There will always be a group of people in the world that are claiming ‘Things are dead.’ In the world of web hosting, we’ve seen a migration from physical web hosting solutions in the form of dedicated server hosting to virtual hosting solutions, be it on clouds or on virtual web hosting services. While the virtualization of web hosting solutions offers a wide range of benefits, it isn’t fair to say that the need for physical servers are dead. Partly because these clouds and virtual hosting services use dedicated physical servers themselves. Additionally, some programs or operations need to run on a server that is physically at the location. Physical servers aren’t dead, they just have a different place in this world.
Making the choice between investing in a physical or virtual server solution
This will depend on the operational requirements that your system will need. There are some operations that require physical servers, such as the items listed below.
Anything that your physical environment depends on
If your physical environment is dependent on the data exchange from the server, it is best to invest in a server that will be stored physically at the location. The reason being is should there be an issue with the data exchange; the problem will need to be isolated with the machine and its host. If the machine and host is stored virtually, then you will need to contact your hosting provider every time an issue arises.
Anything that requires physical hardware
If you are running operations or technology that requires hardware such as a dongle, then you will need to invest into a physical server. There are some programs that you may be running that requires physical hardware. You may be restricted by the license agreement that requires the piece of hardware in order for the program to run properly. This may be the case with automated heating or security systems.
Applications and operating systems with license support agreements that don’t support virtualization
As it says on the tin, some businesses will not offer you support if you aren’t running their programs or applications on a physical server. Some businesses do chance it and run their programs virtually. However, if the program or application is critical to your business, it isn’t worth taking the risk.
Anything that needs to be secured
Even though virtual servers offer a strong degree of security, there is still more of a security risk compared to having a physical server. Security permissions can be setup on virtual systems to restrict the level of control. However, if the personnel has access to the host systems, they can still use workaround ways that can threaten your server’s security, such as shutting down the server.
If you are running something that is dependent on time, make sure it is on a physical server
Time synchronization does work in a virtual environment. However, issues can arise. Mistakes can occur with the incorrect setup of clocks and standardized time across the systems that can lead to incorrect syncing, the wrong display of time or the inability for the virtual systems to sync together properly. If the system needs to have the correct time, it is better to keep it on a physical server.
If you aren’t bound by the physical limitations, you can invest in a private server at an inexpensive price. The options that are now available with hosting solutions are incredibly more affordable nowadays. It really depends on the hosting requirements that you need for your web content. In a way, it is still necessary to have dedicated server hosting that can store your web content, however the need for a physical server at your location to deliver the content isn’t as absolute as it once was historically. Consult with an expert to find out what solutions are optimal for your business.