Physical servers are used to store and manage corporate data and applications. Servers offer the space and resources for the storage and management of software and data. There are two types of servers, physical or traditional servers and cloud servers. Traditional servers are rarely used nowadays because they have been replaced by the cloud, but some large companies still use physical servers that are part of traditional servers.

Multiple cross-industry organizations have adopted the cloud and migrated their services and solutions to the cloud. For modern and emerging businesses, the cloud proves to be the most optimal and cost-effective solution for data storage, management, application development, and many other features. 

However, before implementing or adopting cloud technology, it is important to understand what it is and the options you have when considering your deployment. We will go through the definition of cloud computing and physical servers and the difference between them below. 

What Are Physical Servers?

Physical servers are part of traditional servers. Traditional servers were often used when the concept of cloud computing did not exist. Traditional servers allow customers to purchase shared or physical space on the server to host their website. With a shared server, multiple customers share the same server. 

Generally, the service provider will provide the customer with the space and resources as requested. Physical servers allow customers to buy the entire server themselves without having to share server space and resources with other customers. 

Many large enterprises use physical servers because they can provide a high level of security. This option is not suitable for small businesses as it requires specialized and experienced talent to manage and maintain physical servers.

What Are Cloud servers? 

The cloud servers consist of a virtual environment providing space and resources to customers. Instead of hosting the company data and resources on their own, private and local physical servers, cloud computing offers the option to host corporate information in a virtual environment.

Simply put, cloud servers use multiple virtual servers to provide high scalability and resources. Unlike physical servers, the cloud does not store applications, websites, and other resources in specific locations. It uses a different system to manage your data. All work in the cloud is done virtually, so you only pay for the same number of resources and storage space you use. 

There are no additional charges related to server maintenance and management. Cloud servers are ideal for both small and medium-sized businesses and can also be used by large companies. 

Physical Servers vs. Cloud Servers: Comparison

Cost: Physical servers require expertise and a high level of resources to manage and maintain them effectively. This comes with multiple expenses that small businesses can’t necessarily afford. Companies that have dedicated servers need a team of dedicated specialists to manage, maintain, and monitor the servers. 

As to Cloud servers, it is the cheapest alternative. You pay for the storage and resources you use. The entire server operations are handled by the provider. Nothing special is required to manage the server. 

Management: Physical servers give the owner full control over the server and allow them to manage the server as needed. Maintaining and managing a physical server requires complete knowledge of the server itself but offers full control over the server. 

As to Cloud servers, they are managed by the service provider. The server does not give the customer control over the server. Managing a cloud server is much more difficult than managing a physical server. Cloud providers have hundreds of virtual servers to manage, which comes with complex procedures and challenging operations:

Reliability: Companies that own a physical server have one dedicated corporate server. Therefore, if an error occurs in the system, the entire server and data will go down, and the server may go down as well. On the other hand, in the cloud, there are multiple servers. As a result, if one server crashes or goes down, another server manages the customer’s data and applications. This factor makes cloud computing more reliable than physical servers.

Security: Security is the main reason for using physical servers. Attacking a physical server can be difficult for hackers. Therefore, it’s not easy to compromise the security of dedicated servers. The cloud server also provides security, but less when it is compared directly to a physical server. This does not mean that anyone can attack the cloud server. Cloud servers are also very secure, and different cloud providers are offering more and more enhanced security systems.

Customization: For physical and dedicated servers, customers have full control over their servers, where they can customize their servers as needed. The cloud doesn’t give customers that much control and servers are handled by cloud providers.

Integration of Tools: If you want to integrate some utility-based tools with a physical server, it can cost more than a cloud server. The cloud offers multiple utilities at a low cost.

Scalability: Using physical hardware doesn’t enable making changes to the physical server configuration. On the other hand, Cloud computing servers are highly scalable, and you can purchase more resources and storage space as your business and customer base expand.

Cloud Vs. Physical Servers: Which One to Choose?

Both cloud and dedicated servers offer multiple valuable capabilities to any type of business. However, the most optimal choice for small or medium-sized businesses remains the cloud. The cloud offers high scalability, flexibility, and reliability. Unlike physical servers, in the cloud, you don’t have to pay for maintenance costs. 

All server management, maintenance, monitoring, and troubleshooting operations are done by the cloud provider. As a result, you can avoid copious expenses and proper talent acquisition. Having to find the proper talent with adequate expertise to handle physical servers is more and more difficult. This is the reason even large companies are shifting their businesses to cloud computing and taking advantage of the numerous benefits it provides. 

In addition, the cloud offers data backup and recovery solutions, enabling companies to recover their data in case of an issue and maintain their performance.