What is the Difference Between Cloud Servers and Dedicated Servers?

The past several years have seen the rise of cloud computing and brought with it the concept of easily scalable hosting. While many businesses are still using dedicated servers, the cloud changes the way companies approach and integrates technology into their business strategies.

Let’s examine the differences, pros and cons between the cloud server technology and dedicated servers.

Servers Defined

Dedicated servers are a collection of hardware and software. It’s a separate computer system including a processor, RAM, storage and a power supply. It’s housed on site, networked, and used to run the complete computer needs of a business including software and storage.

Cloud servers, on the other hand, are virtual servers that run in the cloud-computing environment. Cloud servers run software as independent units and are not dependent on any central system. Cloud servers are hosted by third-party companies and are protected by redundant backup usually across several cloud networks.

The Pros and Cons of Dedicated Server Technology

Dedicated server technology has merits in today’s office. It offers excellent security and allows your company complete technological control. It’s scalable at a cost (additional hardware, licenses etc.) but SQL storage is very affordable. It offers inexpensive, abundant disk space and bandwidth is cheap. Because it’s dedicated and networked, it offers high-performance and speed.

Dedicated server technology also has issues. There are physical limits to scalability with limited disk space and rigid specs. You’ll need to factor configuration, management, and updates into your cost basis. When hardware fails, there can be significant downtime and repairs are time consuming and costly. For most companies, maintaining a server means a greater expense and risk to their data.

Cloud Server Technology

Cloud server technology offers several cost savings and scalability benefits over dedicated technology that makes it a good fit for many businesses. First, because it’s virtual there’s no hardware or software to purchase. You can quickly deploy a cloud server in a few minutes.

The cloud offers complete scalable hosting. Scaling on the cloud is dynamic and elastic. It can grow as needed. You pay for what you use and it is resilient. Because it’s web based, access is available from anywhere on the planet with Internet service.  It offers excellent third-party management freeing company resources and is extremely secure.

The drawback with cloud computing is that it can be expensive. Disk space can be limited by cost. Because it’s virtual, you have little to no control over the underlying servers.  While performance is slower than a dedicated unit, it is much more flexible in terms of mobility and scalability

The Verdict

If budget is not an issue, both options are viable and have advantages. Performance speed may be better with a dedicated system, while scalable hosting and the ability for your network to expand and contract as needed is the clouds strong point.

If mobility, low maintenance, easy management, rapid deployment and scalability are crucial for your business then the cloud might be best for you. If you seek control, limited scalability and high-performance then a dedicated server is the way to go. Do your due diligence, define your needs, and you can’t go wrong!