At Liquid Web, we’re usually laser-focused on giving our customers the best hosting experience possible in the here-and-now. Every once in a while, though, it’s fun to take a look back at the past to get a sense of how things have changed over our years of helping businesses be their best online, and to look into the crystal ball to see what’s ahead. In this article, we want to focus on the back story concerning dedicated servers and also look at the future of this technology.
Dedicated servers have been a regular part of the hosting industry since the early 2000s. Before dedicated servers, all of the hosted websites and internet-connected networks in the world ran on shared servers, and eventually virtualized servers, also known as VPS’s. A lot has changed since then, but dedicated servers are still used by many organizations to provide them with guaranteed resources, and an environment in which hardware is not shared with any other organization.
There are several reasons your organization might choose dedicated servers over shared ones. Having guaranteed resources can dramatically improve performance and website speed. Dedicated servers also provide more control and better security by providing a dedicated environment that can be tailored to your business needs. Some companies choose a dedicated server to comply with regulations, such as HIPAA compliance for healthcare organizations and PCI compliance for eCommerce sites that take payments directly through the site, rather than using a service like PayPal or Square.
A brief history of dedicated server hosting
Web hosts started offering shared servers way back in the 1990s as the internet began to gain traction and business established their first web pages. Liquid Web began offering shared hosting packages in 1998, providing our customers with a cost-effective solution to host sites without having to bear the cost of a dedicated server. Rack servers were introduced in the ‘90s, replacing machines which were basically desktop computers.
Liquid Web began offering dedicated servers in 2000, providing customers with a then state-of-the-art Pentium III 650Mhz CPU, 128 MB of SDRAM, and 15GB of storage. Blade servers appeared shortly after and were adopted throughout the industry to save space and organize the rapidly increasing number of servers in use.
Dedicated servers have become much more popular over the years, as businesses’ performance demands have increased, and hackers and regulations have adapted to the changing digital landscape.
Current and Future Trends
Server CPU performance is now expressed beyond megahertz, and more in the number of cores the processor has. Liquid Web provides dedicated servers with between four and twenty-four cores, and can also provide solutions with custom resources to meet your needs.
Storage technology has also changed significantly. The type of hard-disk drives (HDDs) utilizing spinning disks read by sensors on moveable arms that were in the original dedicated server hardware have grown in size to hundreds of GB each. Beyond the change in scale, premium dedicated servers now feature solid state drives (SSDs), which offer significant performance advantages over HDDs. In the years ahead, we predict that SSDs will become industry standard for all dedicated servers, and cores will eventually be replaced as a measure of CPU power.
Not only do dedicated servers provide faster performance, but they have also become much faster and easier for organizations to deploy. Deploying a dedicated server used to take days or even weeks. Building the hardware, manually installing and setting up software, connecting and troubleshooting a server was a lengthy process, but that time has been reduced to 48 hours or less through automation of many steps in the process.
Automation has also made managing dedicated servers much easier over the years, enabling service providers to take on huge numbers of servers while still installing updates and applying patches as soon as they are available.
Liquid Web offers fully managed dedicated servers, which means that software updates, security patches, and maintenance of your LAMP infrastructure stack (which means the Linux operating system, Apache HTTP server, MySQL relational database management system, and PHP programming language) are all performed by our hosting professionals.
Dedicated server packages from Liquid Web are competitively priced, and have even been reduced when technology improvements allow us to pass on savings to our customers., In addition to performance on a different scale, dedicated server plans like those offered by Liquid Web also include features like a content distribution network (CDN), a hosting control panel, and DDoS protection. Finally, quality dedicated servers come with uptime guarantees, like Liquid Web’s 100 percent network and power uptime guarantees.
Dedicated servers have been powering some of the world’s top websites for many years. As the internet and business needs continue to evolve, so will dedicated servers, and as always, Liquid Web will be at the forefront of the progress, helping customers get the best value for their IT budget.