Startups have no end of infrastructure hosting options to choose from. From modest shared hosting to bare metal clouds via dedicated servers, virtual private servers, cloud servers, PaaS platforms, and many more. Each has strengths and weaknesses, but — as is often the case with complex decisions — there’s a tendency to choose based on which is getting the most marketing buzz right now. But marketing buzz doesn’t always translate into real-world capabilities and benefits.
One of the least hyped hosting options is dedicated server hosting, which is a shame because a dedicated servers — or a cluster of dedicated servers — provides exactly the capabilities and benefits that most startup infrastructure hosting clients are looking for. Dedicated servers offer the best performance, the best price profile, optimal reliability, and unparalleled control over the hosting environment.
Why Choose Dedicated Server Hosting?
With a dedicated server, clients have access to all the capabilities of an enterprise-grade server specced to meet their particular needs. There is no hosting solution that offers superior performance to a dedicated server — dedicated is as good as it gets. This is particularly evident where I/O is concerned: for read and write heavy applications — those that depend on databases or being able to process data quickly — the only thing better than a dedicated server is a more powerful dedicated server.
Improved Performance / Cost Profile
For long-term workloads, dedicated servers offer by far the best price-to-performance ratio. You’ll pay less for more on dedicated servers ranging from low-end dual core systems right up to huge multi-processor machines with hundreds of gigabytes of RAM. Many businesses move from virtualized platforms to dedicated servers because they find the benefits of virtualization don’t justify the additional costs.
On hosting platforms that hide implementation details beneath layers of technology the client has no control over or insight into, it’s difficult to build an optimally secure hosting environment. You simply don’t know what hardware or software is being used. With a dedicated server, the client has complete insight into their software stack and they can take comfort from the fact that the only thing “beneath” their level of control is bare metal and the network interface.
Amazon’s S3 service had a major outage recently. Every company that relied on S3 in the affected region was impacted. That’s not an attempt to bash S3 — every infrastructure hosting platform suffers reliability problems occasionally. But it’s worth thinking about what individual users can do about it. In the case of S3, system administrators, developers, and executives in the affected companies could do precisely nothing because they have no control.
Dedicated servers are different — if an issue occurs on a dedicated server, clients and hosting providers are much more likely to be able to quickly identify the cause of the problem and fix it.
Dedicated servers aren’t the right choice for every project, but if you value performance, an advantageous price-to-performance ratio, increased security, and greater control, dedicated servers may well be the right tool for the job.