(The Hosting News) – You’ve heard about the cloud – companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Dell and IBM are all touting various versions of this technology, telling you it’s the best thing you could possibly choose. However, the cloud isn’t the only option on the market, with choices like virtual private servers (VPSs) also offering a viable solution for SMBs that want to make the jump to more dynamic hosting. But which is better – the cloud, or a VPS? Is there a point of comparison, or is it simply VPS vs. Cloud, winner take all?
Apples to Apples – What’s the Same?
The simple fact is that cloud architecture is built off of basic VPS structuring in order to deliver performance, but extends the idea of the VPS. Think of it like this; a VPS offers you the chance to store data and applications off-site as part of a partitioned server with other users. Many of these servers include excellent response times and minimal downtime, and can be configured for Windows VDS or Linux VPS environment. The cloud works in a very similar way, except that instead of having your data on a single server, it’s spread out redundantly over several, many, or hundreds. One of the main functions of the cloud is to increase redundancy so that a business never has to worry about downtime or their data being lost. Ask Amazon about that one, though – a recent problem with their EC2 cloud meant a loss of service for hundreds of customers for a period of days, thanks to a malfunctioning protocol. In short, the cloud and VPS options are not so far apart, despite what the hype might say.
Apples and Bigger Apples – Scaling it Up
One of the most often-touted benefits of both of these technologies is scalability. In the case of a VPS, more server space can be purchased as needed; whereas in the cloud it is possible to have server space increased on a dynamic basis should it be required. At the end of the day, a VPS can offer scalability, but within a framework that has a finite beginning and end – the size of the virtual server purchased. While a cloud will also have a finite end to its space, that end is much more distant, and because data is spread around multiple servers, increasing size as required and on-the-fly is possible when you need those bigger apples.
Making the Apple Taste Right – Making Sure No One Takes It
Customization and security are both features that you’ll be looking for in any cloud or VPS option. If you can’t control your environment or who can access it, there’s little point in paying money for it. On both of these fronts, a VPS tends to come out ahead for several reasons, starting with the ability to customize. Since you own a part of a virtual server, which is for all intents and purposes separate from any other data on the same server, you can customize it however works best for you. This means choosing your OS and your applications and never having to worry about interfering with others on the server – it’s private. Clouds offer some of the same customization, but their inherently public nature limits your ability to get creative.
Security is also a concern for clouds. You might have a shiny apple of a program you need protecting, but while clouds can offer glass doors for protection; your apple can be seen, but not easily stolen, VPS networks offer the benefit of walls that mean your apple isn’t something people can stare at. New cloud developments including script invasion detectors and rootkits are helping to make those glass doors impenetrable, but are still working out the bugs.
The Real Cost of That Apple
Clouds can offer more up-to-the minute billing options, meaning you’ll be charged for exactly what you use. VPS options often go the flat-rate model and can’t scale as well, but the fact remains that cloud pricing overall is more expensive. The cost of increased scaling ability is something that has to be accounted for somewhere, and where you’ll see it is in the final cost of your hosting option.
The Bottom Line
Cloud hosting is on the rise, but if you’re looking for a solution that provides security, customization and cost-efficiency, as well as a starting point for a move to the cloud, a Custom VPS option is a great choice.