Many companies have experienced cash flow issues over the last two years or so and have asked all departments to contain and reduce costs. It has been asked to support this objective and they have responded by moving capital expenditure to operational expenditure, principally by outsourcing current operations or development activities to a managed service provider (“MSP”).
One option under serious consideration is moving to outsourced Linux Virtual Private Servers (“VPS”), hosted by an MSP. This has the advantage of access to low-cost or free software, offset to an extent by a more complex management environment.
Linux-Based VPS– What is it?
Linux VPS Hosting is where a number of virtual servers share the resources of a physical server. Linux has inbuilt virtualisation features that allow an MSP to segment the physical server into multiple Virtual Private Servers (“VPS”). Each appears to the user as a standalone server and is logically distinct from the Linux operating system of the physical server.
Linux-based VPS– What are the benefits?
There are several benefits of Linux-Based VPS, including:
- Operational costs can be reduced by consolidating systems currently running on different servers, even under different operating systems, on a single physical server.
- Operational flexibility and planning of upgrades and the installation of new applications can be improved.
- Outsourcing gives the IT department two options:
- The MSP operates their existing systems while they concentrate on developing the new e-commerce platform, or
- Having the MSP assist them with the new IT systems, perhaps setting up a secure e-commerce domain.
Either option allows them to optimise internal skill levels, and reskill their existing staff and there is no longer a need to hire expensive temporary resources.
The benefits to an MSP include maximum use of infrastructure. They can host several clients on the same physical infrastructure, again reducing operational costs.
Linux VPS Hosting – What are the disadvantages?
Unless specialised Linux VPS hosting software alleviates the pain, operational management of the VPS environment can often be an issue. In comparison with Windows, the skills needed to manage a VPS environment from the command line are highly technical. Users attempting it themselves with newly trained staff can result in a badly configured or poorly managed VPS environment. It can insecure and operate inefficiently. The alternative, importing technical resources is expensive and can often negate the cost advantages of moving to an MSP.
Linux VPS Hosting – Control Panel Options?
Having said that, VPS support on Linux provides an inbuilt graphic control panel, and applications like KVM and OpenVZ are often used to provide a greater range and easier management.
Recently, more advanced applications, such as SolusVM provide easy-to-use graphical interfaces for the less technically aware user to completely manage the VPS environment from the physical server upwards. HostSailor now offers SolusVM as a packaged solution, where the end-user manages their own VPS installation.
Free VPS for Linux Projects
Free in this case doesn’t mean there is no cash outlay, one-off or recurring. For example, unless it is an in-house Linux Based Hosting VPSenvironment installed and managed using its own staff, regular MSP fees will still need to be paid. UN
Part of the confusion arises from the perception that because Linux is free or at least very low cost, everything else will be at the same price level.
Again, an MSP’s basic starter configuration may be offered as “free”, but it will become obvious very quickly that it does not have the horsepower to support a full commercial online service. Also, an MSP will charge for other necessary services.
The advantage to a development project is that the entire development/test and production environment can be hosted in separate virtual servers on a single physical server.
If an organisation is migrating to a Linux VPS Hosted environment, VPS offer an attractive option in that each virtual server can have a different operating system. This allows existing systems to continue unaffected as implementation and development carry on.
This is particularly useful where a Linux application is being developed to operate in several different operating systems environments, perhaps different Linux distributions, or in several environments like Linux and Windows.
A final advantage is that of security. If the development, test and production environments are on different virtual servers, each can be completely insulated from the others. Migrating software from one environment to the next can be controlled. Testing will not be affected by changes in the development software, and production will not be liable to disruption by untested or partially tested software.
A Linux VPS Server environment can be very useful to organisations migrating to the Cloud, or to an MSP. The inbuilt or third-party control panel can make creation and management much easier.
It can be particularly useful in a development environment, where projects can be carried out in a managed fashion, ensuring that the production environment is up and running at all times.
If you have any questions or concerns, or just fancy an informal chat, please don’t hesitate to contact us.