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Dedicated Server or IaaS — what to choose?

Infrastructure-as-a-Service and dedicated server rental have a number of fundamental differences that affect the way resources are allocated, management capabilities and, in general, the cost. We have collected the most important information about these products so that you can make the right choice taking into account your financial capabilities and business needs.

The Essentials of IaaS and Dedicated Server

IaaS is renting dedicated infrastructure where customers can operate entirely on their own: install operating systems, necessary add-ons, operate virtual storages and video services. The area of responsibility of the service providers includes the management of physical infrastructure and the system of virtualization of the environment. 

IaaS allows you to quickly, sometimes in a few hours, obtain the necessary pool of resources and subsequently scale them up depending on the load. The customer does not invest in the purchase of equipment or a license for the virtualization system, and the administration on his side is to support only the operation of the OS and the installed software.

«Infrastructure as a Service» is suitable for customers who:

  • plan to launch a startup quickly;
  • сan not assess the use of resources in the future;
  • are highly likely to face seasonal or unprecedented pressures;
  • do not plan to make large capital investments in the development of IT-infrastructure;
  • want to delegate the tasks of administration of the virtual infrastructure to the provider’s specialists as much as possible.

In a Dedicated Server a client rents a complete hardware and software set located on the provider’s data center premises. In addition to the Dedicated Servers, you can rent storage equipment, data storages and software, as well as purchase services for a server model (as a Service), such as Firewall as a Service. With Dedicated Server, the client gets access to Enterprise-level equipment of the world’s leading vendors: Dell, HPE, SuperMicro, CISCO, Juniper, Brocade and others.

The global Dedicated Server market is growing rapidly: according to IDC, by 2025 it will have exceeded $7.6 billion, growing by 150% on average.

What are the similarities between IaaS and Dedicated Server

  • Delegation of non-specific tasks and IT infrastructure maintenance costs.
  • Access to equipment of leading global brands and infrastructure of competitive data centers.
  • Almost no risk of physical damage or theft of servers, storage and other equipment. 
  • Access to extensive engineering expertise and specialist technical support 24/7/365. 
  • Horizontal scalability is unlimited.

Major differences between IaaS and Dedicated Server

Isolation. In Dedicated Server, there is no influence of «neighbors», because the equipment and data are isolated. In IaaS, such influence is theoretically possible in a small number of cases, but service providers are constantly working on ways to minimize it.


Speed of commissioning. IaaS allows you to use the cloud resources for placement of IT infrastructure within a few short hours (maximum 24 hours) after the contract is signed. In the Dedicated model — in a few days or weeks, if the client ordered a non-standard configuration and the equipment will be delivered on a customized order.

Scaling speed. On a Dedicated Server, additional resources can be deployed for several days, while the IaaS model requires several hours or minutes. Even if the warehouse has all the necessary equipment for scaling up a dedicated server, you can’t just take it and shut it down: you need to at least choose a long time when the load will be the lowest. In IaaS, it is possible to add processing resources without terminating services, for example, storage resources.

Customizability. They are practically unlimited in the Dedicated service, but limited in the «infrastructure as a service» model. Here a client cannot change the configuration of the cloud on demand — for example, instead of Intel processors you can choose AMD.

Physical control over the equipment. In IaaS, the provider’s resources are divided among a number of clients. If a client rents Dedicated Server service with a number of servers occupying the entire rack, they can control them physically: hang locks, install cameras and sensors. With one or two servers that will share the wall with other customers’ equipment, physical control is redundant.

Cost. It depends on the scale and requirements for infrastructure. If the client needs a small pool of resources, it will be cheaper to obtain and scale them up in the future. Soon the amount of necessary resources can be equal to the capabilities of a dedicated server, renting a cloud will be cheaper than the pool of virtual resources with additional services for a serviced (as a Service) model.

Typical Service Selection Mistakes

In their work, Colobridge employees have encountered situations where a customer plans to purchase IaaS, but ends up signing a contract for a Dedicated Server and vice versa. We will explain why this happens.

The load was initially estimated incorrectly. If for some reason (which happens rarely) less resources than necessary are allocated, it will not be possible to quickly change the configuration of the allocated server. In IaaS, even before the contract is signed, you can conduct a load test, changing the parameters of virtual servers on the go, and see how many resources are needed for the project.

Seasonal and other workloads are not taken into account. Again, the Dedicated model is less flexible: it does not allow for quick release of additional resources, which means that users will have problems with access to client services and add-ons. In IaaS, you can receive as many resources as you need at that moment.

The budget doesn’t meet the requirements for a viable solution. The cost of backing up infrastructure is expensive. If a business wants to protect itself against a single point of failure, but at the same time has limited spending on infrastructure, it should look only towards IaaS – all components of this service are conditioned.

There is no desire or ability to manage the IT-infrastructure. A client who orders a dedicated server is forced to involve professionals in the administration of the hardware, hypervisor and everything at the lower levels. In IaaS, on the customer side, it is only necessary to maintain the OS on virtual machines, which are the responsibility of the service provider.

Processing resources are needed «on time». The «infrastructure as a service» model allows you to see them quickly throughout the day. Purchasing components and putting a server into operation takes more time.

It is necessary to make regular backups of data. The Dedicated Server needs to be set up independently for backups. With IaaS, a customer receives a ready-to-use service where backups are created automatically.

With Colobridge, you can choose IaaS, Dedicated Server or use the hybrid model — almost all services and products can be combined in a single way: you can rent physical equipment together with a public cloud, and use services with a dedicated server in a cloud. Taking the final decision on the merits of a specific solution for the placement of IT infrastructure will help our experts. Take a free trial period to evaluate the service «infrastructure as a service», or ask for a trial configuration of the hardware and software solution for the requirements of your business.

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