Dedicated server solutions set a standard against which most every web hosting plan may be compared.Â Dedicated servers provide webmasters and businesses of any size with the ability to rent pre-configured, ready-to-go web hosting or application hosting servers. Unlike shared web hosting or “virtual hosting” which requires sharing on a single server with sometimes hundreds or thousands of other sites, a dedicated server is used by one entity. The right dedicated server solution provides for availability, performance, reliability, and security.
The data center facility has been around since computers were born, as the place where the earliest computers were located.Â Today, data centers house not only the general computer system, but components such as the dedicated server, as well as other associated equipment. It also usually incorporates important redundant or backup power supplies, data communications connections and environmental controls as well as security devices.
Data centers are usually built and secured physically as well as logistically, in order to protect equipment and data. The security of aÂ dedicated server, for example, is an important segment of a data center’s existence.Â Some of the most safe environments in a city are those of the data center, which companies rely upon to maintain and run their mission critical applications.
As most business people know, dedicated servers and computer systems are often complex to operate and maintain.Â This requires a special environment in which to operate. The cost to maintain proper equipment should not go unnoticed, either.Â Therefore, it is a good idea to know a little bit about the data center that will house whichever dedicated server solution is chosen.
The advanced data centers of today directly connect to the Internet through powerful, high capacity fiber optic backbones.Â One of the advantages of a sophisticated data center is the uninterruptible power supply and backup generators that are positioned to keep servers running smoothly and indefinitely, without direct electric grid power. Many data centers provide active server and application monitoring that includes tape backup capabilities. Equipped with optimal environment controls, the centers include advanced air conditioning and humidifier equipment as well as physical security systems that are designed to be as stringent as possible.
While hosting your web sites on your own dedicated server may seem a little expensive in comparison to shared web hosting, the end result is far more advantageous. Shared web hosting cannot be 100% reliable and stable, no matter how well it is managed. Having your own dedicated server allows you to manage to avoid most of the instability factors associated with shared hosting accounts. The variables can range from unexpected overload, and bad codes or scripts from other users, to having too many applications and components uploaded at the same time.
As mentioned before, the data center plays a huge part in how well a dedicated server is maintained, which is another reason why knowing something about the particular one that will store your dedicated server can be important. Here are some of the issues to be concerned with when it comes to data centers:
1. Â Housing.Â Business equipment should always be in a locked cage all by itself and not commingled with other companies’ equipment. This is to ensure against theft and unauthorized tampering.
2. Bandwidth.Â Find out how much bandwidth is available to the center overall and how large your equipmentâ€™s pipeline to the Internet will be. Then ensure that you understand how that correlates with your operations.
3. Uptime.Â Review documentation regarding the data center’s uptime ranking from Uptime Institute Inc. Also find out about its failover procedure as to continuous operation.
4. Connectivity.Â Find out the connectivity configuration. For example, one that isÂ backbone-agnostic (ties directly in to as many Tier 1 ISPs as possible along redundant, high-speed connections) is usually considered ideal.
5. Data-Transfer Allowance.Â Find out what â€œexcessâ€ bytes will cost.Â Many data center service contracts can charge a flat rate and then customers pay by the megabyte for exceeded quota. Know what the cost of having a very successful month on your enterprise’s web site will be.
6. Power Supply Protection.Â A well-designed data center will have redundant power lines, as well as backup generators that can keep a center running for eight hours plus.
7. Cooling System and Operating Temperatures.Â Some data centers are converted office buildings with standard cooling systems, while others have raised floors and ventilation systems.Â Find out if the data center was specifically designed for server room operations.Â Cooling systems are an important component to a data centerâ€™s operations.Â Also, every building has hot and cool spots, so it is important to know how warm it gets in the area where your business’s equipment is located.
8. Fire and smoke protection.Â In order to properly protect equipment, early-warning smoke detectors and IT-grade automatic fire-suppression systems are critical.
9. Overall Security.Â Â The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requires businesses to ensure that customer data is protected at all times, particularly for public companies. Data centers should have multiple layers of security and technologies in place, from access-control systems to locked cages.
10. Â Regular and Remote Access.Â While some centers may have flexible business hours, others can restrict access.Â You need to know the business hours so that if a server goes down on a Saturday night, it can be addressed. Â In the case of a complete power outage at the facility, it should be possible to have a secure link to the enterprise’s servers while they are operating on backup power.
11. Â 24/7 Support.Â It goes without saying that to maintain company equipment, staff should be on-site at all times to answer questions and deal with any issues as they arise.
It may be a good idea to turn the management of equipment over to the data centerâ€™s staff entirely, because it is inconvenient to travel to the facility or the budget does not allow for a full-time technical person. Â Also, often times, ad hoc managed services can be available for times when an employee can’t get to the data center or is otherwise unavailable.
In closing, know what the SLA (Service-Level Agreement) specifies.Â The SLA is the operating document for the data center customer relationship.Â Ensure that the SLA is specific as to uptime, bandwidth, response time and all support issues. The SLA document should also include whatever penalties that the data center will incur for failing to meet the requirements. Finally, ensure that your business may cancel the contract without undue penalties if need be.
Superb Internet provides a complete range of managedÂ dedicated server web hosting solutions, from virtual shared web hosting through to high-volume, mission-critical dedicated server solutions. SuperbHosting.net’s core focus is customer service, and continuous service improvement, with offices and 24-hour/365-day operations in McLean, VA, Tukwila, WA, and Vancouver, BC, serving customers in over 150 countries worldwide.
View further information onÂ Dedicated Servers here.