The 3 Biggest Differences Between Cloud Hosting and Traditional Hosting (And Why It Matters).
The talk of cloud hosting solutions is impossible to avoid, but it’s impossible to still not understand the difference between cloud hosting and traditional hosting. Let’s take a look.
Traditional hosting comes in two flavours, if you will: dedicated and shared. Traditional dedicated cloud hosting is when an organisation buys a server for its own use. The organisation will have a set amount of dedicated bandwidth, CPU, RAM, and drive space and will be responsible for all costs of maintaining it. Traditional shared hosting is when more than one organisation pay for the use of a single server – meaning that the server’s resources are used (shared) by a number of organisations.
Cloud hosting provides virtual server use on an on-demand, as-needed basis. Most cloud hosting solutions offer service on a pay-as-you-go basis. Unlike traditional hosting, where an organisation is usually tied to one server, cloud hosting service is a cluster of multiple, mirrored servers. This means that if a server goes down, service continues for the cloud’s clients because another server will pick up the slack.
An easy way to think of it is if hosting was another utility service like electricity. With electricity, you’re buying the service from an energy supplier. You can plug your devices into the wall but you only pay for the electricity that you actually use. In contrast, traditional hosting is like buying your own solar panel. You have to pay for the solar panel and reap all the benefits of having a dedicated electrical source, but you are also the one that needs to buy, install, and keep up with the maintenance whether or not you are using all the electricity the panel produces.
There are quite a few considerations to take into account when deciding whether traditional hosting or cloud hosting is right for your organisation, but let’s discuss the Big Three.
1. The bottom line.
Price is a big differentiator between traditional dedicated hosting and cloud hosting. Dedicated hosting is the more expensive option between the two flavours. This is because, not only does an organisation have to pay for the physical hardware, but it also needs to pay for hosting it and the human labour needed to keep the server up and running. Additionally, workloads vary and the load they put on a server changes all the time. An organisation, however, will need to design the server to handle the peak load but will rarely run a server at max capacity due to varying loads. This means that a (significant) portion of the server will almost always go unused. Therefore traditional dedicated hosting might be the right option for an organisation that has a steady, continuous workload.
With cloud hosting, since it is on a pay-as-you-go basis and can easily scale up and down, that means not only that you can get the capacity on demand when you need it but also that you only pay for the capacity that you use. Cloud hosting is the ideal option for typical businesses that see varying traffic such as during a new product release or promotion and therefore needs greater scalability without the cost of paying for unused server space.
2. Flexibility and scalability.
As we already alluded in the last point, there’s no reason to beat around the bush. Cloud hosting offers greater flexibility, reliability, and scalability than traditional hosting – hands down. Flexibility, availability, and scalability are the name of the game for cloud hosting. Clients of a cloud hosting provider are essentially buying space in a cluster of servers that are built to handle largely varying workloads, which means that not only are you not paying for what you don’t use, but you also won’t be slowed down by someone else’s traffic spike (which can happen with shared hosting).
3. Reduced in-house labour needs.
Going back to the electricity analogy, cloud hosting providers maintain all the hardware while the clients turn up or down the resources on demand and pay for the resources they consume. This means that automation goes up with cloud hosting and the need for manpower goes down. Cloud hosting can free up in-house IT staff to focus on needs other than server maintenance. This links back to our first point, but labour is something that we sometimes find to be overlooked in organisations when weighing costs. The cost of a dedicated server is not only the hardware, but also the person or team that keeps the server up to date, makes sure there are no security holes, generates a disaster recovery plan for when (not if!) your server fails, and troubleshoots any problems. Reducing staff needs by choosing to go with hosting is just another benefit that adds to the reduced price of cloud hosting.
As a side note, some organisations find that hybrid hosting is the right solution. Hybrid hosting is, well, a hybrid of traditional and cloud hosting where there are some virtualised elements, but there is also a dedicated server. Hybrid hosting can reduce the cost of out-and-out dedicated hosting and still offer the advantages of flexibility and scalability that cloud hosting brings to the table.
Macquarie Cloud Services offers public, private, and hybrid cloud for our clients – built just for them. If you’re interested in migrating to the cloud, talk to one of our specialists today to learn more.