The decision whether to use dedicated server hosting or cloud server hosting is driven primarily by business needs. The difference between these two hosting styles is as different as the business models that choose them. This article discusses these differences by comparing both hosting methods with the businesses that use them.
Dedicated hosting utilizes a hardware infrastructure that is leased specifically for the business’s needs. One or more servers are dedicated solely to the use of the applications required to run on those servers. This is attractive to some business models because it doesn’t require the maintenance and upkeep of servers, the equipment is located in a secure data center, and there is no need to invest in hardware.
This is an ideal situation for a larger, stable, web-based business that relies on online income. This form of business suffers most when its online presence is disrupted by unnecessary downtime. A dedicated hosting environment ensures a stable and reliable architecture that is economical to an established business.
Cloud hosting offers more flexibility, especially for a younger business that doesn’t have or yet need a large investment in hardware and software. Unlike dedicated hosting, a cloud hosted environment offers a virtual solution where the infrastructure and software are seamlessly distributed amongst many servers within the cloud. A business typically pays for a Linux- or Windows-based hosting plan that is scaled towards their specific needs.
The advantage of this type of hosting plan is it allows the hardware requirements to be scaled to meet the needs of the business, even if the business needs change over time. A cloud’s scalable architecture is one of its most distinct advantages. Service billing is as flexible as the service usage and configuration is often API-based, with user-friendly GUIs to help configure hardware and software.
The disadvantage of this form of hosting is that resources are shared. A server isn’t dedicated to only a single business. For this reason, a cloud method is typically thought of to be less secure simply because resources are shared within the cloud. Businesses that adopt a cloud hosted infrastructure should enact a dedicated security team to patch the OS, when required, and define a security protocol. The greatest security risk is typically at the application level due to it being platform independent.
Both dedicated and cloud hosting offer their share of advantages and disadvantages that depend on business requirements. The role of the IT department still remains, regardless of which option is selected. Servers and software will still need to be configured to operate within the business’s requirements. It’s up to each business to decide which hosting platform is best for them.