Monday, April 6, 2009

Cloud Computing vs Dedicated Server

Seems like the cloud computing bandwagon is really accelerating. The quesion is, is the cloud better than good old fashioned, inexpensive shared hosting or just renting a dedicated server? The answer is, "buyer beware." Here's why: there are two kinds of clouds:

Application platform clouds where you write your website's code to the cloud's API. These types of clouds offer the best performance and scale easily. The challenge here is vendor lock in (there are no common APIs) and learning the clouds application programming interface and language.

Virtual machine (VM) based clouds. These types of clouds often run Windows or Linux and use the same tools you've been using for years. Convenient, yes, but a good deal? The jury is way out there on this one. Here's why:

First, if you are working on a low traffic (that means less than 50,000 visits per day), then the answer is the cloud is overkill and can't compete with $5/month shared hosting.

Here's where the VM cloud starts to loose it's luster: when compared to a dedicated server, you often are getting a virtual machine. That would be the same kind of setup as a virtual private server. When are on a virtual machine, you may be sharing time with ten to fifteen other users on the same server. When you are on a dedicated server, you just don't have to share. So, until you would need four or five cloud VMs, the dedicated server may substantially outperform the cloud.

Here's another trick with VM based clouds: you are not necessarily getting multi-site redundancy or for that matter, all your cloud vms may be in the same server. That's not very cloudy. In fact, many cloud computing providers are little more than a fancy control panel to very traditional "Virtual Private Servers."
If you were itching to put your next application in the cloud, you may want to hold off on that move. In some cases it makes sense to start your application in the cloud, but in most cases it doesn’t. --Erik Howard» Cloud Computing vs Dedicated Server | Erik Howard

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