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Virtual server vs Physical server: Which is best?

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Choosing whether to have a virtual server or a physical one is a difficult decision for businesses, due to the variety of benefits and disadvantages attached to each option and the complexity of business requirements.

Today’s IT management are assigned to find the most cost-effective option to process and store data, which reduces the disk to serious data damage and takes into consideration the businesses treatment of data, but this can be a tricky decision due to the pros and cons of each server.

The pros and cons of physical servers

The benefits of a physical server is that it can be located in an arm’s reach of your office, meaning you can full access to it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. This is an advantage for those running business-critical operations.

As a physical server is placed in sight, you are able to customise and configure the server to how you would like, including specific specifications and business requirements.

However, physical servers have a relatively high cost. As you or your IT staff are responsible for the maintenance and repairs to the server, this can be both costly and inconvenient, and you may need to hire a contractor to this for you.

You will also have to ensure you keep your server up to date in order to give your data the most effective data protection. Once you have reached the maximum workload for your server, it will be difficult to scale storage in small boosts, as you own the hardware.

The pros and cons of virtual servers

The most common way of adopting a virtual server is hiring a vendor who offers secure cloud computing, adding virtual servers onto physical equipment. This means your data has more storage room whilst also cutting costs, just one of the benefits of virtual servers.

Virtual servers are located offsite and there is no need to buy hardware, making it a more cost-effective choice. As virtual servers are setup and maintained by a third party, it reduces the time your IT team has to dedicate to the server and increases their workload efficiency.

You also have access to expert advice and information regarding your server, as your vendor will have specialists on hand to deal with security threats such as hackers and viruses, giving you the best quality of protection for your network security.

Virtual servers also have a reduced environmental footprint due to the shared workloads. However, using a virtual server means you are no longer independently in control of your server and the applications that run on it.

Your vendor will usually set up a service level agreement (SLA), which is a contract between the contractor and service provider, to outline the level of service you expect from them. Vendors often have policies in place and sometimes fail to be co-operative when it comes to your contract agreement.

But with all the pros and cons laid out on the table, how do you know which is best for your business?

Andy Hinxman, managing director of Keybridge IT said: “We believe a virtual server is best given that it is better for DR and often these are in the cloud – back up is often included in the cost, and if not, usually costs pennies.

“Physical servers are subject to the environment and the onus is on you to maintain it, i.e. air con, health and safety, etc. Whereas with virtual servers, provided it is not an in-house virtual server, this is included in the costs and of course it is maintained for you in an environment fit for servers, such as a datacentre.”

However, Albie Attias, managing director at King of Servers says virtual serves are best used alongside physical ones.

He said: “The idea behind virtual servers is to expand upon and optimise physical servers. It should not necessarily be viewed as ‘virtual server vs. physical server’, but rather ‘how can I improve my network’s current performance and capacity without buying more hardware?’

“Virtual servers should be used to complement physical servers so that they have more processing power, memory and faster delivery of information. For this reason, both types of servers are critical to organisations.”




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Tags: IT Transformation, Technology