Unofficial Guide to VPS, Cloud and Dedicated Servers

Cloud adoption is growing. The multiple options for hosting, and their variations make choosing the right solution challenging. I found that even community experts were defining Cloud, VPS and Dedicated Servers in their own and often confusing way.

Let’s jump right in to what these three options are (and are not). I won’t cover heavy technical detail because that’s not the purpose. Instead we will quickly touch on these three major areas. I hope to leave you feeling informed, and not out on a ledge unsure.

 Unsure About Cloud - Like Climbing Upside Down

Describing VPS, Cloud and Dedicated Servers

Every hosting plans requires hardware. This is the “Bare Metal”, what takes shape within the “Bare Metal” changes in these three scenarios. Quite simply, VPS and Cloud Servers use a slice of the Bare Metal. And any server that hosts an application needs an “Operating System” (OS) such as Windows, Linux or OSX – every VPS, Cloud Server or Dedicated Server will have one.

What is a Virtual Private Server? (VPS for short)

It’s your own OS to do with what you please, using a portion of the Bare Metal (ram, cpu) and *storage (read #6 below). These vary based on sizes of resources. Some hosting plans provide a high number cores for example but never mention what Ghz (speed) you’re limited to which matters. We make this clear by stating the Core count and Ghz speed.

What VPS’s are a good fit for:

  1. Full control of your server to install software not allowed on Shared Hosting.
  2. You’ve outgrown Shared Hosting.
  3. Compliance. Feel free to read how Hostek meets Physical Hosting Standards for HIPPA requirements to better understand what this means.
  4. The flexibility to scale resources such as RAM, CPU and Disk.
  5. You want to launch a small test, and only be billed for a short period. We bill monthly because our core business focus of providing amazing managed service caters to those planning a long term engagement.
  6. You want additional reliability offered by Cloud Based Virtual Private Servers. The magic is possible with storage thats accessible to many Bare Metal servers. So if one Bare Metal server dies, your VPS can be restarted within minutes on new hardware.
    NOTE: Not all hosting companies offer this some simply host on hard drives installed in the physical servers (Bare Metal). We do because we believe that to provide the amazing service customers expect, we need to do everything possible to ensure the availability of their servers.

What are Cloud Servers?

The differentiator for Cloud Servers is full control of your hosted environment and other services through the use of an API. Some Hosting providers have utilized the “Cloud” portion to automate High-Availability of VPS’s into their offering, this is what Hostek does explained in #6 above. Under the surface we manage the Cloud part for the customer, that’s how we deliver such high uptime.

What Cloud Servers are a good fit for:

  1. When you need full control of many servers and plan to use automation to manage, scale or increase availability.
  2. You want to launch a small test OR maximize use of automation to launch new servers during peak periods, saving money with hourly billing. Keep in mind a hefty amount of automation knowledge is required by the customer to achieve this type of flexibility. Tools like Chef & Puppet can help simplify the automation process.
  3. Most of the reasons above listed under VPS. CAUTION: Cloud Servers may not include fully managed service or high-availability. You’ll want to have a well thought out plan for monitoring, backups, etc.

What are Dedicated Servers?

You receive the Bare Metal resources to utilize fully.

What Dedicated Servers are a good fit for:

  1. Performance. In most cases a VPS is a much better fit because it can provide protection from hardware failure, and scalability. Because virtualization is so versatile there’s simple ways to make use of VPS, and the benefits outweigh downsides.
  2. Cost. People often point out dedicated servers as being expensive. It’s true, if your speaking heavily equipped Dedicated Server. But some low cost dedicated servers are equipped with large amounts of storage like 4TB making it a cheap alternative VPS or Cloud Servers which are provisioned lightly with scalable disk space.
  3. Complete isolation for compliance.

In summary we’ve covered these three hosted server solutions. VPS, Cloud and Dedicated Servers. There are still so many variations of each variety one post is hardly sufficient, but is a good introduction or refresher.

If you need help deciding which direction to go we’re glad to help. We make fantastic relationships with new growing businesses and work great with established companies. Really anyone wishing to make use of reliable hosted solutions with incredible US based support. We act as a powerful extension to your team by caring for your hosted resources. Consult with our Business Solutions Team for detailed answers in how we can help you.

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