Virtual server versus dedicated server: which should your business use?

By Ikenna Nwachukwu
02 Mar, 2021 - 0 Comment(s)

Businesses are conducting more of their processes on digital platforms. And as they do this, they’re generating and processing more data and using up more resources than they’ve ever done before. An important infrastructure that allows this to happen is the server.

You’ve probably already heard about servers. Maybe you even know what they are, and how exactly they help people access and work with web resources. But besides the technical people who work on these things, not many of us know about the different kinds of servers and what types are suitable for various businesses.

Why should you be concerned about this?

Here’s one reason why: servers are indispensable for web or network-based operations. If you have a business that does work online (whether it’s exchanging emails, taking orders from customers, or holding financial information on a cloud application) you are already interacting with servers. The more trustworthy your servers are, the more smoothly these sorts of operations will run.

In this article, we will be going over the server options that businesses have, and finding out what kinds are best for both emerging and established companies.

Let’s begin by explaining (or reminding ourselves) what a server is.

What Is a Server?

A server is a device or machine, e.g. a computer, which receives and acts on requests to process and deliver information to other computers on a network. The network may be the internet, or a local network (like a group of computers in an office or home).

For example, web servers receive search queries generated by internet users and respond by delivering content that’s related to the query to the computers of those users (in the form of a web page for instance).

Users also send servers to upload and download items from the internet. If you have ever searched for something online or downloaded a file from a private office network, you’ve engaged with a server.

When people talk about servers, they may also mean the software that takes on the processing and storing functions associated with the server hardware. 

Virtual Server

The server software is also called a virtual server (because it’s not tangible). Server hardware could have several virtual servers on it, with each one used for a different purpose, or by a different client.

Hosting companies are able to split up hardware into different virtual segments to be used by multiple clients. Some of these can be created to last just a short while (a few hours for instance); they’re called cloud servers. But companies will often want something that’s accessible over several months, or years, perhaps on the basis of a subscription. In such cases, they may go for Virtual Private Networks (VPN) which facilitates a closed network environment accessible only to authorized staff of the client company.

Dedicated Server

A dedicated server is simply full server hardware used by a single client for their own use. There are no partitions, no co-users. If a company gets a dedicated server, they have a whole server infrastructure to themselves.

Firms may choose to rent a dedicated server if they want better all-round performance and greater freedom and flexibility. They can even have a server configured to suit their unique needs.

Virtual Server Versus Dedicated Server: Pros and Cons

Depending on what you want from a server, you may find that one service type meets your needs better than the other. Here are some of the benefits and limitations you’re likely to experience with them.

Virtual Server’s Benefits

1. Virtual servers are generally cheaper than dedicated servers. This is because they are really just segments on larger server hardware.

2. It is relatively easy to create a virtual server. All that’s required is for relevant software to be run, and the server will be activated.

3. Users can scale their server capacity as the need arises. To do this, they just need to acquire more server space.

Virtual Server’s Limitations

1. The restricted size limits the performance levels that users can achieve while working with it.

2. Virtual servers may require more resources and new management tools to operate efficiently. 

3. Users may need new skills to work with a virtual server.

Dedicated Server’s Benefits

1. The client doesn’t have to share a server with other users. As a result, they have greater control over it.

2. Users can have their servers configured or customized as they wish.

3. Dedicated servers are also more powerful and have higher performance scores.

Dedicated Server’s Limitations

1. Dedicated servers are more expensive.

2. There are comparatively limited options for scaling.

3. They also have to be physically connected and configured. This process may take more time and effort, compared to virtual servers.

Which One Should You Choose?

Virtual servers are a preferred option for businesses that want a service that’s tailored for their present needs. They can always ramp up capacity if demand increases. The lower cost also makes this appealing for smaller and mid-sized companies.

Dedicated servers are more favored by companies that are more concerned about performance in the immediate term than about scaling or costs. These tend to be larger companies, with bigger volumes of data to process and greater resources available for running and maintaining a dedicated server.

Businesses should assess their needs before settling for one of these two alternatives.

How Do You Manage Your Server?

Server management is a lot of work. Unless organizations have in-house IT teams that are big and skilled enough to handle it, they will struggle on this front. 

They could opt for managed servers. In this case, the server hosting provider takes on the management of the server on the clients’ behalf. This frees up time and resources for the client and their IT teams to focus on their core business.

Layer3 Cloud provides both virtual and managed servers for private companies and public institutions and manages these on behalf of its clients. If you would like to find out more, you can book a demo with us here.