When is a Single-Tenant Environment the Right Choice?

With the growth in cloud platforms, customers struggle to choose the type of infrastructure best suited for their applications and workloads — is it cloud (public or private), single-tenant dedicated infrastructure, or a combination of both (commonly referred to as a hybrid cloud solution)?

While we wish the answer was simple, it really depends on your business needs and the technical requirements for your workloads.

Many people think public cloud offers the greatest cost efficiency and provisioning time; and while this is sometimes the case, dedicated infrastructure is still the best option under certain scenarios. This post will examine when and where dedicated hosting may be a better infrastructure option for your application.

When should you use dedicated infrastructure?

Customers typically choose a single-tenant environment with dedicated compute, network and storage infrastructure when specific tiers of the workloads or applications they are running require the following:

  • consistency and performance,
  • flexibility and customization,
  • security and compliance,
  • economics of running steady state vs burst customer traffic,
  • an expert to manage and support their infrastructure, and
  • When not all application/workload requirements are binary.

Let’s touch on each of these points briefly.

Consistency and performance

Dedicated infrastructure, often referred to as dedicated hosting, or bare metal servers, consists of a single user running their applications in their environment. This option can provide the highest and most consistent level of performance and uptime for your application. Solutions include bare metal servers, web servers, even complex databases and virtualized solutions.

With a single tenant environment, you are the only user — thus all resources (compute, storage, etc) in that environment belong to you, a great option for input/output intensive applications that demand consistently high performance. In a multi-tenant environment like public cloud, you applications’ performance may be impacted if other users in the environment have high performance or usage spikes. This is commonly referred to as the “noisy neighbor” effect (see if we have a link for this).

Flexibility and customization

Running dedicated compute, storage,and networking means you have the ability to architect your environment exactly the way you need it — from exactly how much memory you need on your servers, to what type of network switching you need to serve traffic and balance the network load, to the local and external storage solution that meets your capacity and performance needs.

The ability to tailor the environment to your workload at the underlying infrastructure layer with dedicated servers, all the way up through the networking layer, provides more robust capabilities without having to compromise on resource allocation.

Security and compliance

In a public cloud model, your data is stored along with other tenants’ data on the same infrastructure.

In a dedicated model, your data is isolated on your server. Depending on your company’s or customers’ security and compliance requirements, data isolation could be key to allowing you to meet PCI compliance if you are doing any payment-related transactions with an ecommerce and retail environment, or for HIPAA compliance pertaining to health care data security.


When your application runs at a steady state in demand patterns, the total cost of ownership for dedicated hosting is lower than it would be on a public cloud. Depending on your scaling needs, if your traffic patterns are cyclical or additional compute and storage resources are needed during peak times, bursting into the cloud may be more economical. While many assume the overall costs of running dedicated gear is substantially higher, significant advances in power management, cooling and server efficiency now make running dedicated infrastructure cheaper over the long haul. In a hybrid cloud configuration, users have the option of “buying the base and renting the spike” to maximize cost efficiency.

Managed infrastructure and support

Running dedicated infrastructure can be complicated and require a lot of resources and training. But with Rackspace’s managed hosting model, our Fanatical Support and our broad portfolio of managed services, you can offload all the elements of deploying and running a single-tenant environment to your Rackspace Fanatical support team.

Rackspace has extensive expertise architecting and deploying, migrating, securing, managing and optimizing dedicated hosting and cloud computing solutions for our customers. We have more than 3,000 hosting engineers and hundreds of certified experts in best-of-breed technologies. And that means we have the tools, automation and technologies, combined with industry-leading service level guarantees, to handle the operational needs of our customers’ environments 24x7x365.

Our managed hosting customers get access to a dedicated account manager and support team to ensure their environment is performing at its peak. Our solutions architects can assist with recurring optimization of your environment as your needs change, or to support your business growth. We can help you leverage various enabling technologies and service levels to provide the right level of infrastructure and application support, monitoring and response, uptime and service level guarantees to ensure your mission critical workloads never fail, while always meeting your business needs.

Application/workload requirements

When it comes to solution architectures and the right type of infrastructure, individual applications or workloads will have varying technical requirements depending on the problem you are trying to solve. Certain environments will significantly benefit from the consistent performance of dedicated compute resources, such as mission critical databases that serve as the backend for web traffic or ecommerce platform. Other parts of the environment may benefit from a cloud infrastructure that is rapidly scalable if workloads or traffic fluctuates frequently or is highly seasonal.

We hope this overview supplies some of the key reasons why running single-tenant dedicated infrastructure can be beneficial for your business. If you’re moving from an in-house data center, or another provider, or if you’re just getting started on your journey to the cloud, Rackspace can help architect a solution that fits your budget, technical and business needs.

Our solutions architects leverage best-of-breed technologies, extensive expertise and broad portfolio of compute and managed services to build a dedicated or hybrid solution that combines the best of both worlds, while RackConnect connectivity to the cloud means getting the elasticity and flexibility of the cloud, and the dedicated performance and security provided by dedicated hosting.

Sujit Bhavsar joined Rackspace in 2015, after working for Microsoft in various software product manager roles. He has been responsible for managing and developing Rackspace’s server infrastructure to support many industry sectors and workloads, including the compute platforms that power Rackspace’s single-tenant and private cloud environments. He's a Houston native with a background rooted in technology, engineering and business management; he enjoys science, sports and spending time outdoors with his family.


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