Your Own Private Server

Your Own Private Server

In this episode of Breaking Up with Big Tech we discuss your own private server. Before you can purchase a server to run services you must first decide which type of server is right for you, physical “bare metal”, or a virtual private server. Heavy workloads or extreme security requirements may require a physical server, but a virtual private server will be the most economically sensible option for most readers.

Virtual Private Servers, or VPS

As mentioned above, modern servers are typically very powerful. A modern server may have as much computing power as 10 consumer grade laptop computers. While some online operations can utilize this type of hardware, many use cases can be serviced with a Virtual Private Server, or VPS.

The advantages to purchasing a VPS are that you will have a server sized appropriately to your workload. Because you are only renting a portion of a bare metal server, you will only pay for the smaller portion.

The disadvantage of a VPS is that your virtual server is running on a bare metal server along side several other virtual servers. The software that makes this hardware slight of hand possible generally keeps the virtual computers separated, but it can not always prevent one bad virtual computer from causing hardware starvation for the other virtual servers on the bare metal.

Bare Metal Servers

The most private server you can purchase today is a “bare metal” server. We call this type of server “bare metal” because it is a physical computer made of metal (and plastic and other things). Bare metal also means that the operating system software which runs the computer has direct access to the computer’s “bare metal” hardware. All of this is in contrast to the virtual servers discussed above.

The advantage to a bare metal server is that the entire computer is yours. The operating system software – the software that runs the server – has total and direct access to the server’s underlying processors, memory, storage and networking hardware.

The disadvantage is that modern bare metal servers are typically underutilized by a single application or service. Modern servers have multiple processors and huge amounts of memory, usually much too much hardware to be utilized by a personal server, though small businesses may have a need for these resources.

Another disadvantage is cost. Renting an entire physical server is much more expensive than renting a portion of one. Because of this, large servers are typically sectioned up into allocations of processors and memory. These are the virtual servers discussed previously.

Next Steps

Whether you are interested in a physical “bare metal” server or a virtual private server, we have guides to help navigate the path to securing a server to run your online services. Check out one of the guides below:

Choosing a home for your physical server (coming soon)

Choosing your virtual server provider (coming soon)

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