creates the ability to support any type of application or service required to run.
The differences between dedicated server and cloud server
The differences between cloud hosting and dedicated servers become most apparent when comparing performance, scalability, and pricing.
Dedicated servers are usually the most desired choice for a company that is looking for fast processing and retrieval of information. Since they process data locally, they do not experience a great deal of lag when performing these functions.
Cloud servers on the other hand must go through the Storage Area Network (SAN) to access data, which takes the process through the back end of the infrastructure. This extra processing adds a certain level of latency.
The physical hardware on dedicated servers is limited by the number of Distributed Antenna System (DAS) arrays or drive-bays it has on it. If the open bay is full, upgrades may not be possible.
In contrast, cloud server storage is easily expandable and scale. Because the SAN is off the host, the cloud server does not have to be part of the interaction to provision more storage space. Expanding storage in the cloud environment does not incur any downtime unlike a dedicated server.
Last is the pricing. Cloud servers usually have a lower entry cost than dedicated servers. However, cloud servers tend to lose this advantage as a company scales and requires more resources.
Dedicated servers might have its limitations during upgrades, but the hardware installed is a one time cost and it belongs to the property of the company. Additional points to consider when getting a dedicated server.
On the other hand, cloud servers are charged based on the resources you may need, the more you need, the more you pay.
Dedicated server or cloud server? Which one should you choose?
In summary, a dedicated server provides access to raw performance, both processor and data storage. A cloud server provides cheaper computing power with ability to scale at an instant.
Consider the computing platform in terms of the performance, scalability, and cost-effective. These variables are critical evaluators when selecting between a cloud or dedicated server solution for your business needs.
If you can’t decide on which servers are more suitable for your growing business? Talk to our expert, they can help.
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