Do you need your own dedicated server, or can you trust a cloud service for hosting?
Before you make a decision, it’s crucial to understand the differences between dedicated server hosting & cloud hosting—which are rapidly emerging as the dominant modes for organizational hosting.
There are real budgeting and operational implications to consider before settling on either solution.
Cloud servers: scalable flexibility—at a premium
With rapid deployment and a virtualized nature, cloud hosting models allow your organization to circumvent a direct investment in hardware. This benefits businesses that require a high degree of operational flexibility, want to experiment in the short-term or have highly seasonal demands.
The click of a button can deploy a new virtual server, allowing you to rapidly scale up your operations during times of high load, product releases, seasonal rushes and other demanding applications that require instantly available bursts of computing power. This can typically be accomplished from anywhere with an internet connection and a web browser—meaning that cloud hosting is a truly portable solution.
Since the cloud is virtualized, your organization isn’t tethered to the strength of a single server or limited in its computing power—you can scale up, on demand. Load balancing allows for rapid distribution during demanding workloads, tapping into the power of multiple servers instead of relying on one powerful server.
Cloud hosting is also exceptionally resilient. By introducing numerous instances, cloud hosting behaves redundantly. Coupled with a secure backup strategy, the cloud provides a degree of restorability and operational stability that other solutions struggle to match—with the caveat that it’s highly dependant on the hosting company’s decisions about which servers host its cloud.
This degree of flexibility and decreased initial investment comes at a price: cloud services are billed like a utility—so you pay for what you use. This means that the cloud, while a genuinely powerful and useful option for many organizations—can rapidly deteriorate into a wildly expensive, budget-busting affair without proper planning and skillful management.
Dedicated servers: reliability & performance—with the right planning
Deploying a dedicated server is a more complicated task than deploying a cloud server. It requires procuring, installing and configuring a physical server in a data center—while this process usually takes only a few days, it is less than ideal when an organization needs instantly available computing capacity because of a rush.
For organizations with consistent demands or operational IT requirements that don’t change rapidly over time, dedicated servers represent an opportunity to introduce high-performing capabilities and an exceptional degree of business continuity.
Since the server is controlled solely by your organization, you don’t risk bad neighbors or unscrupulous actors introducing instability—the server is yours to do with as you please, and not shared with others who may mismanage their resources or interrupt your services.
That isn’t to say that dedicated servers can’t be designed to meet the needs of growing businesses—a skilled systems architect will build a strategy that meets your needs today and your needs in the coming years as well.
Managing a dedicated server requires a competent IT team that is capable of overseeing server maintenance and creating a strategy for keeping software and security updates under control. For organizations that need the benefits of a dedicated server but don’t have an IT team, there’s managed services that allow leveraging of our veteran support team.
However, there is one clear operational benefit to a dedicated server: consistent, stable and predictable billing based off a contract, rather than usage-based pricing structures that can confound budgets.
Deciding between the cloud and dedicated servers
Choosing your hosting solution requires taking stock of your organization: what are its goals? Where do you see your internet presence in 1, 3 and 5 years? What sort of IT requirements do you really have?
We have experienced system architects that will work with you develop an affordable and reasonable strategy for a scalable and flexible cloud hosting—or a reliable and consistent dedicated server.
If you’re looking to resolve the challenge of finding the right hosting strategy for your organization, receive a free consultation.