(The Hosting News) – Most business owners and IT administrators realize that virtual hosting services are a flexible, affordable and effective alternative to a physical onsite server. However, you might have trouble understanding the benefits and drawbacks of various hosting services due to the somewhat complex and confusing terminology that hosting companies often use when describing their products. VPS, VDS and VM are three of the most commonly misunderstood terms among server virtualization clients. In order to choose an appropriate hosting option, you should understand the key differences between these terms.
In hosting, VM refers to any virtual machine. This is software that simulates the activities of a physical computer, although a virtual machine could be set up to handle only a single process.
VPS hosting refers to virtual private server hosting. This is a virtual server set up to emulate a physical server perfectly through the use of virtualization software. The virtualization software runs underneath a standard operating system, so the user can work in a fairly typical operating environment to manage a website. The virtual server is limited by the virtualization software and cannot exceed the limits set by the software. Virtual private servers typically run a standard operating system such as Windows or a distribution of Linux, and the operating system is maintained by the virtualization platform. A commonly used example of this type of virtualization is Parallels Virtuozzo VPS.
VDS refers to a virtual dedicated server. Virtual dedicated servers use hypervisors, which are another important product to understand. A hypervisor manages virtualization and allows you to set up multiple virtual machines through root-level access (from your perspective–the virtual dedicated server is still simulated hardware). This root-level access is the major difference between VDS and VPS. Because VDS is a more powerful and flexible option, VDS hosting is a superior option for businesses that expect serious long-term growth. It offers better scalability than simple VPS hosting because of the way that the hypervisor product runs directly under the hardware. Microsoft Hyper-V is a popular example of this mode of virtualization.
However, there are a few significant disadvantages to VDS hosting. VDS hosting is much more expensive due to the fact that a VDS account will consume more resources than a VPS account. You will also have less support when working through a VDS, as your business may be responsible for the operating system and software that runs under the hypervisor.
If you need to host a single website, VPS hosting is a good place to start. VPS hosting offers some scalability, superior ease of use and a low cost compared to either VDS or a physical Dedicated server. However, VDS hosting is a great alternative to a physical server if you require root-level access to your server and if you are planning for serious growth.
Understanding the key differences between virtual machines, virtual private servers and virtual dedicated servers should make it easier to decide how to approach your business’s virtualization needs. Server virtualization can be extremely advantageous when used properly, and with the right virtualization provider, you can effectively meet any and all of your server needs with virtual products.