Cloud Versus Traditional VPS and Dedicated Hosting

Ever feel like the technology world has gone cloud crazy? Cloud here, cloud there, cloud everywhere! Despite the buzz, the term itself is rather ambiguous and many business owners have a cloudy (sorry, we really couldn’t help ourselves) understanding of how the cloud works when it comes to hosting their online infrastructure and their website.

Are you one of them?

Perfect, you’re in good company and you’re exactly who we’re writing this post for. We already covered how a VPS is different from a dedicated server. If you need a primer on either one of these hosting options, zip over to that article first and then head back here. We’ll wait.

OK, now let’s take a look at what cloud hosting means and how traditional VPS and Dedicated hosting offerings differ from the cloud model.

Cloud hosting in brief

With a cloud hosting environment, the customer has access to a virtual network of resources and hardware, making the cloud model scalable and completely redundant thanks to the self-healing nature of the infrastructure.

Why businesses love the cloud

  • Scalability and flexibility: Resource allocation in cloud hosting is dynamic and delivered on an as-needed basis. Rather than having specific resources assigned to you or a server that can only handle a certain amount of CPU, memory, storage, RAM, number of processors or databases etc., you are able to access a network of resources that can step in when your requirements increase, then step back as they decrease.
  • Cost efficiency: You only pay for what you use and can better control your spend with cloud hosting. So, let’s say you experience fluctuations in web traffic from time to time that require a little more on the resource end (the classic example here is the seasonal e-commerce business that does a large volume of sales around Christmas and then slows down the rest of the year), you don’t have to commit to or pay for a resource allocation that covers the peak requirements for those times when your needs are much less demanding.
  • Plenty of options: There is an array of cloud hosting options available that are similar to shared, VPS, and managed hosting services, just delivered on a cloud network model. There are also options around public cloud and private cloud environments. This gives your businesses the ability to choose a cloud infrastructure that meets your specific needs, whether you have to run and manage proprietary programs or applications, or you prefer a hands-off approach that doesn’t burden your internal resources.
  • Reliability: A cloud infrastructure is completely redundant. If anything goes down or fails, such as a piece of hardware for example, there is another component waiting to take its place.
  • Ease of use: Generally, cloud hosts make the management of their services intuitive. There should be a range of powerful features at your disposal and many management tasks are either automated or easily handled with convenient tools.

Why would you not go cloud?

Cloud hosting is probably starting to sound pretty good. Are you wondering if there are any downsides to it? There are some aspects of the cloud model that don’t work for all business, such as:

  • If, for security concerns, your business needs to know the location of its data, the cloud model could cause some problems, as some providers deploy over multiple locations. In response to the strict security requirements of some businesses, there is now also the option to select a private cloud environment versus a shared one.
  • Costs for resources on cloud deployments can be pricier than their dedicated counterparts.

Cloud hosting versus traditional VPS & Dedicated at a glance

Traditional VPS Traditional Dedicated Cloud infrastructure
Scalable resources Minimum base allocation guaranteed. You decide how much you need up front. If you find that you need more resources than your plan can offer, you must upgrade. The resources that you have at your disposal all depend on the server you have leased. If you require more, you may have to purchase new servers or upgrade to match your requirements. Resources, generally speaking, are guaranteed and scalable on demand. If you require more, you can get more. If you then need less, you can easily scale back. You pay accordingly.
Redundancy Not fully redundant. If something goes down, such as a node, it needs to be fixed. Not fully redundant. If something goes down, such as a node, it needs to be fixed. Fully redundant. If something goes down, such as a node, there is another component ready to step in. No downtime.
Cost Costs are fixed based on the plan you have purchased. You select the plan based on projections for your peak usage. Costs are fixed based on the server you have purchased. You select the server based on what you need to handle your peak usage. Costs are variable depending on what you need in a given period and what you consume.
Management Requires expertise to manage the set-up and configuration of the server. Simpler and easier to control than Dedicated. Requires expertise to manage the set-up and configuration of the server. A more complex undertaking that requires advanced skills. Management is generally easy and intuitive – advanced technical knowledge and abilities for the most part not necessary to administer the environment.

All businesses are unique and as such will require different types of hosting to meet their specific requirements. Hopefully we’ve helped to shed some light on cloud models of hosting and how they compare to VPS and Dedicated. With your decision made about the kind of host you need, start your search for a VPS, Dedicated or Cloud hosting provider here.

Not quite there yet? If you still have some questions about the route you should take, reach out. We’ll be happy to talk things through and offer some expert advice.

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