Peer to Peer

June 2009

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Page 47 of 99 48 Peer to Peer M any of our firms have started to stem the proliferation of hardware in our server racks and have turned to virtualization for both organizational and financial relief. With good virtualization planning, we may be able to condense four or more servers into one local hard server; but, even though virtualization has provided a path to reduce the number of these servers, current enterprise virtualization products still have steep labor, hardware and software costs associated with them. The Advantages of VPS Hosting There is a confusing array of virtualization products and technologies on the market today, each with benefits and drawbacks. Local virtualization products like VMWare, Microsoft's Hypervisor, and Citrix's XenServer, are costly and still require real hardware. Cloud computing and SaaS (software as a service) technologies can carry unknown costs because their pricing is based on usage. Between these two competing virtualization concepts is yet another option called virtual private server (VPS). Outsourced Hardware A VPS is simply a virtual server that is hosted off-site. A hosting company will install racks of hard servers, standardize on a virtualization technology platform like XenServer, create and configure virtual servers, and "rent" them for a flat fee on a monthly basis. A VPS provides much of the same ultimate flexibility as a colocated hard server, but offers the convenience normally associated with remotely hosted websites. There are numerous VPS hosting providers, such as VPSLAND or Rackspace, that offer a virtual private server on the Internet at surprisingly low prices. Software applications such as a website or e-mail gateway do not necessarily need to be hosted locally and are perfectly suited to be outsourced. There is benefit to keeping incoming public traffic off Internet connections for performance and security reasons, but contracting with software application service providers can reduce configuration flexibility and control of the application. A VPS allows firms to retain complete control of the application and server, but outsource the hardware. Purchasing a VPS The process for provisioning a VPS server is simple. Visit the website of the VPS provider of your choice; choose a server with the appropriate operating system, memory configuration, disk space and bandwidth; and then choose the length of the contract. Pay with a credit card, and within just a short time, you can begin using your private server hosted on the Internet. A simple server with minimal RAM and disk space can cost as low as $10 per month and, depending on other management type features and capacity, can run as much as $150 a month. Compared to the price of a real server and its associated costs — rack space, provisioning, operating system, upgrades, cooling, electricity and disaster recovery system — a VPS can be a real bargain. In the current economic climate, saving money and increasing benefits with a VPS is simply smart business. by David Nevala A Virtual Sigh of Relief

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