A question commonly asked in internet hosting forums concerns the switch from a regular shared hosting platform, to a dearer dedicated server solution.
For the needs of completeness it needs to be noted that there’s an interim step between the 2, a Virtual Private Server (VPS). While this solution could be very similar in characteristics (albeit less powerful) to the dedicated server solution this article assumes that a VPS is not an acceptable solution for either security or performance reasons.
What follows is quite a lot of key areas that you must think about when considering the move. Hopefully there’ll be a minimum of one in every of them that makes you think about a subject you hadn’t considered before and ends in you making a more informed decision if and while you make the proverbial leap to a dedicated server.
It ought to be noted that gaining exclusive rights to a physical server normally comes with significant cost. Typically a bunch can sell a server many times over to hundreds (or thousands) of clients; selling the identical spec server to one client therefore will always be less profitable to the provider, and so the fee relative to the client is much higher. The magnitude of this difference is dependent upon the specification of the server, the environment through which it’s housed and the extra resources that come included with it, for instance bandwidth, I.P. addresses and support.
There was a comparatively recent trend towards cheap dedicated servers lately. Personally I believe it is worth bearing in mind the old adage “You get what you pay for”. Bargain basement server companies are making cuts SOMEWHERE to cut costs. That you must know where, or if they will charge you for “extras” that other companies include.
In certain businesses, it is imperative that a response is generated within a certain timeframe, or that the system operates even during peak periods. In case your site responds slowly would your visitors be adversely affected? Performance is the most common reason for considering the move to a dedicated server yet people consistently overlook the all important detail.
How high a spec server are you actually getting for your money? As of going to print (Mid 2009) you need to be expecting Dual Quad Core (8 Core) 2.5 GHz CPU’s or greater, at the very least 4 Gig of RAM and SAS hard drives. Do not buy legacy stock! Old equipment is a foul place to begin, especially in case you intend on getting just a few years use out of your server.
If you’re moving to dedicated hardware, you wish to eliminate as many single points of failure as possible. Search for RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) hard drives; RAID 1 is good for the Operating System (OS) and databases, and RAID 5, 6 or 50 is ideal for files. Dual power inputs, from separate battery backed-up UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supplies) provides continuity in case of a black-out or power spike on one phase.
The most typical hardware component to fail is the Network Interface Card (NIC).
Does your server have greater than 1?
Are you single or multi-homed to the network, and the Internet?
How over-subscribed is the datacentre’s bandwidth?
A word of warning here; a well-liked tactic, especially amongst the cheaper hosts, is to provision hardware that isn’t able to fully realizing its potential. For example, 100Mbps unmetered bandwidth servers often come with a single SATA hard disk or a weka CPU or small amounts of RAM that cannot actually fill the connection!
The power to make your individual choices might be the second hottest reason for choosing to go dedicated; your own server gives you autonomy. You probably have specific operating system requirements, kernel tweaks, custom libraries, bespoke software applications or plug-ins it is likely that a shared server environment will decelerate or forbid deployment of these. Make sure you check that you’ve got full root access and can run the server how you need to before committing.
Data protection concerns are the third commonest reason for dedicated server purchases. How valuable is your data? If you have personal or business sensitive data that will damage your brand or reputation if leaked then a dedicated server offers significant benefits. It’s totally rare but servers could be root compromised through another users account. In these cases the hacker can get all the information off the machine. If it’s your server, with only your website on it then you possibly can have all however the essential ports on the machine shut down, restrict access by IP and know that you are the just one on the server. Some providers will have the ability to offer you a dedicated hardware firewall, often for additional cost, which supplies you further piece of mind.
Do not take out a contract with any company that doesn’t offer a full Service Level Agreement (SLA) to cover outages and problem resolution.
An example SLA might include:-
A technical support response, often guaranteed within a certain timeframe.
A hardware replacement policy; whose responsibility is it if something breaks and wishes replacing? How long will it take?
Remote reboot, again possibly with a time guarantee.
Connectivity to both the network and the Internet is commonly guaranteed in % availability, search for at the least “4 nines” (99.99%) uptime, do not buy into 100% uptime, if something’s too good to be true…
Look for a company that is willing to be held accountable for the standard of service they supply, you should know that they are serious about keeping your server running.
In summary, weigh up carefully whether the necessity to move to a dedicated server is warranted either on the grounds of performance, flexibility or security (or some or all of those reasons). Naturally it has to make financial sense too, but when it does then it’s highly likely you won’t look back provided you pay close attention to the hardware and company you are committing to. Treat the process like selecting a partner, and also you and your server will have many happy days and long nights together! Author Box Nick V Webb has 1 articles online
Krystal Hosting are uk dedicated servers specialists. For more information visit Krystal Website hosting
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