Once you’ve decided a server is the right thing for your business, your next decision is whether to have a physical server located inside your business premises, a virtual server located on the internet, commonly referred to as “in the cloud”, or a combination of both.
On Premise Physical Servers
A physical server has a significantly higher up–front cost but lower ongoing costs. It’s basically a large and especially robust computer with a specialist operating system that is installed at your site. This is the traditional approach to computing that many businesses still take. A physical server gives you enhanced security and ownership, though you are exposed to potential hardware faults in the same way as with a normal computer. This can be mitigated with a suitable hardware warranty. A physical server tends to be faster for local users to access –particularly for users that have a lot of files or large files to handle – faster to administer – and is immune in many ways to internet outages. If you have a poor quality internet connection it can be a challenge granting remote workers reliable access to data on the server if your office has a poor-quality internet connection, this can be resolved by means of a “hybrid” solution described below. A physical server will typically cost between £1,000 and £5,000 depending upon specification, warranty and accessories such as a UPS.
Off Premise Virtual Servers
A virtual server has a significantly lower up–front cost but attracts monthly ongoing costs not associated with physical servers. A virtual server is software based server which is hosted on third–party infrastructure and connected to a directly to the infrastructure of the internet. It’s also usual to install a VPN layer in front of the server which adds a little to the cost but enhances security. Such servers lend themselves well to businesses that do not have a traditional physical office. By their nature they can be slower to connect to when compared with a physical server. If a virtual server has a problem they can still be recovered form backup. Virtual servers do not suffer from ‘hardware’ problems in the same way as a physical server. Our cloud servers have a basic cost between £126 and £690 per month depending upon the specification and features you need.
Hybrid Server Environment
While many businesses will be able to choose between “off premise” and “on premise” servers, some businesses have a mix of remote and office based users and that can benefit from both types of servers to accommodate their needs. It’s possible to have both types of servers working together, we call this a hybrid environment.