The Difference Between the Cloud and the Traditional Server Cluster

| June 20, 2013

Server Cluster and Related Terms: A Thing of the Past?

Server clusters have been the standard technical installation in all multi-computer businesses since tech specialists discovered how to connect multi-computers to the same server to create, in essence, one giant computer. This is still the main system in most businesses, but as more talk about the cloud as a virtual server begins to circulate, companies are stepping back to take another look at the efficiency of their systems.

While they perform the same basic functions, there are several major differences between having your server run virtually in the cloud and having a balanced server cluster.

What is a Server Cluster?

A server cluster is a way for companies to build their own cloud, through which they can monitor and control the flow of information. At their most basic, server clusters are comprised of individual servers at multiple locations, connected remotely though an internal service to make one large, high-powered server.

Why Would a Company Need to Build a Server Cluster?

For some companies, the benefits speak for themselves.

  • Scalability: Server clusters allow the opportunity for growth without requiring an additional location. If any task requires more than one server, another can simply be activated.
  • Reliability and Accessibility: Another benefit of server clusters is that if one server fails in the middle of a task, it is simple to just connect to another within the cluster and continue without any downtime.
  • Manageability: Clustering makes it easier to manage sever applications and virtually eliminates downtime. If one server needs repair, the workload simply shifts to a functioning server within the cluster.

How is a Server Cluster Different from the Cloud?

The main difference between server clusters and the cloud is that connected servers within the cloud have no physical location. If a company has enough room to create a server cluster, it becomes a matter of opinion whether or not they need to upgrade to the cloud.

Another benefit of keeping an in-house server cluster is that the company will always have complete control over how the information moves and where it is stored. Security is another factor. While the cloud system can offer some guarantee that the data transferred to their servers is secure, there is always the uncertainty as the data transfers from virtual cloud server to virtual cloud server across the world.

The decision to upgrade to the cloud over building a server cluster depends on how much physical space the company has for server equipment, the confidentiality of the data to be transferred, and how much money the company has to invest in IT hours.

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