It is an important decision to choose between dedicated server or a cloud hosting solution.
Today, companies don't need to necessarily follow the traditional path of starting off on a shared Linux shared server and then upgrading to a dedicated server when web traffic scales in growth.
Today companies have the option of cloud hosting where they can opt for a managed cloud plan with pre-integrated platform support.
The biggest difference between cloud hosting and dedicated server is that depending on traffic and hardware utilization, cloud solutions offer flexible scale options whereas with dedicated server, you have a specific allocated storage. This storage can also be scaled up but it isn't as flexible as the cloud option.
Cloud Hosting and its advantages
Different cloud hosting frameworks exist for different business types. Businesses have the option to choose between public, private, hybrid and managed cloud hosting frameworks. In addition to these frameworks, there are also technology plans which businesses can opt while choosing the right cloud strategy. These plans are Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
Cloud hosting is especially beneficial for small businesses as they can avail advanced SaaS/PaaS solution without having the need to develop the software independently.
In addition, Cloud hosting also come with platform security which is lacking in dedicated server solution.
One of the other advantages of Cloud plans is the "pay you go" approach which doesn't bill you for fixed rate but gives you flexibility of scale depending on your business needs.
With Cloud hosting, websites can get more RAM, CPU cores and I/O processes than shared hosting plans. This along with the scale flexibility ensures that web traffic requirements in live production is never impacted and websites remain "always on".
Disadvantages of Cloud Hosting
One of the biggest disadvantages of cloud hosting is that developers may not have full flexibility required to build custom solutions. This is particularly true in the case of PaaS model. For e.g. you cannot change the operating system or install alternative webserver platform software when you are on a PaaS cloud hosting plan.
Advantages of Dedicated Servers
The traditional advantage of dedicated servers lies in the ability of system administrators to configure the servers according to traffic and operational requirements.
However, in case of overcapacity, administrators have to bring in additional servers to serve the demand.
Another advantage of dedicated server is that developers and programmers have the option to create custom web server environments that could support complex applications. Developers can also install extensions or advanced operating systems to support specific business and technical needs.
Disadvantages of Dedicated Servers
The system administrators are responsible for all aspects of IT operations and infrastructure, including web security, extension frameworks, operating systems and updates.
Another key disadvantage is related to cost. The cost of renting remote dedicated servers is sometime higher than buying and installing the hardware locally. Also, there is lot of dependency on third parties for support, debugging etc. Not every web hosting company can be relied to provide seamless support.
Cloud or Dedicated- What should you choose?
Cloud hosting is a great option as it offers resource scalability options and even from a price perspective, cloud hosting options are very competitive.
However, cloud platforms usually use single web stack software that doesn't support advanced customization and software requirements of legacy applications.
Dedicated servers are a good option when you need to install advanced operating systems, specific extensions or third-party frameworks into your IT systems.