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If you are new to hosting services, you might be wondering about the differences between between cloud services and managed IT solutions. There are roughly five key differences between the different levels of IT service management.

Virtualization and Scalability

If you are investing in cloud solutions, you’re really investing in virtualization and scalability. Utilizing the cloud virtualizes your server resources (RAM, CPU Cores, Disk Space, Bandwidth) to enable them to be replicated and scaled according to need. Most server virtualization uses some combination of Xen, KVM, Hyper-V and/or VMware.  You will lease virtual cloud servers which can be scaled (added to or lessened) depending on need.

Utilizing the cloud limits onsite hardware, cuts down on website downtime, allows for more effective load spike management, and enables you to deploy a safer disaster recovery scenario.

Dedicated Machines

To use Managed IT is to invest in hardware. While considered an older technology in the hosting industry, it holds vast quantities of dedicated compute resources (RAM, CPU, Disk Space, Bandwidth). To handle the load, a consumer purchases an entire physical server where all IT operations take place.

Unlike cloud services that offer scalable resources, dedicated server resources are finite and set. While this might seem like a negative, for the enterprise level company or for the website which gets 50,000 or more hits per day, a group of dedicated servers will handle server as effectively as a grouping of cloud based servers.

Managed Services vs. Unmanaged Services

Both cloud servers and traditional managed IT service management can be unmanaged or managed. What does this mean?

When it comes to managed IT solutions, management means the provider houses the server within their data center, performs routine maintenance, performs all server upgrades, and generally takes care of all major/daily IT work. This scenario also allows for the company to either install their own applications, programs, and security firewalls or to have the provider take care of it.

When it comes to cloud solutions, managed cloud hosting means the provider will perform routine maintenance on hardware and will help the company with technical assistance within a 24/7/365 helpdesk platform (online chat, phone).  Again, both platforms have management, but the meaning of management differs between the platforms.


IT Security is every company’s top concern. Cloud services, because they operate on more flexible virtualized interfaces, are less secure than dedicated IT service management. Managed IT solutions allow consumers to program their own security measures, customize the security programs/applications installed in their server, and enable consumers to more correctly configure their incoming and outgoing traffic through their providers’ data center firewalls.

While cloud services are secure, they simply don’t enable as granular security access to the consumer that a managed IT solution does.


Cloud services are designed to be deployed instantly, scale instantly, and rely on very flexible hardware with low limit resources. As such, reliable cloud solutions can be purchased for as little as $5 per month with a decent resource allotment.

Managed IT solutions are designed to work with dedicated servers. As dedicated servers require more power, more cooling, and contain more resources. On the other hand, they do allow for greater security. Managed IT services are, generally speaking, more expensive than cloud hosting solutions.

Which platform should you use? To determine that, match your computer needs to the platform along with your budget. Both have upsides and both have downsides and the right choice will be different, depending on the business.

If you’re looking for more information on utilizing cloud backup, are interested in IT management services, or would just like to know a little more about what we can do for you, Bay Area Computer Solutions is here to give you a hand! We’d love to speak with you about your needs and walk you through the ways in which BACS can help. Call us at (650) 887-4601 or contact us online today to learn more!

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Published on 14th July 2015 by James Berger.