A decade ago, there were really only two third-party web hosting options: shared hosting and dedicated server hosting. Shared hosting served the lower end of the market and dedicated servers supported high-traffic websites. In the last decade, the number of hosting options has exploded, partly as a result of marketing professionals seeking to differentiate hosting products, but, more importantly, because of the widespread adoption of virtualization.
Today, web hosting clients can choose from shared hosting in various forms, virtual private servers, public and private cloud platforms, PaaS platforms, and several types of bare metal server hosting, including dedicated servers. But given that cloud servers can fill roles that once would have required a dedicated server, is dedicated server hosting an endangered species.
Cloud servers are more flexible, easier to manage, and cheaper in some cases. A cloud server can be up-and-running in seconds; it can be torn down just as quickly. Cloud users only pay for the resources they use, whereas dedicated server clients pay whether their server is idle or running at full tilt. Cloud servers can be automated; dedicated servers cannot be automated in the same way, regardless of what some claim for “bare metal clouds.”
Nevertheless, the dedicated server hosting market remains healthy. Perhaps proportionately smaller than it once was, but there will always be a need for dedicated hardware that offers the best possible performance, privacy, and control over the physical layer.
In fact, this is a lesson learned by many companies that started out on cloud servers only to move to dedicated servers as their business scaled. It’s true that cloud is less expensive and more flexible when a business is starting out, but businesses that have a predictable and consistent demand for compute and storage quickly discover that dedicated servers are the most economical option.
Dedicated server hosting is also the best option when raw performance is a priority. However powerful cloud servers get, dedicated hardware will always be a step ahead, making them the ideal platform for demanding applications like databases, analytics workloads, and any other workload that depends on number crunching and optimal IO, all of which have a place in modern web and application hosting.
For organizations that value privacy, dedicated servers and other bare metal hosting options, including colocation, are the logical choice. Infrastructure is more easily and reliably secured if it’s used and managed by a single organization. With the widespread availability of open source cloud and virtualization technology, organizations don’t have to choose between the privacy of dedicated hosting and the flexibility of the cloud: with a private cloud running on top of bare metal servers, they can have the best of both worlds.
Cloud platforms have advantages that dedicated servers can’t match. But dedicated servers, whether leased from a hosting provider or colocated in a third-party data will always have a place in the hosting line-up, because there will always be organizations with a need for privacy, control, and uncompromised performance.
About the Author
Ciara Noonan works as a marketing specialist for MailChannels, a provider outbound email filtering and email delivery solutions for service providers. Follow MailChannels on Twitter at @mailchannels and check out their blog, http://blog.mailchannels.com/.