Virtual servers are a popular way to expand the offerings of a physical server framework. Learn how your organization might benefit from virtualizing.
Many business owners are familiar with the need for servers, but not everyone understands their digital transformation opportunities for the near future. These important technological systems store data, provide security infrastructure, and backup crucial information that allows business operations to flow smoothly. As technology advances, more companies are turning to virtual servers.
Although the invention of virtual servers isn’t new, the adoption of them has become popular in the last couple of years. Choosing the right server setup and maintenance could be the difference between your business scaling and streamlining outdated processes—and flopping.
In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of virtual servers including what they are, how they differ from physical options, and why they promise tangible benefits for modern businesses.
What is a Virtual Server?
A virtual server is simply one type of server that is located in an offsite hub, data center, or cloud computing space. Although the exact definition can sometimes vary based on use case, virtual servers mimic the function of physical servers but have their own operating system (OS).
In many data centers, physical servers are divided into virtual server units through the use of digital partitions. These partitions allow each individual virtual server unit to act on its own, with unique software and operations.
Occasionally, each separate unit is referred to as a virtual machine (VM). Although VMs have unique configurations, they do not lack processing power or functionality when compared to their physical counterparts.
How are virtual servers used?
A virtual server creates its own specific environment. Business groups and end users can leverage a virtual server similarly to a physical server, meaning that those who control the server have the same access to data security, storage, password protection, and system maintenance.
There are also several categories of work that a virtual server can help facilitate.
1. Wireless access and permissions
With the rise of remote work and wireless business structure, the need for secure and confidential access has never been more vital. Virtual servers provide hands-on control of different systems, data sets, and confidential files.
These permission capabilities mean more flexibility and security for modern businesses.
2. Virtual web hosting
Virtual servers also expand the possibilities of website hosting and maintenance. Google Cloud breaks it down this way:
“Different web services can be configured with virtual server hosting so multiple website owners can use the server as if they had complete control of it.”
With the creation of new websites daily, flexible and secure hosting options are important. Virtual servers rise to the occasion to meet this demand while providing the same basic features as a traditional server host.
3. Software applications
Software developers require a great deal of power when it comes to designing, testing, and producing new software. In standard server environments, this level of activity can drain resources and take away power from other users. With virtual servers, software developers have more leeway when it comes to designing and testing new applications.
Physical vs. virtual servers
Physical servers are typically housed in large, off-site data centers. These centers allow thousands of companies to store data securely from multiple locations all over the globe.
Physical servers are the foundation for virtualization. To create a virtual server, technicians digitally break up a physical server into separate units that multiple people or companies can use at one time. This process increases server efficiency from 15% to as much as 80%.
How users experience virtual servers
From a user standpoint, virtualizing an existing server system brings little or no change to the overall experience. For most tasks and purposes, the user may not even realize that they’re leveraging a virtual server over a physical one.
Some specific users, such as software developers, may even request a virtual server for greater processing power and flexibility. When this is the case, the user simply needs to locate a data center that specializes in virtualization as opposed to physical setup.
While we can all appreciate aesthetically pleasing cable management, virtual servers mitigate the need for it almost entirely! (Especially in-house.)
What are the benefits of virtual servers?
Although it seems like a small change, using a virtual server instead of a physical server provides tangible benefits. These advantages can help businesses spend less on overhead and contribute less to carbon footprints.
Environmental and space savings – Virtual servers expand the possibilities of a single bare metal server. Not only does this prevent businesses from having to build physical servers on site, but it also saves room at data centers which provide servers to several businesses and organizations at one time. Large scale cloud computing relies on the space savings found in virtual environments.
Money savings – Perhaps most notable for budget-conscious businesses is the financial savings available through virtualization. Because there is no physical hardware to manage, maintenance costs are minimal. Additionally, virtual servers use less energy, which means reduced energy costs over an extended period of time.
Easier to adapt dynamic workloads – Most business needs evolve over time, especially in regards to incoming data and what to do with it. Flexible virtual-based servers are adjustable and dynamic in ways that differ from physical servers. This makes it easier for businesses to make quick and effective changes to existing processes.
Easier to reallocate resources – Using a virtual server operating system saves speed and processing power. This benefits all users, particularly in situations where one user needs more power. Virtualization allows for environment isolation, which means that specific environments can be used for high-energy tasks like software testing.
How do virtual servers relate to artificial intelligence?
How do virtual servers relate to artificial intelligence? Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning mechanisms both require a tremendous amount of data. Not only do developers need to collect this data, but they also need a secure and reliable place to house it so that new AI applications function as they’re supposed to.
Virtual servers provide the flexibility and power that developers need in order to grow and design new AI projects. For businesses that want to scale through the power of AI, virtual servers play an important role in that growth process.
Potential problems for virtual servers
Sure, virtual servers provide many benefits that make them a worthwhile investment, but there are always times when certain practices can limit the positive effects.
A common term in the world of virtual servers is “resource hogging". This challenge happens when a physical server is divided into more virtual servers than it can handle. A result is decreased performance and slower speeds.
Virtual servers are an innovative way to save time, resources, and costs while still reaping the benefits of a powerful server framework. As the rates of cloud computing continue to increase, it’s likely that more businesses will take advantage of the flexibility, performance, and security that virtual servers provide.
Are you interested in furthering your AI goals with modern solutions such as virtual servers? Reach out to our team to find the AI solution that best aligns with your business and software goals.