Physical vs. Virtual Servers: How to Choose the Right One
In today's technology-intensive environment, no business can think of having a network or IT-related infrastructure without installing a server. However, deciding between physical and virtual servers isn't a simple choice due to the complex requirements of businesses and the factors associated with each option.
Looking to find out whether a physical or virtual server will be the right choice for you? Let's discuss the pros and cons of both physical and virtual servers, which hopefully towards the end can help you make the daunting task of choosing the best one easier for you.
Physical servers, also known as dedicated servers, are computing machines on which data is stored and read. These machines are equipped with a specialised operating system that has the capability to share the resources as per the request of client machines. They are placed in a server room or in any other colocation facility (data centre) maintained by third-party vendors. Physical servers are mostly owned, managed and regularly maintained by dedicated IT teams at companies. A few common examples of physical servers are the file server, print server, applications server, and email server.
Pros of Physical Servers
IT teams have access to a dedicated server resource 24/7 all the year round. This can prove to be advantageous for businesses with high demand or critical operations.
Physical servers can be placed at any preferred location, whether onsite or at a colocation centre.
They can be completely customised and configured as per the specifications and business requirements.
Cons of Physical Servers
Physical servers are associated with relatively high costs of purchase, maintenance, and replacements in case of hardware failure.
The responsibilities of server setup, configuration, and maintenance on a continual basis have to be undertaken by the internal IT team.
In case of difficulty with configuration or repairs, expert help of IT support may be required.
Once the maximum workload on a server is reached, it may not be easy to scale storage as per the requirements without replacing the hardware.
As is the case with all kind of physical machines, these servers require physical or colocation space.
Virtual servers, also known as VPS or virtual machines, are designed to mimic the functionalities of dedicated servers. Virtual servers are set up on one server, and can easily replace dedicated servers when the need of having multiple servers arises. The act of placing multiple "virtual servers" on physical equipment is called virtualisation. Virtualisation allows physical server resources to be split between multiple workloads and offers maximum efficiency in terms of performance and cost savings. Server virtualisation is usually used in cloud-based environments, or on servers that are owned, maintained, and located off-site. Some of the most common approach organisations can take to switch to virtualisation is by hiring a hosting vendor who offers secure cloud services.
Pros of Virtual Servers
Upfront costs are less compared to the dedicated servers since there are no requirements to purchase hardware.
Lifetime costs on configuration and maintenance are also potentially lower.
Expert assistance is available for setup, configuration, maintenance and software licenses.
Virtual servers reduce the need for an in-house IT-team.
They increase workload efficiency through consolidation.
Cons of Virtual Servers
Virtual servers have higher recurring monthly costs, as compared to a high upfront cost associated with physical servers.
There may be issues related to application compatibility that would require assistance from knowledgeable vendors.
Upgrading the agreement plan in small increments may not be possible as that largely depends on individual vendor policies and service level agreements (SLAs) they offer.
You can no longer be in full control of your physical server and the applications running on them.
Which Type of Server is Right for My Business?
A physical server delivers 10% to 20% more than a virtual server, and at the same time costs 10% to 20% less. There are many organizations using a hybrid approach these days, which is nothing but using a combination of both physical and virtual servers. This helps them enjoy the best of both the worlds. However, if you would still like to choose between the two instead of going for the hybrid solution, it is important for you to understand that the final decision would largely depend on a number of factors, including the budget, projected growth in workload, data type, resources, information security, and space control, among many others.
The Final Word
If you are looking for server solutions in Brisbane, whether it is a file server, print server, application server, email server or virtual server solutions, contact us for the best advice that you will find on what server will be the best for you and your business. Good luck!