Now that we’ve briefly illustrated the difference between virtual and bare-metal environments in Part 1 of my series, how can we determine which is most beneficial for your company? There are several things to consider when making this significant business decision.
Let’s start with one of the most basic and most important variables: cost. It may be true that bare-metal solutions offer cost benefits over virtual solutions when both are administered in-house; however, one must also consider the price tag associated with having a full time Sys Admin to maintain the environment as well as the hefty cost of materials to implement either solution. For many businesses, doing so may be very possible; however, more often than not, it is much easier (and cost-effective) to offload that burden to a company who is dedicated to handling that responsibility in full. Once that route is taken, maintaining your company’s data in a secure virtual server environment is the way to go! The worries of costly hardware failures and replacements are no longer an obstacle. The time (and cost) spent upgrading system software/firmware and installing security patches are a task to take off your list. And perhaps best of all, the fluctuation of cost is far more predictable, making budgeting much easier.
Another benefit of virtualization is scalability. Imagine being able to temporarily increase resources to your business’s server when you anticipate high traffic on your website for an event of some sort. Or perhaps, suddenly, your business plans to expand significantly and the immediate need for additional resources exists. With your servers residing in a fully-managed virtual environment, there are almost no limitations on what can be quickly adjusted to suit your organization’s needs, whether it be more resources, storage, new software/integrations, or enhanced security <measures?> to satisfy a particular compliance.
There are also different offerings to choose from when it comes to hosting in a fully managed virtual environment. Here are a few:
A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a single, non-shared virtual server that is specifically deployed and maintained for your business only. This server runs its own independent operating system, so the customer can be granted administrative access to all software on the server, if required. This also makes it possible for the customer to pick and choose which customizations should be made to the operating system itself and software that it runs on. Having the ability to do this is quite advantageous for hosting a website. In addition to web hosting, this solution can also be leveraged for businesses who have the need for a Windows Remote Desktop server to share within their organization, a file or email server, or a software platform.
While less costly, a Shared Hosting Environment presents certain restrictions to what the customer can dictate as far as software customizations, access levels, and resource adjustments; however, this solution can still be beneficial for smaller business needs, specifically as they pertain to website hosting.
If software and access customization is a benefit your company requires, but a single VPS just won’t cut it for your larger business needs, a Virtual Clustered Environment should be considered. This solution provides your business with the highest levels of performance, sophistication, and scalability. While the architecture of clustered environments can vary substantially depending on the needs of your business, below is a break-down of a simple four-server clustered environment:
In conclusion, electing to use a fully managed virtual environment for your company can provide you with the scalability, ease of access, and performance needed to meet your business goals as they pertain to server hosting.