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What is a VPS?

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Virtual Private Servers (VPS) are partitions created on a physical server that act as if they were independent servers. Even though these server instances are dedicated to an individual user, they actually share a common hardware platform with other users. This concept has been deployed for years in the mainframe and storage environments and is currently making inroads into the web hosting market as well. It is fast becoming an attractive alternative to dedicated servers since it allows each client to run their own instance of an operating system and applications without impacting other users sharing the same physical hardware. Certain deployments of this technology actually allow these virtual private servers to be rebooted individually without affecting applications running on other partitions.


There are really two ways to accomplish this virtualization, through software or by directly partitioning the hardware. Partitioning the hardware guarantees access to discreet physical components such as memory and I/O, but has a less flexible adjustment to these resources than with a software partitioning. The advantage to hardware partitioned virtual private servers is the assurance that other partitions cannot affect performance of each other and are safe from “quality of service” impacts. This type of hardware partitioning is typically found in larger commercial applications where the chance of applications affecting each other has to be eliminated. The disadvantage is that since these hardware partitions are fairly inflexible and have to be created at boot up, there is little adjustment to individual partitions without a reboot of the virtual machine.


Software partitioning by contrast is very flexible and individual partitions can be modified more easily to improve performance as an applications needs change. Even though this version of a virtual private server shares the same kernel with other partitions, it offers greater control over the modification of resources in any of the individual partitions. Software partitioning is more commonly used in web hosting applications where a large amount of clients can share the same physical hardware.



The Advantages of a VPS

The overwhelming advantage of virtual private servers is that they give the clients all of the benefits of a dedicated host, but at a much lower cost since they are actually controlling a virtual partition of a shared hardware platform with other clients. The ability to allow several clients to share the same physical hardware while each having control over their own virtual machine dramatically lowers the cost of the hosting service. VPS effectively bridges the gap between shared hosting and dedicated hosting because it gives each user the ability to control their own virtual machine. It allows them to load any application they choose and actually boot different operating systems on their partition. This allows for maximum flexibility while lowering the cost significantly since they are all sharing the same hardware. This is fast becoming the method of choice for hosting companies since it allows the host to maximize their investment in hardware by sharing it among a group of clients and assuring them a given quality of service that will not be impacted by other clients sharing the same hardware. On top of this, Cloud VPS Hosting has also become a very popular service due to reliability, scalability and cost benefit.