In this post, we will explain what a dedicated server is and the differences between a managed dedicated server and a fully managed dedicated server. At the expense of confusing you, a managed server being offered at Company A might not feature the same service level as a managed server offered at Company B. Why so? Read on to find out.
Before we delve into the differences, know that UNIXY (http://www.unixy.net) is a fully managed dedicated server hosting provider. We clearly state that our Linux server management service covers everything one would ever need. Our management philosophy is unambiguous: if you cannot complete a task with a few mouse clicks, UNIXY will gladly do. We secure, optimize, and monitor your server at all times throughout the year. We are always happy to help our clients and give them the support they need to thrive and stay worry-free.
- What is a server?
First things first, a server is a specialized computer that is installed at a private facility called a data center. The lingo used in the hosting business for “installed” is racked up. A data center is a private building built to withstand harsh environmental conditions, secured to fend off any kind of physical intrusion, configured with redundancy at the network and power grid level, and staffed with technicians, engineers, and security officers. Data centers are generally boring from the outside but very interesting in the inside. They sport state-of-the-art equipment and technology. The picture below is of a Google data center.
- What is a dedicated server?
A dedicated server is a computer server that is racked up and configured to handle the requirements of an individual or an entity. It is said to be dedicated because its resources are not shared with any other entity. They are dedicated. At a bare minimum, the provider is required to install an operating system like Linux and replace any hardware component that fails while you are renting the dedicated server. This means that if your hard drive has a defect, you are entitled to a speedy replacement at no charge to you. The same applies to the network. Should you notice network connectivity issues, your provider is required to investigate and identify the root cause, again, at no charge to you.
It is common to install a Web control panel, which is a software application that one can access via the browser to manage and control the server, add websites and email accounts, and just about anything one can imagine. There are several control panels in the market each with its advantages and learning curve. Some are free and others cost money. The cost of such control panel can range from $15 to $40 per month. cPanel (http://www.cpanel.net) is a one such control panel for Linux. DirectAdmin (http://www.directadmin.com) is another.
- Is a control panel enough to manage a server?
Keep in mind that while a control panel is convenient and practical, one still needs trained engineers and technicians to maintain the back-end of the system. This is where server management comes in. At a bare minimum, server management should include system patching (software fixes and upgrades), system security enforcement to prevent compromises, and trouble shooting. So a control panel is a step forward in the right direction but is not all encompassing.
- What is a managed dedicated server?
A managed dedicated server is a dedicated server that comes with a certain level of support from the provider. Software upgrades and patching is provided for free. Software crash root cause remediation is also covered. The security of the server is assumed by the provider. Should you need help with installing common software on the server, that will also get taken care of. That includes a Web server software anddatabase software. The provider expects you to have a certain technical knowledge and understanding so you can navigate around the system. For example, they expect you to know how to add email accounts, add Web sites, transfer your content via FTP, and generally have a basic understanding of Web hosting.
- What is a fully managed dedicated server?
This is the creme of the crop of all management plans. If you rent a fully managed dedicated server, you, as a customer, are not to be concerned with anything beyond updating your Web content and running your business. Full management means that regardless of the request, the provider will complete it for you. Keep in mind that software development or software bug fix requests are not covered under this level. Those requests are meant to be handled by a software development firm.
- Server management is perceived differently
Server management tasks are not industry standard so there is ambiguity as to what plan covers what exactly. Some managed providers refuse to complete a certain request because the software is not covered. Others charge for the labor required to complete the task. As a consumer, it is always recommended to approach the provider, before signing up, and ask for what is or what is not covered by the managed service. Keeping a record of such conversation can protect you should you be in a such situation.
That’s all folks! This concludes our article on server management. I hope you enjoyed it.