Dedicated vs. Cloud Servers? What’s Best For My Business?

For years businesses have relied on Dedicated Servers and Managed Dedicated Hosting to provide their online presence. With the widespread adoption of Cloud Computing, the Dedicated Server as a mainstay paradigm is changing. Tech-savvy businesses are now adopting cloud computing as opposed to the legacy dedicated server offerings and immediately reaping the benefits of the cloud:

  • Agility – Businesses need to adjust their computing infrastructure as their needs change.
  • Fault Tolerance – Today’s business can’t afford downtime from hardware failures.
  • Flexible Costs – Businesses want to pay for what they use, when they use it.
  • Future-Proof Performance – Server migrations and upgrades are painful and costly and business want to avoid these expenses.
  • Instant Gratification – Today’s cloud business wants just in time computing, servers deployed when needed, as needed and quickly.

But there are those instances when the cloud may not be an ideal fit. In this tech brief, we’ll dive deeper into these advantages and help you understand when to use a cloud computing infrastructure or a managed dedicated infrastructure.

Cloud Server Benefits

Cloud ServersCloud Servers have a number of compelling benefits revoling around flexibility that can help improve your organization’s productivity.

  1. Improved Business Agility and Cost Control:: th the recent economic recession, many businesses found themselves locked into expensive, long term hosting contracts for equipment that they no longer needed. With a cloud-based infrastructure, you’re able to add and remove servers as needed very quickly. You’re able to deploy new servers as you need them, when you need them. Then when you no longer need them, you’re able to dispose of them and no longer pay for them.
  2. Reduced Downtime through Fault Tolerance: The biggest concern when deploying a dedicated server is that should that dedicated server experience an outage, your business will be offline. To offset for this, businesses frequently deploy expensive load balanced clusters. With Applied Innovations, we utilize Enterprise SAN storage from Dell Equallogic and although it’s more expensive to deploy, we believe the increased fault tolerance is worth the investment. Should the hardware node your cloud infrastructure is hosted on crash, your workload will automatically recover on another hardware node, resulting in almost no downtime.
  3. Future-Proof Hardware: Cloud Computing is based on a virtualized compute environment. Multiple virtual server instances run on top of dedicated hardware nodes. The actual server you’re presented with is abstracted from the hardware and runs independent of the hardware configuration under it. With a cloud based solution as new hardware is made available the virtual server instances can be migrated from their existing hardware to the new hardware ‘as-is and intact’ without any of the headaches and time consuming, costly migration pains of a dedicated server migration. It’s literally, a couple button clicks, maybe a reboot or two and your server now resides on the latest hardware and is able to take advantage of that new performance.

To learn more about our Cloud Server benefits, please check out our article how Windows Cloud Servers can improve your business, please check out How Cloud Servers Improve Decisions.


Dedicated Servers Benefits

icon_wordpress_Shared_HostingOn the surface, it may seem that cloud servers are the ideal platform for all workloads when in fact, cloud servers are the ideal platform for ‘most’ workloads.

  1. High-Performance Processing: For workloads that are extremely CPU intensive, we may recommend a Dedicated Server or load balancing the web frontend across multiple cloud servers or a hybrid hosting solution that uses cloud servers for the web workload and dedicated application servers for the database workload.

To learn more about Dedicated Server benefits, please check out Why Dedicated Servers.


Which is Right For My Business?

Every business has unique business needs and every website has unique workload needs. We believe the best way to select the proper hosting environment for your unique business needs is to speak with one of our cloud hosting experts and allow us to build a custom, future proof, reliable and agile solution for your needs. But as a rule of thumb our recommendations are generally:

  • Small-to-Medium Size Websites:  They’ll generally deploy two cloud servers, one for the web front-end and one for the database back-end.
  • Larger Websites: Multiple cloud servers for the web front-end and possibly larger cloud servers or dedicated servers for the SQL database workloads.
  • Enterprise Websites: Dynamically scaling web front-end cloud servers with clustered dedicated application servers for the SQL database workloads.


Still Have Questions?

If you’re still unsure which server platform is the best option for your unique business needs, we recommend you contact one of our cloud hosting experts to help build a fault tolerant, reliable and fast cloud hosting platform that will scale as your business scales. Our experts are available at 855.2.THE.CLOUD (855.283.2568) or

About the Author

Jess Coburn

It's Jess's responsibility as CEO and Founder of Applied Innovations to set the direction of Applied Innovations services to ensure that as a company we're consistently meeting the needs of our customers to help drive their success. In his spare time, Jess enjoys many of the things that made him a geek to begin with. That includes sexy new hardware, learning new technology and even a videogame or two! When you can’t find him at the office (which admittedly is rare), you’ll likely find him at the grill or in front of his smoker getting ready for some lip-smacking ribs to enjoy with his wife and two kids.

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