Defining the Virtual Server
We recently looked at what the cloud infrastructure is all about, including a specific definition for the cloud. We reviewed some of the strategic advantages cloud offers to managed service providers (MSPs) and some of the deployment platforms from which the cloud can be leveraged.
Now, let’s look at a specific piece of cloud infrastructure—the virtual private server, also known as a ‘VPS’, or just ‘virtual server’.
Why Consider a Virtual Server
When a smaller, growing business has on-site IT infrastructure—when all of the computers, networking, databases, e-mail servers, etc. are housed on-premise—a server is the computer where corporate or business resources and data live.
Typically, the server houses business resources that can be accessed by end users, but there is a downside to this. Housing a physical server at your business can actually be a costly proposition. For example, consider these factors:
- A full-time administrator may be required to maintain your server(s)
- Hardware and software upgrades will have to be regularly deployed and implemented
- The business owner incurs extreme potential risk for any security or other cyber-based attacks or breaches that may target on-premise server(s)
Is there an alternative to housing a physical server and bearing the associated expense and risk? Yes, and that alternative is to rely on an infrastructure service provider (ISP). With just a few clicks, you can spin-up, configure and own your own server—virtually. This new server is a VPS.
Benefits of VPS
Through a hypervisor, the operating system and other related software components, which are required to run your virtual private server, are installed with ease. This typically includes the web server software, file transfer protocol (FTP) software and an email server package. It can also include a host of other software applications which are geared specifically toward your business, including backup and recovery software and enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) software.
With a virtual private server, you will incur lower operational costs because you are simply renting server space for a fixed, monthly price. And it is the ISP, not you, who bears ultimate responsibility for the hardware and software maintenance and security protections. You remain the administrator with your own control panel, giving you the look and feel of controlling and owning your own server. However, there is a key difference between using a private server and owning a physical one that is important to note here.
Through specialized software like VMWare, a physical server can be parsed into separate, multiple servers, all hosting diverse applications and data. In other words, your virtual server will typically be only one of many residing on a physical server located at an ISP’s data center. Hence why a VPS is cheaper—because the resources are shared. So… while the cost-savings of a VPS are certainly advantageous, know that using a virtual private server is not without security risks. We will cover these risks, along with virtual server backup, in our next article.