Three reasons why your in-house servers could be putting your business at risk

141216----3reasons If you’re continuing to host your servers in-house, you could be putting your business’ future on the line. Why not spread the risk?

Do you have a plan for hardware failure?

Yes, you’ve invested significantly in the technology you’re using, and the environment you’re keeping it in, but with your application running over just one server – where’s your continuity plan? You may even have insurance to protect the hardware, but when the server blows up and your business systems go down – have you calculated the cost to your business in terms of day to day operations?

The truth is, you can only ensure business continuity if you have a failover system in place – and that means more than doubling an already large IT bill. Most businesses can’t afford that level of infrastructure which is precisely why buying in to a third party’s hosting network provides a much more reliable solution.

What happens in the event of disaster?

Hardware failure is one risk, but what about fire, flood or theft? As a business, you’re more than likely to have insurance to cover such events but again, think about the issue of continuity. Your insurance will pay up – eventually – but what happens in the meantime? With your server onsite and eliminated by the disaster, your business is off-line and off the radar for as long as it takes you to get up and running again. And you’ll be starting from scratch.

Outsourcing server hosting means all your data, processes and operating systems are stored remotely, meaning the whole backbone of your business is totally unaffected by any local disaster. In fact, you could be up and running again in just five minutes, via a laptop and wifi connection. Nothing gives your business a better Disaster Recovery solution than that.

How secure is your backup?

Backup is essential to protect from both hardware and software failures, infection or major disasters – but it needs to be a secure system that takes the back-up copies off site. Many small businesses just aren’t equipped to put in a safe enough system to ensure they’re not at risk.

Over half of businesses that lose data, never recover. If you’re backing up to disc – what if the discs are lost or corrupted?

If you’re using external hard drives – where are these being stored? Do you have members of staff taking backup drives or discs home with them for safekeeping? If they are stored in the office, you’re no safer in case of major disaster – yet if they leave the office at all, how secure are they during transportation?

New laws were passed recently in the UK putting any business – no matter how small – at risk of a £500,000 fine for data breaches. No business wants to find itself subject of unfavourable press coverage involving lost data.

Hosting your servers externally automatically moves your data offsite, in total security. What’s more, choose a good system and you’ll find data backup to a second off-site location is part of the hosting package. Not only can server hosting keep your business operating systems available, but some solutions will automatically back up data for you too. It means that pay-as-you-go price tag is doing two jobs for you.

We hope you found this useful. If you have any questions or would like further information on how your business can benefit hosting with intrahost, please visit our website intrahost.co.uk or call us today on 0800 321 3812.

Cloud Servers vs Dedicated Servers

Are you considering a move to the cloud? Presenting many benefits, cloud hosting seems an obvious choice for your hosting requirements. Sharing the resources of many servers, it offers a dynamic and highly scalable form of hosting that will grow with your business. However, there are many types of cloud and traditional dedicated hosting solutions available. Careful consideration should be given to each and every one. Both cloud and dedicated server hosting have unique features and benefits and the correct match between technology and business objectives is critical to gaining competitive edge.CloudServers

The cloud offers the ideal hosting solution for many businesses, offering high resilience and flexibility. For maximum performance, a dedicated server is still the most suitable option, safeguarding and improving your business's online presence.

Many see cloud hosting as a cheaper alternative to dedicated servers, however, this depends upon the requirements of your business.

Your business can also achieve benefits from both hosting solutions, by combining cloud and dedicated servers to create a bespoke hybrid solution.

Whether you choose public or private cloud, dedicated servers or a hybrid hosting solution, you can rest assured that with us you will benefit from increased performance, speed and support. We take time to understand your needs and can help you through the buying process. Alternatively if you know what you want, simply place your order online via our simple purchase process and we’ll get you up and running in no time!

We would recommend Dedicated Servers if:

  • You need a lot of disk storage (dedicated server storage is cheaper than cloud server & web server storage)
  • You need a lot of CPU/Processor power (dedicated server processor power is cheaper than cloud server & web server CPU cores)
  • You don't need high-availability (if the motherboard fails in your server, it may take several hours to replace the motherboard or transfer your data to a new server)

We would recommend Cloud Servers if:

  • You need to deploy your website quickly
  • You need to be able to restore from backups quickly
  • You need backups included for free
  • You need minimum downtime for memory and storage upgrades
  • You need to be able to reboot through a control panel
  • You need to be able to re-image your server through a control panel
  • You require server and disk resilience (if a server or disk or even an entire SAN fails on our cloud platform, your website will still continue to run)
  • You do not require lots of disk storage, memory or CPU (resources on a cloud platform tend to be more costly than with a dedicated server)

Whatever your requirements, no matter how complex, we can provide an ideal hosting infrastructure to meet them. With 24x7 monitoring and support as well as ISO27001 compliant data centres you can sleep easy when using intrahost.

Call us today on 0800 321 3812 to see how easy and cost-effective it would be to migrate your current hosting infrastructure to intrahost!

>>> Find out more about out Cloud Servers HERE

Top Ten Tips for: Working from Home with Cloud Computing

More businesses are starting to talk about remote working. Call it working from home, call it being switched on all the time it’s becoming a more attractive possibility for companies and workers thanks to Cloud Computing. It might mean having staff log-in from a home office, switching on and feeding into a report or conversation from a coffee shop or hotel or being able to work with a team or on a project in another city or country. There are real benefits in terms of helping employees create a better work/life balance, helping to increase productivity (no more long chats about telly at the water-cooler) as well as reducing costs.

It is a big step, though, and it promotes a fundamental shift in how we do business as well as how we view working. Gone are the days when “being at work” meant sitting in-front of a computer beavering away from 9 am to 5pm. For many it does still mean this but for others it can include using a smartphone, working flexible hours or checking in via Skype.

So why is it possible? Instead of having data stored in a hardware server in the office that everyone needs to be logged in and connected to the Cloud is removing this geographical tether. Storing business information in the Cloud means you don’t have to be sitting at your desk to work. Instead you can access reports, spreadsheets, documents or images from anywhere using any device. That same information is stored in a server off-site. Whether you opt for a Cloud Server, Virtual or Dedicated Server it means you can access the same information using  a laptop, smartphone or even a tablet, potentially.

If remote working using Cloud Computing is something you want to think about, here are Intrahost’s top tips:

1. The keyword for remote working is flexibility and that’s at the heart of the approach. When you’re looking into the deal you need to think about the kind of connection you’re looking for and what will suit your business best. There might be a lot of documents and data that each staff member needs to access, or it might just need to be communication that you need to consider. Hosted Exchange means you can access email, shared contacts, calendars and tasks with up to ten aliases per mailbox. It’s a simple solution to helping to keep every member of the team connected wherever they are. There is also ‘push’ mobile technology meaning with it can work on smartphones.

2. Don’t feel you have to invest in a whole new kit for every member of the team. If you’re asking staff to work from home then there may need to be a reasonable investment in technology but there’s no need to write a blank cheque. One of the most attractive features of migrating to Cloud Computing is saving money. You don’t have to pay for the upkeep of a vast and bulky server in your office, you don’t need the staff to monitor and maintain it and you don’t need to invest in regular updates. There’s little point spending all of the saved cash on expensive kit for your team to enable them to work from home. Only spend what you really need. Does everyone need a new Blackberry, really?

3. Security is a big issue for those looking into remote working and understandably so. They want to make sure that, while staff can access business data from wherever they are simultaneously there can be no unauthorised network access. Many believe that the Cloud will prompt businesses to think more carefully about how they store their data. Cloud Computing is just as secure as having a hardware based option. Providers like Intrahost employ techniques to ensure both physical and network security. The building where the servers are kept has a range of features like key fob access and CCTV to make sure there are no unauthorised attempts to access data. On the network firewalls are used along with multi-layered authentication to prevent spam, threats and viruses from damaging or accessing information.

4. If you’re a business looking into the possibility of remote working for your staff then you need to think about how you’re going to manage it. It has real benefits for employees in terms of childcare solutions and getting a better balance but you have to think about it from a company perspective. Does every member of staff need to work remotely? It might not suit everyone and there could be individuals who know they won’t be as productive working from home as they would be in an office. Flexibility is about choice. Similarly it may feed in to how you hire new members of staff. Trust is important and you’ll need to think of how you’ll monitor hours and activity. Understanding the difference it will make along with the benefits will help you shape the impact it will have on you and your company. If you’re the kind of manager that simply doesn’t think staff will work out of the office then possibly it’s not for you. But if you do then work out who needs access to what and how it might be implemented.

5. If you’re an individual, say a web designer or a graphic designer then remote working allows you to set-up your own business without the risk of start-up costs. You get low overheads and can work for clients anywhere in the world from your home office or the local coffee shop. It makes it easier for you to collaborate on projects, to grow your business without being limited by geography. Yet you do have things to think about; branding and consistency for one is important, as well as how you manage and report your won hours and when you’re online. Remote working is a relatively new phenomenon so it’s important to manage the process carefully and be able to communicate clearly and effectively to alleviate any concerns.

6. Reporting becomes more important when employees are working remotely. You don’t have the benefit of being able to catch up with colleagues over the top of your computer. You’ll need to set-up a series of communication tools, whether it’s weekly reporting or daily. You need to keep track of where everyone is up to and how a particular project is progressing. There are various applications you can use for this and Hosted SharePoint is just one.

7. Don’t get sold on having every application for your business. The real strength of Cloud Computing is that you pick and choose what you need and the service that suits your business. If remote working allows you to be more flexible and streamlined then don’t be taken in by someone selling you tools that aren’t in your to-do list. It should be an add-on, not completely re-inventing the nuts and bolts of the work you do day to day.

8. Does remote working mean that you don’t need an office? We’ve already discussed that it might not be for everyone. The idea of flexibility could be doing a range of different hours, rather than everyone working from home all the time. Many companies find that they still like having a business address and you might still need a space for meetings or client presentations.

9. Embrace the idea of innovation. Remote working is all about freeing up time so you have to think about how that extra time could benefit your business. How about having an ideas exchange? Staff can use an extra hour that’s not being spent in the commute to think about different ways to expand, diversify or develop their work and the business.

10. Know when to switch off. Working from home is great in terms of improving a work/life balance but it does mean your office is in your home. Also if you can access all your business information on a smartphone or laptop then it can be easy to start checking emails or finishing reports in the evening or over the weekend. Inevitably there will always be projects that need a bit of overtime but don’t run the risk of working long hours consistently. Know when to turn it off and take some time off.

Work from Home with Cloud Computing and Cloud Servers

The five developments that lead to the Cloud

We’re living amidst the greatest technological age since the industrial revolution. The world wide web, broadband, Wi-Fi and cloud computing; everything is designed to help us access information and communicate faster, more securely and at a cheaper cost.

Cloud Computing is proving to be one of the biggest changes to happen in business since the arrival of the PC. It’s shifting how we work, as well as when. Whether we opt for a Cloud Server or a Dedicated Server, whether we’re an SME or a an entrepreneur, being able to work from a variety of mobile devices and still access the same data we would sitting at our desk is a game changer.

So what are the changes that have lead to the arrival of the Cloud? Here’s our top five.

1. Fibre Optic Cables

We want everything faster and we want everything cheaper. Fibre optic cables have made the internet so fast that you barely have to think about a web page and it pops up. OK, that might be a little over board but you know what we mean. There’s no lag time, and whether it’s a website or video, fibre optic means it’s up in a flash (no pun intended). Admittedly it’s reliant on location but it’s fast becoming the norm. Think of all the cloud computing sites that store huge amounts of data that wouldn’t have been around if fibre optic didn’t make it possible. Netflix is one, as well as services like DropBox. It makes it easier to handle large file sizes without any drop in service, a principle at the heart of cloud computing.

2. Silicon Valley

Having an industry working hard in one place with one goal in mind has been the fuel driving the technological revolution. Steve Jobs is very much the poster boy. A melting pot of innovation, turning great ideas into reality has made the time between products getting from the drawing board to the shelf much shorter. Silicon Valley is about sharing ideas and practices. The Cloud is built on their very idea, the idea of collaboration no matter where you are. The spirit of Silicon Valley has infused how the Cloud is adopted.

3. Mobile Devices

There are those of us who are old enough to remember when, if you arranged to meet someone, you had to be there at the agreed time and place or you’d miss each other. No chance to text and apologise for running late. If you were stood up you were stood up. The growth in mobile devices has fundamentally changed how we communicate and interact with each other. It also means each of us has the Cloud in our pocket. As mobile devices became increasingly popular we decided we didn’t want any change in experience. So we demanded that we be able to access the same emails, the same documents and the same files and folders no matter the device we were working on. That has heralded the embrace of the Cloud and is what is driving the change in working practice.

4. The Web

When Tim Berners-Lee took part in the Olympics Opening Ceremony he tweeted what was his guiding principle for the World Wide Web; “This is for everyone”. The Internet is the ultimate democracy with no respect for geography, time or activity. It is everywhere and anywhere. It seems somewhat obvious to say you wouldn’t have cloud computing without the internet yet it is its inclusivity that the two share. Inviting people to work together, no matter their location, and welcoming them onto your cloud server to access data is made possible not just because of the internet but also because of how we use it. It is about sharing information.

5. The recession

The downturn in the economy has much to answer for but not all of it is negative. More and more people are setting up on their own. They might be creative like web developers or graphic designers or they might be accountants or lawyers. There is a spirit of entrepreneurship that the government hopes will help steer the country out of recession. The truth is that many of those people who have decided to set themselves up independently might find it difficult to do so without the cloud. Its low overheads without dropping any levels of service mean it’s easy to remain professional and continue to behave as a big multi-national without having to layout money on premises or staff. The flexibility it offers mean people who have been made redundant or been the victim of down-sizing can forge their own corner of the world without being priced out of the market.

Why not contact us at @IntrahostLtd and tell us what you think have been the biggest shifts to help bring about Cloud Computing.

How the Cloud is more cost-effective (Part 3 of 3)

In the third in our series of blog posts examining how Cloud Computing is impacting on business we look at costs. The cost-effectiveness of using the Cloud is usually the first thing discussed as a benefit for the move. As a provider of a range of cloud based technology, Intrahost is in a unique position to examine the impact being able to cut costs is having on the ability of companies to grow and expand. Fastrack Software approached Intrahost because they wanted to generate more sales opportunities by offering software and training solutions for customers. As an independent software vendor providing training solutions for on-demand services for customers, that was secure and meant clients could arrange in-house training through a specially devised piece of technology would offer a chance of growth.

However, Fastrack wanted to be able to invest in new software, without investing in new staff. A higher wage bill would not only dent the opportunity for expansion, it could also remove the need for them to offer a cost-effective solution. They wanted a strategy that could help keep costs down to savings could be passed on to clients.

Intrahost used its Software as a Service (SaaS model) that provided a complete on-demand solution that guaranteed 100% availability for multiple customers. Fastrack would be able to offer a training solution for clients that was safe, secure and allowed clients to offer accounts and training to several members of staff at the same time. The SaaS solution is an end to end operational support platform utilising dedicated servers. It allows multiple users to access the software, at any time. It means clients across the globe can have the same guarantee of reliability, availability and scalability. It is also quick to deploy meaning Fastrack could offer the new service quickly and start reaping the benefits sooner rather than later.

The cost implications of Cloud Computing might not be the most important reason to sign up, but they are an increasingly popular focus for customers who want to be able to expand but might not have the potential for a huge investment and want to secure a credible income strand that works without an immediate outlay. When you have a strategy for growth you want it to work quickly and effectively, rather than wait a few weeks. A solution that is immediate means the impact can be felt straight away.

 

Never settle for poor service

Have you ever felt like you’ve been sold something you don’t need? Insurance on a computer that isn’t worth the paper it’s written on; addons that inflate the price; services you’re not convinced you’re ever going to need, let alone use.

Frustrating, isn’t it?

There’s a school of thought that when you’re pocket feels a bit squeezed you want to choose a product and provider that offers good value. You don’t want to be led along, you want to get the benefit of what you pay for.

Intrahost understands the importance of flexibility and packages that are designed for each individual user. It forms part of our customer service policy.

When someone comes to us asking about cloud servers and hosting in general we know it’s likely they’ve already done some research and had even a brief look into what’s on offer. Making a change in how you store your data, or whether you are going to host your own or other websites in a different way involves looking at different deals and weighing up the cost, effectiveness and the impact it will have on you.

Choosing a provider is different. You want them to understand why you’re looking to change and what your requirements are. Customer service feeds into every part of that relationship, from browsing the website for the first time, having an initial chat and getting a quote, as well as the on-going service you receive if you decide to sign up.

So what does Intrahost offer?

There is no compulsory long term contract. Getting tied into a deal that you have to continue to pay for even when you’ve realised it isn’t right for you is just plain bad service. Intrahost offers monthly deals so both sides can continue to monitor the deal and what you get, as well as how it is working out. There is a 30 day money back guarantee so you don’t feel you’re locked into a service.

No technology is foolproof and sometimes things can go wrong. The difference in that situation is how fast it can be fixed. There is nothing worse than looking at a blank screen, knowing your to do list depends on it getting fixed and holding a phone that is ringing and ringing and ringing.

You’re busy and if a problem does occur you want an answer quickly and you want it to be right.

Intrahost offers a range of methods for customers to get in touch from Live Chat on the website, to email support, telephone and a ticketing system that is constantly monitored by staff. Support is 24/7 and critical issues can be dealt with outside of normal working hours, meaning problems can be solved immediately.

The advice is what we describe as fast and friendly. The key to excellent customer service is the people that you hire. They represent your brand and they are the ones on the front line day to day. Intrahost only hires staff with technical qualifications so they know what they’re talking about. They feed into our knowledgebase online which provides tips and advice that you can pore over and find potential solutions. We understand the technology and pass that over to you. The quality of our analysts help us stay one step ahead of the industry and offer you the best service we can.

Hosting, using cloud servers or dedicated servers is designed to save you time and money. It shouldn’t be frustrating and getting a question answered shouldn’t take a long time. Problems and queries should be solved quickly and smoothly.

When is a Cloud Server better than a Dedicated Server?

When is a cloud server better than a dedicated server? The instinctive answer is "never!"

How could it be anything else? We are computer users, we are logical people and logically the answer is, "Never!"

Otherwise, why have dedicated servers the first place?

Well, after I published the article on the benefits of cloud servers I received an interesting email.

My article, basically, spoke of cloud servers as being a very cost-effective way of achieving much of the operational benefit of having your own dedicated server but without the attendant cost.

The implication was there that the cloud server, or VPS as it is also known as, is a compromise, albeit a very good one, between performance/features and monthly cost.

For the vast majority of server users that difference, that compromise, is almost unnoticeable, unlike the very big saving to their bank balance!

However, I was reminded by the email that there is a way in which a cloud server can be BETTER than a dedicated server!

Confused?

Well, the veracity of that statement, essentially, hangs upon how your hosting company sets up its Cloud Server/VDS/VPS.

At Intrahost, rather than individual physical servers hosting several virtual dedicated servers on their internal hard drives, the set-up is very different. Here, the physical servers are set-up in "clusters" and the data storage is not on individual hard drives in each server, but rather in a shared disk array (or storage area network - SAN).

Now, I don't want to become too technical here as the purpose of our blog is to help clients, newcomers and the just-plain-curious to better understand our hosting industry, not to blind them with science, technology or acronyms!

But essentially there is a double benefit to our "Intrahost method" here.

Firstly, as our physical servers are "clustered" it  means that if one physical server went down, other servers in the cluster would automatically begin acting as a physical host server for the virtual servers that were allocated to the, now, ex-server! But this resilience would be of no benefit if the data of the cloud servers was stored on the, now, inaccessible hard drives of the failed physical server.

This is where the second advantage of the Intrahost method kicks in. As the virtual servers themselves are stored on the SAN they are not affected by the loss of the defective physical server's hard drives and so the cloud servers and all their data will continue to be available to end users.

Furthermore, when it comes to replacing the faulty server it is a quicker and easier job as the hard drives don't have to be removed and so there is no interruption to the service received by the customers who were being served by the faulty server.

Now compare that to a dedicated server, with everything stored internally.

If the dedicated server goes down you are out of the game until engineers get it going again or, alternatively, allocate you another server, if the malfunction is catastrophic.

But if the dedicated server is down and, therefore, you cannot access your hard drive (and the data thereon) have you got a recent backup that you can install on a new dedicated server? Do you back up your dedicated server yourself or are you paying extra for a fully managed service?

So, basically, a cloud server can have a higher availability (aka uptime) than a dedicated server.

Therefore,  if your hosting company, like Intrahost,  is utilising clusters of hosts and a storage area network, a virtual server, far from being a compromise is, in fact, a superior, hardier beast in terms of availability than your stand-alone, expensive, thoroughbred dedicated server.

If your cloud server hosts your business website or data files do you really want to be gambling everything, literally, on the survival of just one server?

Consequently, if you have a cloud server with another hosting company maybe it is worth checking whether your server benefits from host clusters and a SAN or whether it is risking all on just one physical server. If not, you know who to call...

A Dedicated Server Will Save Your Business Money

If your business has an IT infrastructure you may have a number of servers. Some businesses have their servers located at their place of work. Servers that are located on work premises immediately create potential risks. What if your place of work is a victim of fire, theft or even flooding? How secure will your computer data be if it’s only stored in one primary location?

Every business must have a contingency plan for their data security.

A dedicated server provides peace of mind and efficiency for your business. A datacentre is rock-solid secure environment that has multiple levels of security procedures in place.

Every datacentre has an alternative power supply if a power failure ever occurred. Air conditioning systems keep your dedicated servers cool and working at optimum performance. In the unlikely event of a fire, the datacentre’s fire suppression systems will extinguish any fire quickly.

For a business to have their own datacentre constructed would costs millions. When you purchase a dedicated server you’re renting space within a datacentre. There are added benefits for using a dedicated server, because you don’t have to pay for the equipment. If you are a colocation customer, you’d have to buy your own servers and you’d be responsible for any hardware or software failures.

If your business has an eCommerce website or a high traffic website it’s advisable to use a dedicated server or virtual data centre. A shared hosting package is considered slower and this is dependent on the number of websites or blogs stored on this server. The dedicated server offers maximum performance because you’re not sharing any resources.  Dedicated hosting promotes reliability for your business.

A dedicated server is a more expensive option than the shared option, because you’re getting a high performance hosting platform. If you have a business, it’s important to have your servers in the best environment. In the long term, your business will reduce overheads and save money.

Benefits of using a dedicated server

If you have a business with a demanding online presence, chances you are using a dedicated server. In the world of web hosting you truly get what you pay for. In this article, you will read the benefits of using a dedicated server. If you’re starting to out grow your shared hosting platform and have a larger budget - a dedicated server is a worthy choice.

It is your own server

The dedicated server is an unshared web hosting platform where your website is completely devoted to your needs. You’re in complete control of your server. Although, shared hosting is cheaper it doesn't always mean it's reliable as dedicated hosting.

Use all of the server’s resources

On a dedicated server, you’re not sharing the resources with any other user. Many shared web hosting servers become overloaded and slow. The beauty of using your own dedicated server is that your users will benefit greatly from having a faster loading website. In addition, your dedicated server will be more reliable.

Your dedicated server is located in a secure datacentre

Some businesses’ have their dedicated servers located on their work premises. This is not the best choice of keeping your data secure. There are many potential risks in the work environment. Dedicated servers in an office can be vulnerable to fire or theft or accidental damage. It is crucial to keep your dedicated server in a cool environment and locked away and off your office premises. This machine will be running every second of day and must never be switched off.

The cost of setting up a dedicated server in your work environment is expensive and canbe risky. A datacentre is the best place to store your dedicated server.

You’ll have your own IP address

Every computer and server have their own unique IP address. On a shared server, you don’t know what other users are doing with their hosting plans. On a shared hosting server, you may be a victim of having your IP address banned. On a dedicated server, you have more control.

Upgrade as you need to

Your dedicated server can be upgraded with extra memory and processing power.  Your dedicated server can grow as your online presence grows.

Dedicated servers overview

Whether you’re a hardcore gamer and have your own dedicated gaming server or have an eCommerce web site, dedicated servers provide a higher level of reliability.

Dedicated server "double memory offer" extended

Our offer of "double memory" on dedicated servers has proved so popular that we have extended it until 31st October 2009. So, just sign up for and Extra or Pro package on an Intrahost dedicated server and we will double the supplied memory, free-of-charge!

Even better news, you get to keep that double memory for as long as your are renting the dedicated server from us. So renew after the first year and you get to keep the benefits of that extra RAM.

Remember, Intrahost only supply and use top-quality, brand-name servers and ancillary equipment, all based in UK data centres that feature the best in security and reliability. That's why our current availability (uptime) record is BETTER than 99.99%, and we guarantee the 99.99% in writing, in our Service Level Agreement.

The benefits of a Virtual Dedicated Server

Mention a Virtual Dedicated Server and many people will struggle to explain what one is let alone the advantages of one. (This problem is further exacerbated by the fact that they can also be referred to as a VDS, a Virtual Private Server, or a VPS). However, most people are familiar with the concept a dedicated server; a computer that you share with no one else; to which you have root or superadmin access and can install on it whatever software you what and can reboot it at any time.

The benefits of a dedicated server are clear when compared to shared web hosting; no sharing it with other users' websites to slow down your website(s), no dodgy websites sharing your IP address, having the ability to install your own SSL certificate for e-commerce and the generally higher level of security that comes with having your own server rather than the traditional shared web hosting where you may be one of hundreds sharing a server.

The major downside to a dedicated server is simply one of cost; all that speed, security and exclusivity comes at a relatively high price.

Wouldn't it be great if there was a compromise where you had most of the benefits of a dedicated server but much less of the cost?

Well there is: that where a virtual dedicated server comes into its own.

Essentially, what we do here at Intrahost is take a well-specified dedicated server, the HP ProLiant DL360 G6, and install the VMware virtualization software on it. This software enables the creation of a number of separate virtual servers on this one computer. Each one of these virtual servers can run its own different OS i.e. Windows or Linux, each can reboot individually as needed, each user has root access to the virtual server so you can install the software that you want on your virtual server.

Perhaps most most importantly, unlike shared web hosting (the most common kind), each virtual server has a guaranteed share of the resources of the underlying physical server, i.e., CPU processing time, RAM, hard disk space, and even bandwidth. Just like a dedicated server you can be sure that when you need them the resources that you have paid for are ready and waiting for you. Thus, each virtual server is prevented from hampering the performance of another virtual server on the same host machine.

Security of a virtual dedicated server or VPS is like that of a physical dedicated server. Each virtual server is separate for the others and even if a VDS on your physical server were hacked your VDS would remain untouched.

The cost benefit? Here at Intrahost a Virtual Dedicated Server is available for around a third of the cost of Dedicated Server. Direct comparisons are difficult because of the many options available but suffice to say that the existence of VDSs means that many more businesses, web designers and their customers can enjoy the benefits of a dedicated server without the substantial monthly overhead.

Someone asked me why, instead of creating a VDS, didn't hosting companies buy less powerful and cheaper servers so that customers could have a server each instead of sharing one physical server as several VDSs?

There are two main reasons: firstly, that approach would still produce an expensive dedicated server rental because that low-powered dedicated server would still cost the hosting company the data centre's rackspace rental and power charges but those would fall on the just the one dedicated server owner. Whereas, by buying and virtualizing big powerful servers the hosting company will face the same data center rackspace and power costs but those would be now shared by more users and so the monthly rental per user comes down substantially.

Secondly, the more expensive servers used as VDS host machines are far more technologically advanced, powerful and greener than the cut-price, end-of-line, cheap dedicated servers offered by many companies based outside the UK and EU. However, the capital cost of the top-of-the range servers is again shared by a number of VDS clients which keeps the cost down per user when compared to funding the capital cost of even a relatively cheap web server by one user.

Price drop for Dedicated Servers

Today, Intrahost's Dedicated Server Warehouse brand reduced it's prices for dedicated servers. The servers are now available from £49.99. This comes as a result of reduced operating costs, and larger volume purchases of server hardware.

Specifications available

Dedicated 2008 VALUE Dedicated Hosting from £49.99 per month

  • Intel Server System
  • 1 x Core2 Duo 1.8GHz
  • 512MB RAM (Upgradeable)
  • 1x80GB SATA hard disk (Upgradeable)
  • CPU power - CPS 3 Stars
  • 100GB Traffic

Dedicated 2008 EXTRA Dedicated Hosting from £89.99 per month

  • Dell
  • Dual Core Xeon 2.3Ghz CPU
  • 1GB RAM (Upgradeable)
  • 1x80GB SATA hard disk (Upgradeable)
  • CPU power - CPU 4 Stars
  • 250GB Traffic

Dedicated 2008 PRO Dedicated Hosting from £149.99 per month

  • HP Proliant DL360G5
  • Quad Core Xeon 2.33Ghz CPU (Upgradeable)
  • 2GB RAM (Upgradeable)
  • 1x146GB SAS hard disk (Upgradeable)
  • CPU power - CPU 5 Stars
  • Unlimited traffic

Dedicated Server Warehouse Launches Today!

Dedicated Server WarehouseToday, Intrahost launch a new brand - Dedicated Server Warehouse. Dedicated Server Warehouse (www.dedicatedserverwarehouse.com) provide Dedicated Servers hosted in their 4 data centres in Hull, Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester. The Dedicated Servers are based on Intel and HP hardware and range from single Core2 Duo's to dual-processor Quad Core Xeons. Prices start from £74.99 per month, based on a 12 month term.