M5 Hosting Dedicated Servers vs Virtual Machines

by | Jan 31, 2023 | dedicated servers, M5 Hosting Blog

At M5 Hosting we offer both dedicated servers and virtual machines. Often clients ask us what the differences are between the two and when and why they would need one over the other. Both have their advantages, and both offer benefits depending on what you’re trying to do or what you want to accomplish. Before we get into the benefits of both dedicated servers and virtual machines at M5 Hosting, let’s go over what each is including example use cases for both.

What is a Dedicated Server

Dedicated servers give you complete control from an IT perspective. You determine your dedicated server configuration including operating system, security, privacy, firewall, software, RAM, space, bandwidth, and more. Dedicated servers are also single-tenant, meaning your server does not share space or resources with any other clients. It is exclusive to you and your applications. If compliance for clients, sharing internal processes, or using private applications is necessary, dedicated servers may be ideal due to enhanced security and privacy.

M5 Hosting dedicated servers start at around $100 per month, not including extras such as firewall, software, operating system, and other configuration requirements. Additional configuration and software installation typically need to be performed by a professional server administrator or by an M5 Hosting certified server engineer.

What is a Virtual Machine

In contrast with dedicated servers, virtual machines are multi-tenant, meaning your virtual machine is shared with other clients on the same dedicated server. For example, a dedicated server can host multiple virtual machines so all virtual machines on the same dedicated server share the same resources including RAM. Virtual machines are considered secure, but since they are hosted on a dedicated server with multiple virtual machines, it may not be as private or secure as having your own dedicated server.

At M5 Hosting, our virtual machines are built in the cloud. This gives you faster setup time so you can quickly deploy your applications and websites. You can also opt for a private cloud if you need to comply with HIPAA or need greater access controls and security for remote employees.

M5 Hosting virtual machines start at around $20 per month. Additional memory (RAM), software, and custom configuration services can be added and are relatively inexpensive, depending on your needs, and may not take as long to configure as a dedicated server.

Use Cases for a Dedicated Server or a Virtual Machine

Some examples of the most common uses for dedicated servers hosted for M5 Hosting clients include websites, company intranets, IoT, SaaS, application servers, VPN, game servers, or anything that a server at home or office can do. For example, a dedicated server at a home or office can be used to help support your personal or office computers or be used for home or office automation.

The most common uses for virtual machines hosted for M5 Hosting clients are the same as for dedicated servers, but typically on a smaller scale. For example, a global workforce would need a dedicated server, but a 10-person team in the southeast region of the United States could use a virtual machine.

When budget is a concern, you can always start with a cloud or private cloud offering, then move to a dedicated server solution for more power, speed, and control.

Both Offer Scalability

Both dedicated servers and virtual machines are scalable. When scaling up, in terms of storage, resources, and speed, dedicated servers require additional hardware. When scaling up virtual machines, since they are hosted in the M5 Hosting Cloud, scaling up or down is fast and requires no additional hardware.

When scaling dedicated servers, you simply add more hardware (dedicated servers) and configure them to run your environment based on your setup. For example, if you are running a gaming network on one dedicated server and your user load increases significantly, you would add one or more dedicated servers and run your gaming network across two or more dedicated servers for optimal performance.

Virtual machines are also scalable, but the difference is you don’t increase hardware like you would when scaling dedicated servers. Instead, with M5 Hosting’s persistent block storage, you can increase or decrease block storage when required and achieve high availability for redundancy. This is important when hosting mission-critical applications, databases, and other high transaction workloads on the M5 Hosting Cloud.

Virtual machines allow you to choose the type of storage you want to use. For example, you may have a lot of data you need readily accessible, but you don’t need to access it frequently. M5 Hosting can provide a cost-effective storage solution, ensuring room to grow without paying for access speed you don’t need.

Both Offer Guaranteed CPU, Resources, and Root Access

The amount of guaranteed CPU power is specified in cores and in MHz or GHz. Many cloud providers and VPS providers just say “vCPU” or “vCores” without specifying how many other people are on your cores. Some only specify that you get a “proportional share” of the CPU power. All M5 Hosting service offerings specify a minimum guaranteed CPU power, but you can use more when it is available and not in use by other customers.

With M5 Hosting dedicated servers and virtual machines, you have full root-level access to your operating systems, so you have complete control. With root access, you can log in to your server and perform all administrative tasks such as configuration setting changes, software installation and updates, performance tuning as needed, and many other options.

Load Balancing Dedicated Servers and Virtual Machines

You can load balance both dedicated servers and virtual machines. With dedicated servers, you need to add more physical machines and software to manage the load balance. With virtual machines, you can load balance, but much more quickly. Usually, with a click of a button or two, you can add more memory, disk space, and bandwidth. But if your website or application is growing fast, eventually you may need to move to a dedicated server.

At M5 Hosting, load balancing is built into our Cloud Virtual Machine offerings so there’s no additional charge and nothing you need to do. Simply add more storage and increase performance and availability.

Deciding on a Dedicated Server vs a Virtual Machine

Now that you have a general understanding of both dedicated servers and virtual machines available at M5 Hosting, you can determine the best approach for your needs. If you want more control and more dedicated resources, go with the dedicated server option. If you are just starting and need a solution you can grow into as your needs grow, go with a virtual machine. Either way, you choose the operating system and configuration that works best for your requirements.

Need help deciding? Contact M5 Hosting.

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