The dedicated server is frequently held up as the most powerful option available to hosting clients. Even though it tends to be more expensive than the alternatives; it offers the best performance, the most control, and the greatest stability of any plan – bar none.
If you’re running resource-intensive, high-demand services or applications, a dedicated server is clearly the superior choice; the cloud cannot yet match its performance without a significantly higher investment. Meanwhile, if scaling and flexibility are your main concerns, you’re probably better off sticking with the cloud. Those are, after all, the things it’s known for.
There appears to be very little middle ground.
There’s something a lot of people tend to forget, though – the decision to implement the cloud isn’t a dichotomous one. Choosing to make use of a cloud service doesn’t mean you’re automatically barred from making use of any other hosting plan – particularly a dedicated server. It’s perfectly acceptable to sign up for more than one plan, or to implement a cloud solution that you only utilize when you need it.
After all, most cloud platforms tend to utilize a usage-based service model for a reason.
With this in mind, there are a number of ways you can use the cloud to significantly improve your dedicated server – or any server, really.
Firstly, if you’re running some form of online service on your server – such as video streaming or gaming – you’re bound to run into a few traffic spikes. Occasionally, those spikes might be too much for even your powerful systems to handle. In such a situation, having a cloud installation waiting in the wings into which the excess traffic can “burst” can save your users from poor performance or even a complete server meltdown.
Similarly, in a situation where you’re using multiple servers, you can use the cloud to balance server load – similar to what businesses such as Netflix do with Amazon EC2. This can improve performance across the board. It’ll also go a long way towards preventing any performance problems under periods of heavy load (though when that load balancing solution fails, it will be quite noticeable if you’ve no backup solution).
Traffic management isn’t the only area in which the cloud can be used to improve a dedicated hosting plan, either. If you’re running a small to mid-size business and find yourself requiring more server space (but lacking the funds to shell out for another dedicated server), you can instead grow your organization using the cloud – at least until such time as you can afford more.
The cloud can also assist you on the software side of things, granting you access to a number of powerful applications designed for everything from application development to big data analysis. While you’re still going to be using your server for the majority of the work, having a few cloud applications to make things more efficient certainly won’t hurt. It’s also worth mentioning here that there are quite a few powerful collaboration applications which use the cloud as their base – and which can easily be connected to your server.
Although a dedicated server is the most powerful hosting plan available to you, that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing you’ll ever need. If you’ve the budget for it, adding the cloud to your server is definitely a course worth considering. By doing so, you’ll gain access to a wide array of benefits – with very few drawbacks to speak of.