VPS Revolution

I’m Tres Wong-Godfrey, one of the SysOps guys here at Spry. Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing about VPS hosting and why — no matter how big your business gets — it is an excellent choice for business hosting. In this first look at VPS hosting I’ll take a look at how a VPS scales to meet your business needs much better than an old-fashioned dedicated server.

Part 1: Growing Your Server With Your Business

If you already have a Virtual Private Server (VPS), congratulations; you already know what a value it is. You know how it can easily be upgraded to meet your business needs with zero down-time. You know that a VPS can grow with your business, allowing you to purchase just as much server as your business needs rather than what you might need in a year. If you’ve never used a VPS before, sit back, grab a beverage and let me tell you about the best thing to hit the hosting industry since load balancers.

Over the past four years a quiet revolution has been taking place in the hosting industry. Virtual Private Servers have been steadily changing the hosting landscape. We at Spry have been at the forefront of the revolution; for years, we’ve been providing our users with the most server for the best price possible through our VPS offerings. Spry’s mission has always been to provide the best possible hosting for the cheapest possible price and Virtual Private Servers have been a key element to our success.

Having a Spry VPS is kind of like having a Ferrari for the price of a Kia. Your server uses top of the line hardware, like dual 2.8 GHz Xeon multi-core processors, or like 6+ disk SCSI RAID arrays for less than our competitors charge for a 1.7GHz Celeron with a single 80GB IDE drive. Simply put, you get far better hardware for far less money. And it’s not like shared hosting; you have full access to a private server — your own operating system — on which you can install anything you need for your business.

What’s our secret? Really it’s just a canonical economy of scale. A virtual private server is on the same hardware with other servers. It’s completely separate and completely private from the other servers on the hardware, but all servers on the same hardware share the physical resources provided by the hardware.

At Spry, we can provide the best possible value because more people share those resources. Everyone gets only as much of the total resources as they’ve paid for. And here’s where the real genius of Spry’s VPS offerings comes in; as your business needs grow, you simply upgrade your server to the next level. With zero down-time, your server is given a bigger chunk of resources on the hardware. Let’s take a quick look at how this works by way of example.

A Tale of Two Servers
Imagine for a moment two competitors in the cutthroat food delivery business who are just starting their online presence. HAL’s Food Transport and Dave’s Food-To-Go are competing in this burgeoning market, hoping to see their business grow.

HAL shops around and finds a good old-fashioned dedicated server. His server is a 2 GHz Athlon with an 80GB IDE drive. It’s perfectly adequate for his growing business. HAL’s sure that the server will be perfect now and far into the future. He pays the $100 setup fee, plus the $99 for the first month and waits with anticipation for notification that his server is ready.

Dave Googles “Virtual Private Server” and finds a VPS for a monthly fee less than half of what HAL is paying — and no setup fee. He orders his server and receives an email about 20 minutes later with the IP address of his server. Dave pays his IT guy to install the necessary applications for his business and waits for the profit to happen.

Thirty-six hours after ordering his server, HAL’s server is finally ready. He receives an email telling him what the IP address of his server is. HAL pays his IT guy to install the necessary applications for his business and waits for the profit to happen.

Soon both HAL and Dave start raking-in money. Their food delivery businesses take-off and they can hardly keep up with orders. They soon find that their original servers no longer meet their needs — customers are unhappy about how slow HAL and Dave’s servers are when trying to order. Both Dave and HAL are ecstatic; too much business is a good problem to have. So both HAL and Dave decide they have to upgrade their servers as soon as possible so that they continue to have happy customers and continue to grow their businesses.

HAL calls his hosting company to let them know he needs a bigger server. They tell him that they can have a new server ready for him in about 48 hours. He doesn’t want to upgrade again any time soon, so he orders the best server they have. There’s another $150 setup fee he’ll have to pay, and his monthly charge is now $500 instead of $100, but he figures it’s worth it — just so his customers are happy again.

To upgrade his server, Dave just logs into his control panel and clicks the “upgrade” button. He decides to double the resources he has available. So for about $50 more a month Dave now has twice the server he used to have, and knows if he needs to, he can upgrade again at any time. Ten minutes later, he receives an email letting him know that his server upgrade is complete. He checks the site and the difference in speed is noticeable right away. Dave’s customers are happy again.

Three days later, HAL’s new server is finally ready. Now all HAL needs to do is move his site to the new hardware. To move his site, HAL pays his IT guy to re-install the necessary applications on the new server. Once the applications are installed HAL’s IT guy transfers his databases and files to the new server. Finally, they test to make sure that everything works on the new server. Because HAL’s IT guy is pretty busy, it takes about a week to get things finished. All the while, HAL’s customers are getting more and more frustrated with his slow server. HAL is getting pretty frantic about the whole upgrade process, but he figures it’s the one and only time he’ll need to upgrade his server. Once they are sure everything is working, HAL has his IT guy make the new server live.

Unfortunately for HAL and for users of old-fashioned hosting everywhere, more often than not something doesn’t work right on their new server — which means HAL’s online business is suddenly off-line. HAL’s got big problems. Because of problems with his server, HAL starts losing customers to Dave’s Food-To-Go. He now has higher overhead and fewer customers than he had before he moved to his new server.

But even if everything had gone right with HAL’s migration to the new server, it was far more difficult than Dave’s upgrade, and cost much more not only for the hardware upgrade, but for the labor of setting up the new server. HAL’s overhead increased significantly because he couldn’t easily upgrade his server.

Providing an easy and instantaneous upgrade path is just one of the benefits of choosing a VPS server. And with Spry’s 100% money back guarantee, being a part of the VPS revolution is even easier.

The Revolution Will be Blogged
Over the next few weeks I’ll be talking about how Web 2.0 technologies and a VPS go hand-in-hand, how advances in server management and control panels make VPS management a breeze, as well as VPS choices available — and how to choose the right VPS for your needs. For now, I hope this little parable shows one of the biggest benefits of using a VPS.

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