I have read in many blog post, for instance here, that cloud servers are slightly slower then dedicated servers because they have to go through more layers:

Dedicated Servers are most preferable for industries that demand data retrieval and fast computing. As they are committed to process data locally, they do not experience a great deal of performance lag while processing information at all. The computing speed is clearly evident for industries like e-commerce where every 1/10th of a second matter. On the other hand, cloud servers go through SAN to access data that traverse the process to the back end of the infrastructure. The request then traverses across the hypervisor that again adds to an extra level of latency which cannot be reduced.

I wonder if this is still true, if you have a international web shop that has many users in Brazil, USA, Venezuela, Russia, New Zealand, Germany, Israel etc.

Wouldn't it be faster in this case to have a cloud server instead of a single dedicated server located in Germany?

  • I think you confuse the meaning of dedicated server, it's not "a single dedicated server located in Germany?" to serve all users globally, but several dedicated servers distributed according to usage pattern. – Máté Juhász May 24 at 7:35
  • @MátéJuhász I thought a dedciated server is a single computer. See webopedia.com/TERM/D/dedicated_server.html for example? – Adam May 24 at 7:41
  • 1
    A dedicated.server.is, indeed, 1 machine. (I work with these for a living, including buying and selling these and providing inftastructure and support) – davidgo May 24 at 9:26

The picture is more nuanced then your quote appears (but your quote is correct).

As a rough rule of thumb virtual systems (like EC2 instances) are about 5% slower then the same hardware would be if it was dedicated hardware -However using cloud infrastructure allows you to parallelize requests and get greater throughput.

Similarly load balancers - which are effectively proxy servers distributing the load add a slight delay, however this can be offset by caching, handling https encyption - and often doing so closer geographically to the end user which can reduce latency and increase overall speed.

The quote also seems to assume everything is run on a single server but most traditional hosting of large sites will split the load up anyway with a similar frontend, web servers, database backend each on different machines being a very common approach for well over 15 years - well before "the cloud"

Note that "the cloud" is marketing buzz for "other peoples computers" - nothing more. There is a lot of devil in the detail and (inappropriately) shared cloud infrastructure can bite you if the resources are oversubscribed.

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