Rackspace Cloud Library

Dedicated Servers vs. Cloud Servers

Confused about your options when it comes to cloud computing and dedicated hosting for your application or website? Below, you’ll find a definition of each followed by an overview of their differences.

Cloud Servers

Cloud servers can be configured to provide levels of performance, security and control similar to those of a dedicated server. But instead of being hosted on physical hardware that’s solely used by you, they reside in a shared “virtualized” environment that’s managed by your cloud hosting provider. You benefit from the economies of scale of sharing hardware with other customers. And, you only pay for the exact amount of server space used. Cloud servers also allow you to scale resources up or down, depending on demand, so that you're not paying for idle infrastructure costs when demand is low.

With cloud servers, you can optimize IT performance without the huge costs associated with purchasing and managing fully dedicated infrastructure. Businesses with variable demands and workloads often find that cloud servers are an ideal fit.

Dedicated Servers

A dedicated server is a physical server that is purchased or rented entirely for your own business needs. Dedicated servers are typically used by large businesses and organizations that require exceptionally high levels of data security, or organizations that have steady, high demands for server capacity.

With dedicated servers, businesses still need the IT capacity and expertise to manage ongoing maintenance, patches and upgrades. Businesses using I/O-heavy applications, such as databases and big data platforms, find significant value in bare metal dedicated hardware.

Why Use Cloud and Dedicated Servers?


Both cloud and dedicated services can now be deployed in minutes. Dedicated environments provide the ability to fully customize servers — an option that is non-existent in most clouds.

Security & Compliance

Cloud is multi-tenant and dedicated is single-tenant. It’s important to understand whether your business's security plan requires a single-tenant environment.

Access to Tools

Cloud and dedicated environments are both available with utility-based pricing models. When looking beyond pricing models, cloud allows for easy compartmentalization of resources that are often expensive with dedicated hardware. 

Flexible Pricing

In a cloud environment, community-driven APIs are often available for automatic scaling, provisioning and management. In a dedicated environment, you may have to wait for vendor-driven development. 

How Can Rackspace Help?

Defining the right solution will depend on your business goals and objectives, as well as your immediate and long-term IT requirements.

We’re here to help ensure you assess these needs and find the best possible solution. For more information on our managed cloud dedicated server hosting, and hybrid cloud hosting options — and how we can help you build an architecture for your individual needs — contact us today.

Start the Conversation