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For at least the past two decades, businesses have been heavily data-driven. Data allows businesses to better understand customers and make more informed strategic decisions. It can identify market trends and anticipate customer behaviour, leading to improved service levels and, crucially, increased sales. In many ways, the success of a business hinges on its ability to accumulate, sort and store data, applying it in the most useful way possible.

The ability to gather and categorise data is the basis of any modern digital transformation strategy, and while it can be an immensely tough nut to crack, it can largely take care of itself once the relevant processes and automations are in place. It then becomes a question of storage and computing, and this is where many young businesses begin to falter.

Safeguarding critical data 

Given the critical importance of data, it’s only natural for businesses to want to safeguard it. Companies regularly spend inordinate amounts of resources and capital on data protection, not only for the benefit of their customers but to preserve business continuity. Businesses need to ensure that their data is secure, but also convenient and accessible to key members of the team. This has led to an almost ubiquitous uptake of cloud storage solutions, driven further by the recent global pandemic.

However, not all storage solutions are created equal, and the nomenclature can be confusing. As companies begin to navigate their journey toward digital maturity, they often stumble when it comes to storage and computing power. In many cases, this is due to confusion over dedicated servers and private cloud. Businesses will find themselves asking, “Which is more secure?” or “Which offers the best level of accessibility?” Some businesses might even be confused over which is which, opting for a Dedicated Server when what they’re really after is a Private Cloud solution. Let’s take a quick look at the differences between the two. 

Private Cloud vs Dedicated Servers

One of the reasons Private Cloud and Dedicated Servers are often conflated is that they both offer a complete server environment at a surface level. To the unsuspecting server administrator, there’s barely any difference between the two when it comes to day-to-day operations. Both can run the same software and utilise the same tools, and members of staff that are familiar with one will be able to seamlessly work with the other. It’s only when we peer under the bonnet and look at the inner workings of each that the real differences start to emerge. It’s not that one solution is better than the other, but that each is suited to a particular type of business – and those businesses need to know the difference.

While both solutions leverage single-tenant architectures (meaning they’re dedicated to one customer), Private Cloud is effectively a virtualised system, whereas Dedicated Servers are not. This is probably the widest gap between the two and is important for a number of reasons.

Scalability 

One of those reasons is scalability. Private Cloud uses a virtualised system, meaning it can grow side by side with a business as it scales up. What can begin as a relatively modest investment can increase gradually as the organisation requires more storage and greater functionality. While the underlying physical infrastructure is dedicated solely to one business, they are not necessarily responsible for its direct upkeep. Put simply, it’s like renting your own private place in the cloud, with the cloud provider being your landlord. Except in this case, you can add rooms and better utilities as and when you need to. Dedicated Servers are slightly different. While they offer the same functionality, and can even be faster and more reliable in some cases, the businesses will have to invest in the physical infrastructure and will be responsible for its upkeep and any upgrades. This can make the dedicated server option slightly more expensive, but if a business knows precisely what it wants it can prove extremely valuable in terms of performance, dependability and cost-effectiveness.

Security 

Security is also a key factor. Some might argue that Dedicated Servers offer increased security because it consists of a non-virtualised ‘offline’ element. But this physical ring-fencing actually comes at an increased cost when you consider its vulnerability to things like fire, theft or flooding.

Knowing the difference

When it boils down to it, both Private Cloud and Dedicated Servers are perfectly viable solutions with many distinct advantages. For smaller businesses and start-ups, the flexibility of a Private Cloud solution might be the best fit. Whereas more established enterprises with masses of data and very particular hosting requirements might choose the Dedicated Server option. The key is putting in the research and knowing the difference. If you’re at a data storage crossroads, seek expert advice before you commit. It will likely save you a great deal of time, pain and resources in the long run.

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