Submitted by Rajiv on
The past decade has been marked by cloud computing, it changed every aspect of our lives and business. Therefore it is not a surprise that businesses that still have not deployed the cloud, in one or the other form, are often facing the questions from their customers or in-house development team why they have not yet moved to the cloud. It only makes sense when faced with all the advantages that the cloud promises: scalability, redundancy, on-demand services…
There is no doubt, cloud offers a considerable potential, however for many SMBs that have inflexible operations, lack of hosting experience and basic business needs, a dedicated server is a far better option.
Here is the list of reasons to back previous statements
Dedicated servers offer the best performance, no cloud can match the power of a properly configured dedicated server, especially when it comes to disk I/O.
With the Cloud, network and underlying storage are shared among users, thus making the disk I/O unpredictable to say the least. When a customer sends large amounts of write requests to the storage array, it is very likely you will be experiencing slowdowns, as all customers share the upstream network bottlenecks which await you there as well.
Your provider can easily fix performance issues if you are using dedicated or virtual private server, however with the cloud network the issue very often cannot be resolved.
When it comes to the cloud you can easily get more storage, but not faster storage. Sure you can scale up CPU and RAM but with the cloud scaling I/O is rarely possible.
Therefore business that run relatively simple operations, can usually outperform most cloud solutions with a single dedicated server.
Transparency is essential in solving any performance and reliability issues. However, with most cloud vendors you cannot see what is powering your operations and hardware & network issues are obscured.
Here are the two issues that a cloud suffers with but which do not occur with dedicated servers
Direct impact on your workloads by other users
Outages due to the underlying hardware errors
in essence with cloud you share disk, CPU, RAM and network with others and although cloud software sets boundaries between users, they are not foolproof. It is not uncommon that a single user can overwhelm a local computer node due to the configuration choice or inherent design. These situations cause temporary outages and performance issues for your operations and you cannot help it.
There are also hardware related issues, as you are unable to confirm if you have them on a computing instance, then you have two choices, try to locate the performance issue from your end or to migrate the instance to another physical node.
Although it is easy to migrate within the cloud, with dedicated server these migrations are not necessary. You can easily check the hardware and rule out those issues, which simplifies diagnostic efforts and speeds up the issue resolution.
The cloud users believe that the cloud is inherently redundant, but in reality a node in a cloud computing service is no more reliable than a single dedicated server. A compute node is typically a commodity server minus the storage, therefore if that node dies, your workloads die as well. This is very much like a CPU, RAM or power supply failure on a dedicated server.
Therefore if you are looking for a redundancy you have to build it into the system, the cloud system will not make your SMB’s hosting service more reliable or redundant unless you make it that way.
Combined with the complexity and lack of transparency, single cloud instances can be less reliable than a dedicated server.
Cloud infrastructure (AWS especially) adds layers of complexity that you may not need. There are no such issues with a dedicated server. Why would you opt for a complex infrastructure when you will not actually use it?
After all simple is better, so if you are running simple operations a dedicated server is the right choice. On a side note, complexity adds cost.
If you run a small business, cloud may very well end up costing more than a dedicated server. If you take the time to analyse the technical requirements needed to ensure reliable performance for your websites, you may find that dedicated servers give you the best value for your money.
One of the main reasons is disk performance, cloud systems struggle with either a large number of sites or high concurrency. There are ways to bypass the disk I/O issues but those add to your costs. When you add bandwidth, control panels and IP addresses, all the cost savings that made cloud favourable will no longer be there.
It is hard to compare costs of the cloud and dedicated server. You may be tempted to over deploy your cloud infrastructure in attempt to resolve some performance issues, but when it comes to the cloud services, costs are not fixed and can be rather complex to calculate.
Another potentially painful and costly mistake with the cloud is lock-in. With majority of cloud vendors there is a danger of getting locked to their solutions if you begin to integrate more complex services. This can prove to be a costly mistake if their services or charges change. Even if they remain the same your business and requirements may change. Therefore before choosing a cloud vendor you need to evaluate your migration options.
Although the compute portion of cloud services is fairly the same among vendors, advanced services have different APIs. Therefore if you build an app to use a specific cloud infrastructure and wish to migrate it later on, you may very well need to re-engineer it to work with another object based storage model. This additional work adds to the challenge and expense of migration.
Dedicated servers, on the other hand are commodities, whether you use cPanel or Plesk hosting panel, migrating to another server or service provider is fairly simple and well-documented process. Therefore, if a dedicated server fits your technical needs there is no reason to risk vendor lock-in?
Scalability is the most advertised feature of the cloud and although you can scale your computing resources, you need to ask yourself if your applications or operations are ready to scale.
With that said it is also worth noting that even with the cloud scalability options are limited. The cloud allows you to increase your CPU and RAM or add a dedicated database, however, you have all of those options with dedicated server as well, the only difference is that cloud makes them available a bit easier.
However, when it comes to scaling disk I/O that option is limited or not present at all with the cloud. And, as previously mentioned, disk I/O is the main performance problem with shared hosting operations.
Like redundancy, scalability also requires effort on your part, you need to build applications and manage them with scalability in mind. Simply moving legacy applications into scalable, cloud framework will, more often than not, result in failure.
On the other hand, you need to ask if scalability is what you really need? If you are dealing with a slow website resolving bottlenecks in your application or optimizing server configuration could fix the issues. Fundamental programming inefficiencies will not be resolved by moving to the cloud.
Dedicated servers should not be overlooked by small businesses with fairly simple hosting operations. Despite the obvious benefits of the cloud and worldwide hype, dedicated servers deserve your consideration.
A properly managed dedicated server will provide you with greater performance and reliability at lower costs than currently available cloud options.
Originally Posted On LinkedIn