Every business today is striving to gain market share, customer base, and see overall growth.
Businesses that see an online presence as a necessity are looking to quickly develop their site, update frequently and stay ahead of trends.
For the developer looking to quickly and efficiently start a project, mock-up a site for a client, or administer the online component for a company, nothing beats the ease and speed of Virtual Private Servers (VPS).
These servers operate exactly like a traditional dedicated server; however, they share resources with other virtual servers almost like an application on a computer. A VPS server is the perfect tool for the DevOps team looking to:
- Start a project
- Quickly test out an idea
- Have a sandbox/playground to try new technologies
Below I’ll talk about the five main reasons why any DevOps team would want to look at using a Virtual Private Server for their next project.
- Speed of machine creation
- Ease of growth/expandability
- Cheap cost / low barrier of entry
- Add-ons and additional features
Speed of Machine Creation
Dedicated servers are custom built by hand from individual components that a customer specifies. This is a slow process that requires communicating with your account manager, the delivery team, and the time necessary to actually build and deploy the server.
Virtual servers can be deployed within minutes with the click of a few buttons.
This puts you, the DevOps team, in the position to get started on your projects faster, present your creation to clients sooner, and profit from the increase in business you can generate by not losing out on time waiting for a server to be built. All of this is possible due to the nature of virtual servers: pre-built machines with pre-defined specifications waiting to be activated.
You may think that due to their being pre-built/pre-specified that you will have limited options; the exact opposite is true. Virtual servers today are extremely flexible and offer numerous options/customizations such as:
- The amount of memory (RAM) needed
- Hard disk space required
- CPU cores allotted
That is why VPS is so easy to expand and scale as needed.
Ease of Growth and Expandability
One of the most frustrating parts of a business is being unable to keep up with the growth needed to satisfy customer demand. With traditional dedicated servers, if you need to increase the amount of memory or disk space, you face long delays while communicating your needs, downtime while the hardware is upgraded, and potential issues with your site or project if data migration is required. Upgrading CPUs may even require full chassis swaps, which can cause even more delays and downtime.
With VPS, none of those issues are a concern since all your data is able to seamlessly flow from one parent server to another automatically. Updates can be done almost instantly.
What does this mean for you?
It means that much like the creation of the VPS, you can simply click a few buttons and have more memory, increased disk space, and more CPU cores available to your machine almost instantly. As your traffic and business grow, you are able to quickly and easily alter the specifications of your server to keep up with the increase in traffic.
You may think that all of these features and automated components are going to make this virtual technology more expensive, but that is simply not the case.
Affordable and Low Barrier to Entry
One of the major benefits of utilizing a virtual server is the reduced cost for getting your project off the ground.
By their nature, a VPS is cheaper than a Dedicated Server due to shared hardware components and lack of manpower needed to get them running. These cost savings get passed on to you, which enables you to provide a lower cost to your clients.
This also means that if you’re looking to test out new technology, have a testbed machine with which you can experiment, or a staging area for client sites, you can easily use a VPS without worrying about the cost skyrocketing and being a financial drain.
Further, setting up a VPS is extremely fast.
You can choose the OS you want and the level of support management up front, and within minutes you can be online with root access, able to begin developing your application, uploading files, and getting your project online.
All of this can be handled directly within the control panel used to create your VPS and requires no interaction with another human, no delay in getting hardware assembled, or software installed.
When you need to be online as fast as possible, the fastest option is a VPS.
But simply getting online quickly is not enough. You need to be sure that what you’re working on is safe, secure, and your time not wasted. That’s where backups and snapshots come into play.
Snapshotting and Backups
Nothing can be more detrimental to your online business than your site being inaccessible. There are a large number of concerns when hosting your project that can bring your online presence offline: malware and viruses from hackers, incidental hardware failure, or human error when changing or altering files.
Any time offline or correcting mistakes is a potential loss in earnings and reputation.
VPS makes automated backups as easy as the creation of the server itself: point and click. Scheduling backups, retaining multiple backups, and restoring from them is fast and simple, ensuring that even in the worst case scenarios your data can be protected.
Backups are stored on remote servers, physically separated from your virtual server so that even physical hardware malfunction doesn’t cause you to lose data. All of this is performed behind the scenes without you worrying about what is taking place so you can spend your time focusing on the project at hand.
Also, simply backing up your data is only one factor that virtual servers have simplified. A virtual server allows you to easily create a base “template” or snapshot for a server that you would like to use repeatedly. You can then save this template and create new servers based on it at a later date: just be wary of changes that were made after the snapshot was performed.
If you need a server for a short period of time you can save the server as an “image” for reuse later on, or you can create a server multiple times for different projects or splitting traffic in a load balanced environment. These snapshot features allow you to quickly create consistent servers and ensure that your environment is configured exactly how you need it for the project you’re working on.
Add-Ons and Additional Features
The driving component of virtual servers is the automation behind the scenes that allows them to be easily created, altered, and destroyed. This automated nature means that we can easily tie in additional services by using the same point and click concept, making it easy to add these features to a virtual server.
Being able to quickly add a load balancer in front of your servers, configure a firewall for single or multiple machines, maintain control over your public IP addresses for use between machines, and even create a private network for use with only your servers are all possible.
That’s not all though. VPS can also include:
- Built-in monitoring of your server’s health
- A connection from your servers to object or block storage pools
- A history of tasks and changes.
These features and more are what assist in making virtual servers so appealing. But development doesn’t stop there.
As new products and features are created, they’re easily added and integrated into your virtual server thanks to the automation of how they work.
Whereas traditional dedicated servers need additional software updates or production impacting software updates, virtual servers are easily able to adapt and update to take advantage of the latest technologies.
Virtual Servers are Here to Stay
Virtual servers are a mainstay product in the hosting world for development. The cheap cost and ease of use are the primary motivations for individuals looking to quickly get working, while the power user and large businesses have much to gain along with developers.
Also, Private VPS Parents, which are private cloud instances built on a single dedicated machine, allow for:
- Dedicated hardware for your virtual server
- Data replication for high availability solutions
- API interaction with the control panel necessary to provide more fine-grained and automated control over your servers
In other words, all of the features that the power user would enjoy and are available with virtual servers as well.