In my own opinion and some googling around, I have found that there are some basic questions that you should ask yourself when you are looking at using virtual server (machine) services.
I’ll update this list as I come up with new information or receive feedback valuable to most people.
The questions are in no particular order after question #1.
Questions #2 and #3 are exclusive of each other as mixing them can be problematic.
In no particular order…except for question #1…
- Do you want or need your own private system for your hosting needs? There could be many reasons why someone would like a private system, this question is more ‘yes’ and ‘no’, the reason for the question is undefined in this context.
- Do you want full control of a private system? Full control includes items such as administrative access (root for UNIX-like systems, administrator for Windows systems).
- Do you want a private system managed on your behalf? This goes back to question one in that you want a private system for hosting, but that doesn’t mean you really want to play system administrator…
- Do you want potentially higher performance than traditional web hosting provides? Some hosting companies use load balancers and server clustering to achieve high performance, but the number that do this is a small percentage as most hosting companies put customer websites on individual servers shared with hundreds (or more) of other customers.
- Are you interested in flexibility in terms of software installed or base operating system configuration? For example, do you want Windows Server 2003 or 2008? Standard or Enterprise? Ubuntu Gutsy or Hardy? FreeBSD 6 or 7? RH4 or RH5?
- Do you have specific software you want to install that normally isn’t included in traditionally hosted infrastructures? There are many examples of this, from custom software written for your industry to running commercial server software licensed by the instance.
- Do you wish to combine many hosting activities into a single managed entity? For example: Combine email hosting, website, and blog onto one platform.