These days, you hear more and more about ‘The Cloud’ as if it’s the answer to all our IT problems. The truth of the matter is, however, that most of the great stuff we hear is just standard marketing hype. So what’s the truth behind all the glitter? Is the cloud better for our websites than a dedicated server?
How Does the Performance Compare?
Performance on any network is basically down to how easy it is for users to access and use the resources. Traditional systems share storage and other resources among the customers. This sometimes causes problems with accessing the network and makes accessibility unpredictable. If one user sends huge numbers of write requests to the server, the system might experience slowdowns for everyone due to bottlenecks forming at various places throughout the network.
The main benefit of cloud computing is greater storage, not faster storage. You can scale up CPUs and RAM but to increase input and output isn’t always possible. If you have a simple hosting requirement, then a shared or dedicated server is often the best way forward for most users. A simple dedicated server will often outperform an expensive cloud network every time.
It’s a well-known fact that underlying hardware problems cause most IT outages. And downtime is the curse of the IT department.
If your IT guys have to fix a serious problem, they need to see and understand what is going on behind the scenes on the server. With a cloud server, this is often not possible. A dedicated server has your system only, whereas a cloud host shares resources all the time. Don’t get me wrong, the software that runs the cloud hosting tries to keep you and your neighbors separate. Unfortunately, due to various reasons, usually configuration choices, one user can often completely take over a local compute node. This results in temporary outages beyond your control. Usually, a typical provider can’t see this problem and won’t pass on the information to your guys. Result: your IT team waste a lot of time chasing non-existent problems.
Sometimes with hardware issues, there’s no way to track the problem unless we can migrate to another node to see if the problem goes away. If you have a cloud hosting package it’s relatively easy to migrate. However, with a dedicated server, you may not even need to migrate in the first place. A dedicated system allows the technicians to check hardware easily and rule out potential problems thereby concentrating on the real issues.
Redundancy & Complexity
There is one axiom that many IT teams forget when planning and building their network: Simpler is Better. Not only does a simple network allow troubleshooting problems very much easier, but it can also reduce the costs so much more.
Cloud network infrastructure has redundancy built into it, and by its nature, redundancy means complexity. Dedicated servers, on the other hand, don’t have the complexity problem. So, because you’re not going to use complex infrastructure, why build it? Once again, if you have a simple hosting need, avoid cloud networks.
Complex systems require expert help and expensive hardware. Neither of these is good unless you actually need them. As a general rule, Cloud networks cost more than a dedicated server. This is mainly because dedicated servers are simple and reliable and cloud servers need redundant infrastructure.
Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to directly compare cloud hosting against dedicated hosting, mainly because most cloud monthly costs aren’t fixed! Amazon web services supply a ‘simple’ monthly calculator so that anyone with an advanced degree in IT can easily see how much their services cost. To be honest, there’s nothing ‘simple’ about it. But at least they’ve tried! Often the typical cloud system will cost about twice the amount as a dedicated server, even when the resources are comparable.
Before choosing a cloud provider, decide on your future hosting needs and whether you’ll need to eventually migrate to another plan. Remember that complex cloud infrastructure costs the provider a lot of money. So they’ll try to lock you into a contract and extract a guaranteed monthly income from you. What’s even scarier is when the customer believes all the marketing hype and signs up to the cloud provider’s advanced services, when their website and business needs don’t actually require it. If a dedicated server fulfills your company’s needs, why bother with the cloud.
Why do you have to scale your site anyway?
Usually, it’s so that your hosting package doesn’t get clogged up when you have periods of high customer traffic. Ask yourself if this is really necessary. If your websites slow down, maybe it’s because your server needs configuring properly or you have various bottlenecks in the system somewhere. Try fixing these problems before paying through the nose for cloud hosting. Always build and install your applications with scalability in mind. Don’t pay over the odds for a cloud hosting package when all you need is to sort out your existing dedicated server package.
So, is Cloud Hosting More Reliable?
You’ll have noticed that the marketing promises of cloud operators have their place if your website needs those resources. Like all adverts and marketing hype however, the promises are designed to draw in as many customers as possible. Sometimes, unscrupulous providers will take your money and set you up with an average performing package. They certainly won’t inform you that your website and company needs would find it more cost-effective to stay with a dedicated server.
The answer to this basic question boils down to whether you actually need cloud hosting. Often, if your dedicated server is well maintained and managed, you’ll find that you have better performance than a cloud network. A dedicated server can also be more reliable and cost far less than the current batch of cloud hosting options.
Check our Hosting Finder tool for reliable dedicated and cloud hosting options.