Cloud hosting is all the rage nowadays – everywhere you turn, you’ll see brand new offers and articles talking about all the advantages of cloud hosting and why you should get a cloud hosting package for any purpose right away. While I agree that cloud hosting is the wave of the future – after all, it’s basically like shared hosting, but on a larger scale and with much more customization and flexibility – I think cloud hosting is still not ready for the prime time, especially for businesses and startups.
Cloud hosting technologies are quite new and they haven’t proven themselves in the field for long enough to be stable and reliable for mission critical purposes. Here are just a few reasons why I believe you should weigh your options wisely when choosing between a cloud hosting and a dedicated server package for a production environment:
The technology is not mature enough. Cloud hosting in its current incarnation has been around for just a couple of years – that’s definitely not enough to make it stable enough for production servers. Sure, there are a lot of companies who are using cloud hosting for their site or app, but you’d be surprised to know that most major companies and a lot of small businesses don’t intend on moving to the cloud anytime soon. There are a lot of issues that need to be solved with cloud hosting before it becomes a viable alternative to dedicated servers, and a lot of businesses that tried going with the cloud have turned back to the good old co-location or rented physical machines because they’re more reliable, cheaper and less prone to cause problems.
There are a lot of security risks. A cloud server is really no more secure than a VPS – it’s basically the same concept, after all, only instead of one physical machine for VPS, the cloud server runs on multiple machines, which gives it an advantage in speed and scalability, but leaves it with basically the same vulnerabilities as a VPS. Of course, technologies have improved and the security risks of running your own virtual server on a big cloud that hosts hundreds or thousands of other similar machines are pretty low, but they’re still higher than with a dedicated server – if a hacker gets access to one account, they can conceivably gain access to your files, as well, which is very bad if the data is vital to your business.
Cloud packages/servers are more expensive. For now, a cloud hosting package is more expensive for what you’re getting than a dedicated server. Even when you pay per time of instance, you’re still going to pay more than for a dedicated server (especially for bandwidth, which is often more expensive than the hosting itself). Dedicated servers are now equipped with eight or more cores, which makes them very powerful (much more so than a couple of years ago), but the cloud hype left them in the dust, and their prices have gone down considerably – now is the perfect time to make the most of a powerful dedicated server, instead of going with a new and relatively untested cloud server.
Cloud servers have lower performance. While theoretically, the performance of a virtualized machine should be equal to a physical one in terms of processing power, that is most often not the case, as a lot of companies found out the hard way. The main reason is that the virtualization software is still pretty bad at assigning virtual processes to the physical processor cores, and there are a lot of cases when increasing the number of cores on a cloud server leads to even lower performance than similarly specced physical machines – the processes just bounce around the many cores too much, and the software has a hard time sorting them out – this is especially true when you have hundreds or thousands of cores to choose from (they’re most often batched, but even several dozen is a lot to handle).
While cloud hosting is undoubtedly the future, it’s still not good enough to be the best choice for your business or even a new online startup – the technology is not mature enough, and there are a lot of issues that simply don’t exist in the case of a dedicated server – that’s why the latter is often a much better choice. If you need a hosting solution for your business, you should be careful when deciding to go with cloud hosting.
Recommended: Reliable business-grade VPS hosting with cloud capabilities – VPS.NET