Companies looking to outsource the management of their IT applications and services to third-party hosting providers have a variety of options to choose from these days. A dedicated hosting model is one such option. In a dedicated model, a company leases out an entire server, storage system or network infrastructure component from a Web hosting company. The server and other hardware are used exclusively by the company which rents the equipment out. Dedicated servers are owned and managed by the service provider and the systems are typically housed in the provider’s own data centers. Clients simply access and use the servers over high-speed networks. This type of hosting arrangement is very different from other typical Web hosting models in which a company might have its applications and services hosted on servers and infrastructure components that are shared among multiple clients.
Dedicated hosting services are often more expensive than other Web hosting arrangements. However, it also offers several substantial advantages over the other models. One of the biggest advantages is the fact that customers retain much more direct control over their IT applications. With a dedicated service, organizations can specify the kind of server hardware and operating system they want their applications hosted on. They also have a direct say in how the systems are configured and what kind of security controls need to be implemented in order to protect their applications. Importantly, clients can also customize their settings and specify what exactly needs to be included in the hosting package and what features they do not need. This kind of customization allows clients to optimize the hosting environment to their specific needs.
Hosting client can decide for themselves if they want to manage and administer the hosted servers or want the hosting company to do it for them as an add-on service. In addition, the dedicated servers are typically housed in well protected facilities with redundant power supplies and other integrated disaster recovery and business continuity features. The service level agreements and performance guarantees associated with dedicated services are often also substantially higher than what’s available with shared hosting models.
Performance and scalability are two other important advantages of a dedicated Web hosting model. In a shared environment, the hosting server hardware, memory and storage resources are shared equally among numerous clients. As a result, overall application performance often is substantially slower compared to a server that is used exclusively by just one customer. In addition, shared resources offer less scalability or headroom for growth, compared to a dedicated server.
By having a server exclusively for their own needs, web hosting clients are also assured of greater security and system stability. The hosting client does not have to worry about their system being overloaded or becoming unstable because the only applications running on the server is theirs. When using a dedicated server, a hosting client does not need to worry about having their applications or data being illegally accessed or compromised by other clients. Administrators usually have full access to all Web and system logs associated with their hosting environment so they are able to troubleshoot problems more efficiently and fine tune settings where needed.
Despite the many advantages of dedicated services, there are some issues that companies need to keep in mind when considering the option. One of the most important considerations is cost. The dedicated model is considerably more expensive than shared web hosting. So companies should consider it only for applications and services that can really benefit from running on a dedicated system. Several enterprise applications, such as email and calendaring for instance, can run quite well in a shared environment and do not need dedicated servers. Similarly, the task of administering a hosted dedicated server can be quite challenging for IT administrators and can erase some of the potential cost benefits.