A virtual server is a like a digital construct of a physical server. It has the same sort of attributes and capabilities.
However, because it’s virtual, multiple versions of this kind of server, used by a variety of different companies, can be stored on a single physical server. This contrasts with a dedicated server, which is a physical server that acts as only one server and is used by a single company for its web activities.
Why use a virtual server? Web hosts have found that virtual servers allow them to offer advanced web services to companies at relatively low cost. This is how the VPS (virtual private server) option became a middle choice between the limited options of shared hosting and the expensive, high-end option of dedicated hosting.
With a virtual server, companies gain access to several benefits they would not enjoy without having to pay an extremely high price. They get enough bandwidth for advanced Internet services, sufficient memory for large customer data lists, and security updates to protect online stores.
These options and others like them allow companies to save a substantial amount of money, not only when it comes to monthly fees, but when it comes to long-term expenses and digital investments.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways companies commonly realize these savings.
A virtual server is an incredibly scalable option for growing a company. Many businesses start with a simple blog or placeholder website established through shared hosting.
But this option does not offer enough resources for a real business site, especially if a firm wants to sell products online. Shared web hosting has a very low ceiling. Virtual servers, by contrast, have an extremely high ceiling with regard to resources.
In other words, companies have to deal with a price bump when they switch to a virtual server, but they can steadily increase the size of the site thereafter without having to worry about the high cost of transferring to another hosting option. Virtual server packages offer a broad selection of data and bandwidth options, which allows for a steady increase in web traffic without slowing down the site or causing related problems.
Many web hosts also offer specific services tailored to the needs of growing companies, for example offering dynamic bandwidth or data services that can automatically increase to deal with a sudden burst of new traffic.
Hardware vs. software
The fact that virtual servers are based in software rather than hardware offers significant cost savings as well. Because virtual servers can be swiftly modified to perform a wide variety of data-based tasks, there’s no need to buy or lease new equipment every time the business changes. The software can simply be updated or modified to meet the latest need.
Not only does this save on purchasing new, expensive servers and related components, but it also enables companies to save on many related items. This includes wiring, building modifications, cooling units, and the often high cost of repairs and professional maintenance.
The web host takes care of all these details at the physical server, while the virtual server floats above it all, easily adaptable. If something goes wrong on the virtual side of things, the server is also very easy to reboot swiftly. A physical server, on the other hand, requires a lengthy rebooting process that can take your site offline every time you need to make changes, thereby causing lost sales and potential reputation problems.
Virtual servers, especially in a host-managed scenario, offer excellent choices for data storage and backup. A shared hosting option is much more limited when it comes to data loss. Even a dedicated server is susceptible to corruption and failure, which can lead to immediate data loss.
There are many backup and balancing strategies used in server arrays to prevent data loss, but virtual servers offer some of the cheapest, most effective solutions. Virtual servers can be programmed with disaster recovery responses.
Dynamic data management can quickly move data between several different servers at once to protect or recover data when necessary. Backing up data from a virtual server is also a swift and painless process.
The result is less downtime and fewer problems attributable to data loss. This also minimizes expenses associated with having to buy replacement equipment or purchasing additional data recovery services.
The energy question
A virtual server exists with a physical server that’s managed by a web host, typically in a tightly controlled environment designed to protect the servers in every possible way. As a result, all the power costs are including in the virtual server package.
Even if a company is using its own dedicated server instead of VPS hosting, a virtual server system can still reduce the need to buy multiple servers, and thus reduce the amount of electricity the firm requires.
VPS and virtual server options also help companies save money on other utilities. Servers are infamous for requiring constant cooling, which can quickly ramp up the monthly costs of running HVAC systems.
Future cloud work
Even a physical server gives you plenty of cloud-related options for your business. However, virtual servers are already free of direct connections to hardware.
This allows you to move data and services quickly into the cloud without incurring additional expenses. If you plan on using cloud computing models for various departments or services in the future, moving to a virtual server can save you money.
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