Cloud vs. VPS

By Donna Hemmert

AIS Network, VP Strategy 

Cloud vs. VPS?

We often get the question of what is the difference between Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and cloud servers.  Both use a virtualized (as opposed to physical) environment and so they are often confused.

First it’s important that you understand virtualization. Virtualization is the creation of a virtual (rather than actual) version of something. For our purposes, here, virtualization refers to technologies designed to provide a level of abstraction between hardware and software so that we get a logical view of computing resources (as opposed opt physical).  This allows us to “trick” the operating system into thinking a group servers is a pool of computing resources giving you your own economies of scale.

With virtualization, to start, a host is needed.  A host (or host virtual machine) is where all the host virtual machines reside – the underlying hardware or server component that provides computing resources.  A collection of hosts can create a cloud of shared resources.  Here are some of the most common ways virtualization is configured:

  • Cloud servers: Virtual machines that ride atop a cloud (a collection of hosts). You can see your VMs, but you have no control over the host.
  • VPS: The virtualization allows you to partition a single physical computer into multiple servers so that each can run like its own dedicated machine.  So on a VPS, each virtual machine has its own operating system, can run and respond independently, and even be rebooted independently.  You have full access to the host AND the VMs that ride on it. This is the ultimate in control, but does very little for resource expansion unless other VPS’s are added.
  • Private Cloud: There are 2 types of Private Cloud – Virtual and Dedicated.

A Dedicated Private Cloud provides you with a physically isolated infrastructure.  You have your own private cloud instance and the most control over your resources.  The downside is that hardware must be added to expand resources.

A Virtual Private Cloud provides you a logically isolated infrastructure, with fully private networking and resource pools.  You can easily add resources.

Where we find new customers will often come to us asking for VPS is in order to increase security. These customers most often want to maintain total control of their own environment and do not want to share computing resources with people outside their companies in the a public environment like a public cloud.   This is where having your own private cloud can be the perfect answer.  Private Cloud gives you many of the benefits of the VPS but add in redundancy, fail over, quick provisioning and deployment.  The process to get a new VM up and running in the Cloud typically takes only a few clicks where VPS requires a manual upgrade to your service.  So, if you are thinking VPS, you may want to consider private cloud – for convenience, flexibility, cost and security.

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