Cloud Servers vs. Dedicated Servers

Servers 101: Cloud Servers vs. Dedicated Servers

What’s the difference between a Cloud Server and a Dedicated Server?
A Cloud Server is a process that runs on what’s called a hypervisor.  This hypervisor software lets a single computer appear like it is a dozen or more computers.  A single Cloud Server is just one of those processes.  It appears to the user like a server, but it isn’t its own collection of hardware.   A dedicated server is its own collection of hardware.  It is a whole computer, complete with all hardware that makes up a computer including a processor, hard drive, RAM and power supply unit.  eSecureData.com provides both Cloud Servers and Dedicated Servers to our clients.

Which is better, a Cloud Server or a Dedicated Server?
Cloud Servers can be scaled up and down with minimal fuss, using software only.   You can increase or decrease RAM, Hard Drive space and even CPU power all dynamically using a software interface.  Dedicated Servers require fussing with hardware to scale them up or down.   This being said, Cloud Servers are at the mercy of their hypervisor and the hardware platform they’re running on.   They almost never perform as well as dedicated servers.   They can’t — they’re a process that’s sharing a computer with others, whereas the Dedicated Server is a totally self-contained computer sharing nothing with anyone.

What’s easier to back up?
Cloud Servers can be backed up in their entirety with very little fuss.  Dedicated Servers require a bit more initial setup and scripting to back them up easily.  Both require almost no maintenance once automated backups are configured.

What’s the difference between a Cloud Server and a Virtual Server?
Nothing.  They’re the same thing.   Some people use Cloud Server to imply failover capabilities and fault tolerance, but that’s not guaranteed in any way and shouldn’t be assumed.

Is it true that Cloud Servers are unaffected by what other cloud servers running on the same host computer are doing?
No.  It is true that Cloud Servers run in separate spaces and are isolated as far as software can isolate them, but it is also true that if the other servers are using a lot of CPU cycles, there are fewer cycles available to your Cloud Server.

Can a Dedicated Server scale up and down like a Cloud Server?
No.  To scale a dedicated server up or down, you need to replace hardware which can often be done very quickly and painlessly, but it still isn’t as easy as configuring software which is all that’s needed for a Cloud Server.

Which is easier to move between data centers or between backbones?
A Cloud Server is certainly easier to move between data centers.  A Dedicated Server requires that you physically ship hardware, whereas a Cloud Server can be transferred over the Internet.   Moving between backbones, however, is often easier with the Dedicated Server.  At eSecureData, our VLANs are configured such that all Cloud Servers on a single host machine share the same VLAN.  This means moving to a different backbone requires migrating the Cloud Server to another host machine.   Our Dedicated Servers, however, can be switched to another backbone just by toggling their VLAN, which can be done entirely with software.