The cloud vs dedicated server hosting is a bit of a tricky comparison.
What’s interesting is that the two aren’t all that different, but they have very different outcomes. As a business owner or IT professional, it can be hard to know which one to choose.
In this article, we’ll explain the differences and similarities between server hosting and cloud storage. Let’s get into it.
But first, what is the cloud?
In simple terms, the cloud is a network of servers that can communicate and share data. A user can remotely access the cloud from anywhere they have a network connection and the software needed to access it.
A cloud can be private—dedicate to one entity, but it can also be public—available to everyone. For those who need more flexibility, a hybrid cloud setup that combines both options can be great. Keep in mind, though, that hybrid and private clouds tend to be for organizations like businesses or governments.
A public cloud is something we all use every day. Google Drive, Microsoft SharePoint, Dropbox, and are all public clouds. We also interact with companies that have information on private clouds. For example, many of your healthcare providers use private clouds for security, scalability, and power efficiency.
Dedicated server hosting, on the other hand, is a set of servers that an entity uses for their company alone. The servers aren’t connected to a network of computers and usually only accessible in the company’s location.
Many organizations will keep dedicated servers on-site, but there’s a risk there. These organizations should consider renting space in a data center to host the servers. Data centers are highly secure, meaning outages and damage will never happen, while still giving your team all the benefits of dedicated hosting.
Cloud vs Dedicated Server: Cost
The difference between clouds and dedicated servers is, for the most part, straightforward. But what about those differences make one option better than the other? For most business owners, the cost is the first consideration.
Dedicated servers are often going to cost more than cloud hosting. A cloud provider, public or private, will update IT infrastructure, often without you needing to be involved. With a dedicated server, you’re going to be on the hook for updating everything.
A dedicated server also takes more time to set up. Cloud services can take minutes to install, but purchasing a dedicated server and connecting your team to it can take days. It’s complicated, but a great IT team can help you with that if it’s needed.
Cloud vs Dedicated Server: Speed
A dedicated server will often provide faster speeds. Cloud users share servers with other people, but dedicated servers are privy to just one entity. Because they don’t share storage or speed with anyone else, data moves faster.
Public clouds move data around the world, so if there’s something you’re not using often, the cloud may automatically move your data to a data center further away to shore up space. This means that the next time you need your info, it could take a few milliseconds to a couple of minutes longer to get to you.
That might not sound too bad, but it can be a big concern for businesses that have to move fast. Healthcare companies, for example, are often dealing with life and death situations, so waiting for data to load is not an option.
Plus, because servers also host applications and websites, something going too slow can create a hiccup for an organization that survives on speed. Online shopping, for example, needs a lot of speed to make sure users don’t get frustrated with a site.
A standard public or private cloud isn’t slow. Many high-risk and fast-paced organizations use the cloud, so don’t feel like a dedicated server is your only option.
Cloud vs Dedicated Server Storage: Security
Every 11 seconds, a business falls victim to ransomware. It’s no surprise that security needs to be top of mind when comparing the cloud vs dedicated server storage.
Let’s be clear: the cloud is secure, and dedicated servers are also secure. The two are more similar than different when compared to security, but some small advantages exist.
Clouds offer a built-in step of your disaster recovery plan. If a server goes down, the data will move to a different server. Because everything is stored in more than one place, data loss is rare, even with a public cloud.
Dedicated servers don’t have this advantage. Because everything is on one server, that server being destroyed in something like a fire or flood is the end of the line. This is one of the reasons data centers exist.
A dedicated server in a secure data center won’t be at risk of anything. Data centers are made to fight off any threats, especially fires and floods.
The dedicated servers at risk are the ones in your company’s building. Even a small fire or server overheating from poor cooling could lead to a dangerous outcome. If you’re going to choose a dedicated server, consider using a data center that has all the IT infrastructure you need.
For clouds, the danger exists with downtime. While this usually won’t result in complete data loss, it can be a massive inconvenience to your business.
For private clouds, you won’t have to worry about downtime if you use a great hosting partner, but public clouds can experience it regularly. Even companies like Google don’t have a perfect downtime record. Overall, though, both cloud types are safe. It’s really just about what works best for you.
Next Steps for Your Hosting Solutions
So who is the winner in the cloud vs dedicated servers battle?
Like most things that involve IT infrastructure, it depends on your business goals. Both are great, but there are some advantages to each that can help certain types of businesses.
If you’d like to get some help deciding on what you need, our IT team would be happy to go through a free consultation with you. Please contact us today!
Alex Holcomb is a marketing and communications specialist at SH Data Tech. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.