Posts Tagged ‘dedicated server’

What is a Dedicated Server?

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

What is a dedicated server? That’s a relatively easy question to answer but a short answer will only scratch the surface. A dedicated server is a physical server that is installed in a data center, connected to an IP network and used to host applications that are accessed via the web or to process database requests, email, DNS or any other number of tasks.

The thing that differentiates a dedicated server is typically that the full resources of the server are only used by one client, hence the word “dedicated”. This is also referred to as dedicated hosting. An example of how this would not apply would be for shared hosting because while you can have literally hundreds of shared hosting clients on a single dedicated server, those resources are not dedicated to any one particular client and are spread among many clients. The example of running hundreds of shared hosting websites on a single dedicated server goes back to the earlier comment about the short answer only scratching the surface.

Good examples of clients who would require dedicated servers would be clients whose websites have outgrown their shared hosting environment. That is typically a function of CPU and RAM requirements. If you are trying to run large database application on a shared hosting server while 200 other websites are competing for processing power, you will probably see a substantial degradation of service. It will likely still function, but it will also more than likely be very slow and at times even unresponsive. Not to mention that your provider will encourage you to migrate to a dedicated server or to managed hosting if you lack the technical expertise to manage the dedicated server.

What is a dedicated server vs. what is not. Dedicated servers typically imply that you have the technical expertise on staff to manage all of the technical aspects of that server, including security, routine maintenance, updates and many other things. If you do lack those resources, managed hosting would likely be a far better choice for you. While the cost for managed hosting is always more than dedicated, the peace of mind you will receive by knowing that your server is managed by a team of experts is always well worth the additional cost.

So there you have it. The next time someone asks you “What is a Dedicated Server?”, you can now give an answer that makes sense.

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Migrating to Cloud Computing

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Imagine that you could click a few buttons and migrate your environment from a dedicated server to a cloud computing platform. You won’t have to imagine for very long because that’s something that we’re working on right now.

It seems that one of the biggest obstacles for entry into cloud computing is the migration from your old server. We are working hard to find the best way to migrate dedicated servers or managed servers with very little input (or risk) from the end user. That would include migration of your operating system, all installed applications and of course, your precious data.

Testing has gone very well and we are confident we can roll this out in the very near future. At a minimum this provides a mechanism to get you quickly and easily into cloud computing and enjoying all of the benefits while sidestepping the hassles of a typical server migration.

Another area that is of great interest for us is helping clients migrate from server co-location to cloud computing. It’s essentially the same thing as migrating a dedicated server but the benefits and cost savings would be off the charts. We are still in the testing phase but making excellent progress and we expect to push something out to the public very soon. We have already successfully migrated from various platforms and the response from our techs is always the same, jaw-dropping ease and mind numbing efficiency.

Stand by for more news on this exciting development as we continue working hard to bring you the best cloud computing platform available.

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What is Cloud Computing to me?

Monday, July 12th, 2010

When I look at cloud computing, the primary differentiator that keeps jumping out at me is the ability to quickly recover from failure. Since I have a group of servers that host various sites, I can fully understand what the benefits of cloud computing would mean for me.

Going back to the ability to recover quickly from a failure, let’s look at the tried and trusted method of recovering from the failure of a dedicated server. Let me preface this by saying that dedicated servers have proven to be an excellent platform for hosting sites both large and small. They give you complete control, you have 100% of the resources of the server available to you and you are completely isolated from other websites. However in the event of a failure, the restoration process can be tedious at best. In a perfect world your dedicated server would have a raid configuration and if you lost a hard drive, the system would automatically fail-over to the 2nd drive and notify you that the other drive had failed and needs replacement. This provides the opportunity to swap the drive in a very controlled manner and during a maintenance window. The restore process is fairly straightforward and has been done thousands upon thousands of times by various providers with varying degrees of success depending upon conditions. Backup and restore can be a tricky process and often times we are at the mercy of Companies who develop the software and hardware for backup systems.

Initially the problem must be identified and in this case let’s assume that it is a failed primary hard drive. The server has to be powered down and the failed hard drive has to be swapped. This can take go quickly or slowly depending on various circumstances and conditions. Then the server has to be brought online and the restore process from the backup systems is initiated. This step is relatively quick and provided there are no errors along the way the restore process should begin without incident. This is where it gets tricky though because depending on how much data you have, the restore and can either finish quickly or take a very long time. If you have a simple Linux server with a few gigs of data, that should restore very quickly. However if you have for example a Windows server running SQL Server and you have several terabytes of data to be restored, that might take a while. The real problem with this is that your server is down during the restore process and will be unavailable for your clients to access until it’s completed and the server has gone through a final reboot and system check. This is where cloud computing kills the dedicated server in my opinion.

Now let me outline the restore process for cloud computing. We refer to the backups in cloud computing as snapshots. The reason for this is that a normal backup typically does either a file by file or block by block backup of the entire hard drive or drives. Not only does this take a while but the format of those files which are more than likely highly compressed, are specific to your backup system and are in the format that your system requires to perform a successful restore. A snapshot on the other hand is literally just that, it’s like a photograph was taken of your hard drive in its current state and moved to a storage device. That snapshot is not a highly compressed and highly modified version of your data and operating system, it is a fully functioning duplicate that in the event of a primary failure, can simply be booted up. So the restore process is reduced from a series of steps that require lots of manual intervention and maybe even a technician to pull your server and do physical work on the server, to you simply clicking a button that says  “restore this snapshot”. Let me make sure that you understand this because even though this is an incredibly simple concept, people often times still don’t get it. So the system takes a snapshot of your cloud computing environment and instantly stores that snapshot on a storage device. When the system fails for whatever reason whether it is hacked beyond recognition, an angry ex employee went in and deleted all of your content or whatever the case may be,  you instruct the system to restore whichever snapshot you want and all it does his boot up that snapshot and your environment is restored. How cool is that.!

The other benefits of cloud computing are very obvious but the ability to recover quickly and completely from any type of failure is what really jumps out at me. Cloud Computing is still in its infancy but the writing is on the wall, the upside is crystal clear and I predict that eventually everyone will hop on the cloud.

~ Till next time

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Coming Soon To 1-800-HOSTING

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

We have some exciting changes coming soon to www.800hosting.com.

We have been working to bring back the ability to configure servers and add-on services on our web site, along with the ability to place orders online.  We removed this function a couple years ago from the previous web site and are very excited to return this convenience to our online shoppers.  1-800-HOSTING visitors will easily find the base server configuration that most closely matches their needs, modify it to their precise specifications, and place their orders online. (more…)

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