In the world of virtualized server hosting, an overlap exists between what is known as a virtual dedicated server (VDS) and dedicated hosting. While the terms are often mentioned in the same sentence or the same breath by those in the IT industry, they do have several notable differences that are important for companies looking to both save money and still get the best performance possible.
A dedicated server is just that – one dedicated to a single company, and that uses all of its resources for that client alone. VDS, in comparison, uses virtualization in order to achieve its aims, something has been around in the IT world since the late 1970s. Virtualization allows users to remove data from a local, physical server and provision it onto a machine that can be located anywhere in the world, from across the same city, to across the country, or even across the world. So long as a reliable Internet connection is available, a company can access the data on a virtual server and use the applications it holds as if it were being run from their own local office – with the benefit that any user with the proper permissions can access the network, and from any computer.
In a VDS hosting solution, a physical server is carved up into smaller “virtual” servers”, where each is seen to be separate from all others. Companies using virtualized servers will not see any significant evidence of other tenants on the same physical server. VDS providers use hardware virtualization to carve their VM into multiple machines, all with their own OS. A hypervisor lies between the Operating Systems and the hardware, in order to monitor performance. The current leader in the VDS market is Microsoft’s Hyper-V VDS.
The reason that a Hyper-V VDS and other virtualized hosting providers use the term “dedicated server” in their acronyms is because they are able to function almost as though they were a true, single dedicated hosting options in which there were no other tenants present. They do this by having the hypervisor assign dedicated resources like RAM and storage space to clients, and then monitoring their use. This allows for a far more even flow of information with fewer bottlenecks – much as would be expected from a true, dedicated server.
This is where the primary differences between VDS and dedicated hosting lie. While dedicated hosting severs have only a single tenant, VDS servers will appear to have a single tenant – but are still bound by the same underlying I/O processes and recourse limitations.
A dedicated server is often viewed as the best choice for a company that is looking for a provider who can support them during times of heavy traffic, and with minimal slowdown or bottle-necking. But while performance can be slightly increased in a dedicated hosting over a virtual dedicated hosting option, the price is often significantly higher. This is because as the only tenant on a dedicated server must bear the entire cost of that server. A VDS user, meanwhile, is responsible for only the cost of the portion of the server they are using, and will often find themselves with a far smaller bill for performance that is similar to that of a dedicated host.
VDS servers are able to offer not only quick reboot times in the event of failures, but options for companies to choose whatever operating system they would like to use to run their applications – a company does not have to be bound to Windows or Linux just because that is what the server provider uses. In addition, high-level monitoring of resource use by a hypervisor can help ensure that performance on a VDS is not disrupted any more than is absolutely necessary.
Hardware concerns do still play a role in Hyper-V VDS, as all tenants are subject to the I/O limitations of the physical server, but the hardware partitioning made possible by the hypervisor layer makes it far easier to add storage, RAM or other resources without affecting tenants.
Dedicated hosting can provide a safe and streamlined environment to run software, platforms and applications. But now more than ever, improvements in virtualization mean hosting with a Hyper-V VDS can provide many of the same benefits and performance at a fraction of the cost.
- Hyper-V Explained: Microsoft’s Hypervisor Based Virtualization
- Virtualization with Microsoft Hyper-V
- Virtuozzo vs. Hyper-V: Comparing Container and Hypervisor Virtualization
- A Beginner’s Guide To VPS Hosting: Uses & Advantages
- Virtuozzo OS Level Virtualization VPS Hosting vs. Other Hardware Level Virtualization