Keep it simple: Selecting the right server type


March 22, 2018

You wouldn’t hire a butcher to sell you baked goods or call a candlestick-maker for a good porterhouse. Just like there are all kinds of companies, there are different servers to serve every business need.

There’s hosted cloud storage (the virtualization option), which offers remote access to a shared physical server, along with low overhead and maintenance. Then there’s the opposite: a dedicated physical server with all server resources dedicated to your company, which comes with the added benefit of better performance and streamlined security.

And finally, there’s the Goldilocks option of a hybrid server that combines the benefits of virtualization with the performance of a dedicated physical server. In theory, this setup offers the best of both worlds, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the ideal choice for every business, especially if you’re a Papa Bear. Here’s why you might want to go for cloud storage, a dedicated server or a hybrid of the two, along with a look at how each configuration might work for your business.

Cloud servers: When speed (and convenience) are of the essence

When the cloud first appeared on the scene, it was all anyone in tech could talk about, and it’s easy to see why. For years, many organizations struggled with their dedicated servers—particularly small businesses that didn’t have the ability to devote much of their budget to IT.

With a virtual server hosted in an external data center, the burden of maintaining, upgrading and hosting servers fell to the server provider rather than the individual user. Cloud servers are essentially a small slice of a large physical server; the rest of the “pie” is divided up among other companies to use as they see fit. That piece of larger physical hardware is virtualized into a remote server that users can access and configure through an online platform.

In this way, businesses can deploy almost instantaneously, which is a huge plus if you expect variable server demand or need to create multiple environments for testing. Payment structures are also scalable, and the fact that most cloud storage providers only charge for what you use presents a potential cost-saving opportunity over dedicated servers.

Cloud storage configurations also provide stability. Because cloud servers are virtualized online, data backups are accessible in seconds, and outages and downtime become less of a problem when you’re hosted in a large external data center with top-tier maintenance and monitoring. With all that, it’s easy to understand why so many people had their heads in the clouds.

However, all that convenience comes with some drawbacks. Traditionally, IT professionals consider cloud servers to be less secure than their dedicated counterparts—and although most cloud providers offer data security protections, these may not be enough to meet certain industry compliance standards. The bottom line? Depending on your business model, you may not want to send your data to the cloud.

Dedicated servers: For stronger data security and higher server demand

Certain organizations prefer the high performance and reliability of dedicated on-site hardware over the convenience of cloud configurations. Applications that frequently perform input/output (I/O) operations (such as big data tools or databases) may simply produce better performance results when hosted on a physical server.

Similarly, a dedicated server—server hardware that’s rented or purchased from a hosting company for exclusive, proprietary use—offers much more control over your server environment. You’ll be able to cheaply add bandwidth, disk space and SQL storage, although you’ll have to wait longer for backups. Still, the added performance and control make this server structure ideal for businesses with regular, steady growth and consistently high demand.

Additionally, some businesses prefer dedicated server environments for security reasons. While overall site security depends on implementation, there are obvious advantages to not sharing space with other companies or managing server administration online.

Hybrid servers: A midline between security, performance and deployment speed

Want all the convenience of cloud storage with the security of a dedicated server? Hybrid platforms are physical hosted servers that have been virtualized to take advantage of cloud benefits.

Unlike with a cloud hosting service, a hybrid model doesn’t involve sharing your physical hardware with other companies. This means you get 100% of the bandwidth and disk space, and no added security vulnerabilities.

Another bonus is that hybrid servers are typically more affordable than similar physical server structures. That said, keep in mind that the hybrid server’s remote access means you won’t get the high-level performance of a bare metal dedicated server.

Making the right choice for you

As you can see, all server types offer a tradeoff in terms of convenience, speed, security, reliability and performance. That’s why it’s so important to understand exactly what you need out of your server and what you’ll get from your hosting service. For some understanding of what MyITpros offers, visit our IT services and pricing page now and fill out the contact form—we’ll help you find a server that’s juuust right!

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