The dedicated server market is an absolute minefield, which makes finding the ideal host a tall order. With so many providers out there, all with competitive pricing structures, the difficulty is finding a server host with credentials that match your own requirements. This article looks at 5 key factors Netwise Hosting consider essential in locating that perfect dedicated server provider.
1) Service Scope
Your going to want as much value for money as possible from your dedicated server platform. Its very easy to go online and find a provider offering servers for next to nothing, which many will consider to be ‘good value’ – however, you should be far more concerned with the services you are actually receiving for your money. If you look at the very cheap services on offer out in Asia, or even in large oversold data centres in the USA, you will notice the lack of supplementary services that are in place to ensure the dedicated machines function correctly. They may well be inexpensive, and have a powerful hardware set, but they will lack support, proper software provisioning, and access to essential core services such as conditioned power and high-speed transit/bandwidth. Any host worth their weight in salt will have a fantastic feature-rich set of services that surround their dedicated servers, creating an ideal environment from which to grow your business online safely, and without the worry that your service may not have the true ‘value’ it promised you with its attractive prices.
A few years ago, flexibility would have likely been omitted from this list. It is only in recent years that the nature of doing business online has changed in such a way that service flexibility has become essential. Your services should grow in line with your ever changing requirements, whether that be an increase in size/scope, or a decrease. With most top providers, you can now monitor your servers usages statistics in real-time, and adjust bandwidth allocations on-the-fly to save any nasty surprises at the end of the month. Flexible billing cycles are also a must to avoid being tied down to one service type for too long. Remember, if you cant directly contact your hosting provider and discuss individual options, then the chances are they are not as flexible as they may seem at first glance.
3) Enterprise-Class Hardware Sets
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and quality dedicated servers are no different. As many people know, Intel make some fantastically fast processors today – their iSeries (i3, i5, i7) is making waves in the home computing market thanks to impressive speed and efficiency. But do you really want desktop-grade hardware in your server? The simple answer is no. There is a marked difference between what you provision inside a server compared with that of a home computer. Server hardware needs to withstand tens of thousands of hours of constant usage, without faltering for even a second. Home computing hardware is simply not up to this challenge. A good service provider will only use server-grade hardware sets, such as Intel’s Xeon range, and AMD’s Opteron range. The same applies for RAM, airflow management and other internals – ensure you are getting an enterprise-class server, not a reworked home machine.
There are a lot of dedicated server hosts out there today, and one of the quickest ways of identifying the good from the bad is from their reputation amongst users and the community at large. This is more important than size, as it doesn’t only focus on widespread service adoption, but more the quality of services on offer. Check industry forums for user comments, and find out who the host already provides services for – this will give an indication of what companies already entrust their services with the provider in question.
5) The People
As mentioned in some of our previous top tip run-downs, getting to know the people behind the businesses you work with is very important – and hosting is no different. There is a real tendency for dedicated server buyers to simply find a ‘good deal’ and buy the service online through a shopping cart, without ever speaking to anyone at the organisation beforehand. Naturally, this can be difficult with the enormous ‘stack em high sell em cheap’ providers in the USA, but more personable professional business services in the UK and Europe have dedicated staff on call to run through your requirements with you. This will begin building a business relationship with the host, and turn an otherwise basic financial enterprise into a rewarding service partnership. That’s true service value!
Contact a member of the Netwise Hosting team today to discuss how we can match all of the above points and more, making us an ideal dedicated server provider for the savvy business buyer!