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When it comes to IT management and hosting, businesses have to consider many different tech questions. None, however, is more essential than the basic building block of your network: the server. As the world has moved into cloud-based solutions and the server hosting market has grown exponentially from dedicated servers and shared hosting to cloud servers, VPS and VDS etc., determining the type of server your company needs can be overwhelming and frustrating.

With this in mind, here is a short guide to determine what type(s) of server(s) you need to keep your business up and running. To keep the article digestible, we are going to focus on two types of servers: dedicated servers and cloud servers.

Dedicated Servers

Dedicated servers are, in many ways, the legacy technology of hosting. The dedicated server is an older piece of technology which comes stocked with a ton of computing resources, the ability to install/uninstall/ programs of choice and the capacity to define the security regulations governing the hardware/installed software.

While you might not be managing how much RAM, CPU or Bandwidth your server has, you will need to understand what it might be used for. Typically, dedicated server hosting is used for websites which garner high load over extended periods of time or require heavy compute power to complete intricate resource intensive computing tasks – like bitcoin mining.

It should be noted, unlike cloud servers where compute resources are scalable, a dedicated server is a resource static environment wherein scale means purchasing a new dedicated server.

This being said, if you are a company which has a heavy trafficked website, deals in constant ecommerce interactions, runs over 75% heavy media (video, gifs, multi-layered content) or performs resource intensive computing tasks, a dedicated server is your best bet.

Cloud Servers

While they come in many shapes and sizes, the basic tenant of a cloud server is resource scalability and virtualization. Whereas a dedicated hosting solution is a physical machine with factory installed compute resources, a cloud server is an instantly scalable resource VM (virtual machine) running on top of tripod of machinery (hypervisor, SAN/NAS/DAS/SSD, physical server).

Cloud servers are resource scalable. As such, they require the operator to have some technical knowledge of how RAM, Bandwidth, Disk Space, CPU and IPs impact a connected compute network. Moreover, a cloud server requires the operator to understand incoming traffic thresholds, how incoming/outgoing bandwidth impact website performance and how selected resources interface with underlying virtualization tech.

It should be noted, because cloud servers are VM’s, they are cheap and can be scaled easily by either adding/diminishing resources or adding/deleting servers.

This being said, cloud servers are great for cheap web hosting, businesses hosting a small website with growth potential and web developers testing applications in a hidden dev production layer.

If you are looking for IT management of your network or you need help determining what type of server you need to run your business with efficiency, feel free to get in contact with BACS. We are just a phone call or email away.

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Published on 4th July 2015 by James Berger.