For companies requiring high-performance processing and large storage, a dedicated server is an excellent option. However, these super powerful machines are incredibly expensive to purchase and require experience to manage them in-house.
Today, a far more affordable solution and one which can reduce the workload burden on IT teams, is to opt for a hosted dedicated server. Here we discuss what you should look for in a dedicated server hosting solution.
Why choose hosting over purchasing?
Dedicated servers are top-of-the-range machines that don’t come cheaply. Enterprise-class models can cost many thousands of pounds, which can put a huge dent in any company’s IT budget. That’s a lot of money for a server that, in a few years’ time, will have been superseded by newer and better technology. Of course, owning a dedicated server is only the start. You’ll also need to pay for its power, cooling, security and maintenance.
Hosting is a better option for many companies because you still get the high-powered machine but pay a more manageable monthly hosting fee rather than spending significant capital expenditure. This also means you won’t be stuck with your server when better technology comes along, as you can simply upgrade. What’s more, with hosting, the power, cooling, security and maintenance are all included in the plan.
Managed dedicated server hosting
The first thing you should look for in a dedicated server solution is managed hosting. Quite simply, this means that the service provider will undertake the server administration tasks for you. Aside from making sure your server is in good working order and remains online, they’ll also take care of operating system updates and security patching. As a result, the burden on IT staff is reduced, enabling them to focus on more important tasks.
The better hosting providers, however, will offer even more. For example, if you inform them of the server’s role and the software you are going to use, they’ll provide application optimisation to ensure the server delivers the best performance for your needs.
Additionally, they’ll use advanced proactive monitoring to constantly check the health and performance of your dedicated server so that it continues to perform at its best.
Customising your server
When it comes to storage capacity and processing power, every company will have different needs. There is no point paying for resources you will never need or getting a server that falls short of requirements. A good service provider will offer a range of off-the-shelf servers and, if you need something different, will give you the option to build your own customised model, letting you choose its CPU cores, memory, disk and network connectivity options.
The technology inside dedicated servers is constantly being upgraded by manufacturers. Every year, we see better CPUs, SSDs, DDR and so forth. The newer the technology, the more you can do with it and the better you can take on your competitors. A good host will provide new technology, like the latest Intel Xeon processors, DDR4 and high-speed SSD storage and will regularly invest in new machines so that you can take advantage of the performance they offer and never fall behind your rivals.
If you eventually need to scale up to a bigger solution, a good provider will help you migrate to your new hardware or give you the option to scale horizontally through clustering or load balancing.
Your server, your choice
A managed dedicated server solution should provide you with the same control over your server as you would if you had bought it outright. This includes having full root SSH / RDP access, the freedom to pick a Linux or Windows server and a choice of operating systems and control panels. On the subject of control panels, these should include both Plesk and cPanel/WHM, the industry leaders that so many companies rely on.
Security and business continuity
Security is of immense importance to all companies, and for dedicated server users, you should expect to find that your machine is pre-configured by your provider with a software-based firewall, intrusion detection and prevention, automatic IP blocking, anti-malware and application firewall.
Top-level providers will also offer the option of upgrading to the next-gen FortiGate firewall. While this may increase the monthly cost, FortiGate is the most advanced firewall around and well worth the upgrade.
Backup solutions are an intrinsic element of security management, and a good host will offer a solution that is fit for digital companies, such as the R1Soft CDP backup package. This not only allows users to schedule automated backups at the frequency they require; it also encrypts backups and checks them for integrity to ensure they will restore effectively if needed.
24/7 technical support
No business is without its IT challenges and the support of a good hosting provider can be invaluable in overcoming issues. For this reason, it is essential that 24/7 technical support comes included in your dedicated server hosting package. Choosing the right host means that you have swift access to qualified and experienced technicians, all day, every day, regardless of what the problem is.
Dedicated servers can provide awesome performance for your business applications, but their cost and management requirement can be obstacles to companies wishing to acquire them. These obstacles can be overcome by choosing managed dedicated server hosting. Hopefully, the points discussed here will help you find the right provider for your dedicated server.
For more information visit our Managed Dedicated Servers page.