When you have your own website – be it for your own company, a personal project, or for a business you’re working on – you’re likely going to need to choose the kind of servers you’ll host it on. This can get challenging at times, as sometimes the options really depend on the kind of budget you have, the kind of website you want to put up, and the kind of options you want to consider. Taking all these into consideration can be overwhelming, and may do more harm than good if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for. In today’s digital landscape, both dedicated servers and cloud servers are starting to become increasingly popular for various reasons – and choosing between the two of them can be tricky. However, if you find yourself a bit confused, look no further as this dedicated servers vs. cloud servers article will highlight the pros and cons of these server types.
Servers: What Are They? Why Are They Important?
If you’ve ever used the internet before, or are in charge of handling a client’s (or your company’s) site, you’ve most likely heard of the term server. In its most basic sense, a server is a kind of computer built exclusively to deliver data and process requests to another device over a local network or over the internet. A lot of people generally understand a server as a “web server,” as in the means through which users can access web pages over the internet.
In reality, there are a whole ton of server types, and a lot of computer networks use different sorts of servers in order to cater to different tasks. It’s common among companies to know that if you have a lot of data that needs circulating both in-house and over the internet, then you’re likely going to need a larger server. Aside from web servers, there are email servers that are in charge of sending and receiving emails, FTP servers or file transfer protocol servers that are in charge of file transfers, and identity servers that support security and logins.
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As such, servers by providers such as PhoenixNAP Data Center are extremely important for companies that rely on interconnected computers to do various tasks. Bigger companies or companies that rely on a lot of information exchange need to have stable servers, and those that rely on the internet to operate need to have the right kind of servers in order for their businesses to function properly.
Dedicated Servers vs. Cloud Servers: The Real Score
Given the above, the importance of cloud servers couldn’t exactly be disqualified. Finding the right one for you can spell the difference between a successful website and a failure. Here are some pros and cons for dedicated servers and cloud servers:
Cloud servers are built and designed to provide different levels of control, security, and performance. What makes it interesting, however, is that these servers are actually hosted in the cloud, or a virtualized environment. Benefits include the economies of scale, as you share processing power courtesy of hardware from other customers with the cloud service. You also only need to pay a particular amount for the precise amount of the server you use. Cloud servers can easily be adjusted to scale your resource needs, which makes cloud servers useful for businesses with different workloads and demands.
Cloud servers are operated purely in the cloud, and as such don’t even require hardware to use. This makes it a practical option for companies who want to save money and space.
Deployment speed is something you can rely on: When it comes to managing your resources, deployment speeds over the cloud can be quite fast. Resources you need to release online can be done within minutes.
Availability is high: Going to the cloud is like a must in today’s digital landscape, and a high-availability cloud environment can cost considerably less for companies.
Easy access to tools: Cloud environments generally give their clients access to APIs that are community-driven, making it much easier for automatic scaling, management, and provisioning.
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Compartmentalization can be a breeze: Cloud-based systems allow for easy compartmentalization of resources for easy resource segmentation, management, and scalability.
Accessible, cheaper technical support: Getting your services via the cloud most likely means getting dedicated technical support, which can make repairs and maintenance much easier.
The lack of a dedicated infrastructure for servers can make it difficult for companies to make specific tweaks that are necessarily for new business functionalities.
Security can be questionable: Having a separate service host your company’s sites and services can make security a concern. This isn’t just a matter of making sure your company sites and assets won’t be compromised, but also if the service provider itself can be reliable with sensitive data.
Lack of in-house control: Unfortunately, the lack of actual in-house personnel to maintain the servers means you don’t necessarily get a lot of control with the kind of customization and features you want for your company as per your server.
Sharing isn’t always caring: Cloud-based service providers don’t exclusively provide to you, which means you’re likely going to share these services with other companies. This also means when the servers of one company go down, yours is also likely going to be affected.
Dedicated servers, in the meantime, are rented or purchased servers that are used entirely by your own company or businesses. These tend to be used by organizations and large businesses that need high levels of data protection, or companies that have high demands for steady server capacity. Despite the powerful nature of dedicated servers, businesses utilize these best if they have the right IT expertise and capacity to be able to manage ongoing upgrades, patches, and maintenance.
The stability and hardware required by dedicated servers make company operations entirely in-house, adding an added sense of protection and privacy to your work.
Compliance and security can be satisfactory: With dedicated servers, your hardware is in-house, making it much harder to penetrate and attack as infiltrators need to have access to your actual servers to do so.
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Specialized technical support: The need to form a dedicated server for your company means having your own IT team on standby for requests, repairs, and maintenance. This not only makes your operations in-house, but your company becomes the best person knowledgeable for your specific needs.
Customization becomes a breeze: Unlike the cloud, customization via dedicated servers can be drastically easier as it’s done in-house. This means while the process itself is technical, you have more freedom tweaking your servers to try out features you can’t always try with the cloud.
Having dedicated servers means being totally responsible not just for the maintenance of said servers, but also in making sure they are adequately updated and upgraded to adjust to a growing business landscape.
Deployment speed can take time: When you use dedicated servers, deploying your services online can take time depending on the kind of hardware your servers have. This can be a dealbreaker when it comes to deploying relevant software.
Availability may take challenge: When you have specific needs for your servers, building the infrastructure on both a software and hardware side can be challenging. This is because specific features likely need specific combinations of software and hardware, both of which you need to study and fully understand for proper deployment.
Getting tools may be tricky: Like with building your servers from the ground up, acquiring the tools needed to maintain it and your assets and data can be challenging given the need to make sure tools you want to use in the first place are compatible with your servers in the first place.
Practical compartmentalization can be expensive: Unlike the cloud, compartmentalizing your data and assets via dedicated hardware can be costly as your servers couldn’t immediately be adjusted in a snap.
The Bottomline: Servers All Boil Down To Purpose
If there’s anything the above article could share, it’s that the dedicated servers vs. cloud servers debate can be tricky to solve, especially since they have their respective pros and cons to consider. However, perhaps it’s more important to first understand the kind of demands and services you need from a particular server and checking if any one of these server types can actually do the job for you. At the end of the day, choosing your perceived “best” server type can be useless if you can’t exactly use it to fit your website needs.
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