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  1. #1
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    Benefits of VPS non-existant?

    In a reply to another post my thought-juices began to flow...

    A VPS structures the resources on a server. Period. Other then being able to provide several root-level logical partitions on a single machine, what does VPS buy you? My answer is "nothing".

    Are people pumping VPS plans for "performance" when there is no improvement; there really being no benefit if you're not a devloper in need of superuser access? Just wanted to get some thoughts from the community.



    Regards,

  2. #2
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    I disagree, a vps depending on what you order for customization can buy you dedicated resources on a server this alotts you a specific amount of CPU and memory, and will help keep your site more stable than shared hosting, would simply because you dont have to worry about high load values on your own vps unless your site is the one responsible for the high load. A prmoised amount of resources can be huge for someones site
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmcallister
    I disagree, a vps depending on what you order for customization can buy you dedicated resources on a server this alotts you a specific amount of CPU and memory, and will help keep your site more stable than shared hosting, would simply because you dont have to worry about high load values on your own vps unless your site is the one responsible for the high load. A prmoised amount of resources can be huge for someones site
    That cuts both-ways.


    If the VPS is set for 256 MB of RAM, it won't go over that.

    On a shared plan, if every other site is idle, and you need it, your site can take as much memory and CPU as is available.

    Plus, it's still a VM and has to run on top of another OS. For exmaple, Virtuozzo still requires a base OS, so you are using 2x(basically) the instructions to accomplish the same thing...

  4. #4
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    Ok, for a million bucks: Where will your site run faster?

    A. Shared Server with 400 People
    B. Shared Server with 10 - 20 People

    I believe B is the answer here, its just logical.

  5. #5
    The answer is both. A shared server with 400 low resource sites can run much faster than a server with 1 site that takes up all the servers resources by itself. Of course if all sites were equal the answer would be B, but that's not the way hosting works so I stick by my both answer.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrRadic
    Ok, for a million bucks: Where will your site run faster?

    A. Shared Server with 400 People
    B. Shared Server with 10 - 20 People

    I believe B is the answer here, its just logical.
    I agree - but people seem to be forgetting that when you add in "C. VPS"

    When someone asks for hosting and has a moderate-traffic site, most of the people on this board recommend VPS or dedicated solutions, the point being people equate VPS with better performance then shared, which is just plain false.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by utropicmedia-karl
    If the VPS is set for 256 MB of RAM, it won't go over that.
    Wrong. A VPS can "burst" with a soft limit of 256MB and a hard limit of something much higher. Depending on how you tweak the values, you can have lots of space between VPS machines for traffic bursts and whatnot.

    The whole purpose of virtualization is increased density, not a decrease.

    On a shared plan, if every other site is idle, and you need it, your site can take as much memory and CPU as is available.
    And this can be a bad thing. If you don't have proper controls in place, one user can hog the resources of a system and shut out others from getting control to do whatever they want to do. A VPS system ensures there is both some minimum and some maximum to the resources you use.

    Plus, it's still a VM and has to run on top of another OS. For exmaple, Virtuozzo still requires a base OS, so you are using 2x(basically) the instructions to accomplish the same thing...
    Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. You have no idea of how VZ works, do you? VZ is a shared kernel architecture. This means there is no hardware emulation, no virtual machine languages, none of that. It's got a small overhead (something like 1-2%) to keep track of resource allocation, but that's about it. When you run your VPS, it's running on the bare metal. The VZ kernel just separates out resources. It's the same as the vanilla Linux kernel, except instead of ensuring balanced operation for just processes, the VZ kernel adds on balancing for VPS systems, which are realistically just a grouping of processes in the system. That's why if you 'ps aux' on a VZ system outside of any of the VPS's, you'll see all the processes of all the VPS systems, since they exist within the same kernel. It's highly efficient and results in terrific density (because you can share memory between applications for certain things).
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrRadic
    Ok, for a million bucks: Where will your site run faster?

    A. Shared Server with 400 People
    B. Shared Server with 10 - 20 People

    I believe B is the answer here, its just logical.
    Your site will run faster on the server using less resources.

    That could be server A or server B. Server B could have 20 folks pushing the heck out of the server, running large forums and very resource intense sites, and server A could have a lot of static sites, not doing much.

    So B is not neccessarily the answer, and where's my million bucks?
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by timdorr
    Wrong. A VPS can "burst" with a soft limit of 256MB and a hard limit of something much higher. Depending on how you tweak the values, you can have lots of space between VPS machines for traffic bursts and whatnot.

    The whole purpose of virtualization is increased density, not a decrease.

    And this can be a bad thing. If you don't have proper controls in place, one user can hog the resources of a system and shut out others from getting control to do whatever they want to do. A VPS system ensures there is both some minimum and some maximum to the resources you use.
    Agreed that it is all about control and management.


    Quote Originally Posted by timdorr
    Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. You have no idea of how VZ works, do you? VZ is a shared kernel architecture. This means there is no hardware emulation, no virtual machine languages, none of that. It's got a small overhead (something like 1-2%) to keep track of resource allocation, but that's about it. When you run your VPS, it's running on the bare metal. The VZ kernel just separates out resources. It's the same as the vanilla Linux kernel, except instead of ensuring balanced operation for just processes, the VZ kernel adds on balancing for VPS systems, which are realistically just a grouping of processes in the system. That's why if you 'ps aux' on a VZ system outside of any of the VPS's, you'll see all the processes of all the VPS systems, since they exist within the same kernel. It's highly efficient and results in terrific density (because you can share memory between applications for certain things).
    I freely admit I have never used Virtuozzo, just read the literature. Perhaps VZ was a bad exmaple, and VMWare would have een a better one, as VZ does not provide the flexability of a true VM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Bob
    Your site will run faster on the server using less resources.

    That could be server A or server B. Server B could have 20 folks pushing the heck out of the server, running large forums and very resource intense sites, and server A could have a lot of static sites, not doing much.

    So B is not neccessarily the answer, and where's my million bucks?
    Theoretically yes, but you have to remember you are guaranteed resources in a VPS environment, where in a Shared environment you just...share. You can get 100% cpu, and you can get .01% cpu.

  11. #11
    If you don't see any benefit then don't buy it. Why is this so difficult?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrRadic
    Theoretically yes, but you have to remember you are guaranteed resources in a VPS environment, where in a Shared environment you just...share. You can get 100% cpu, and you can get .01% cpu.
    Sure, but that has nothing to do with your server A and server B comparisons. Most VPS setups still equal share CPU too.
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  13. #13
    Apart from the talk about resource allocation above, you also get your own IP-address (one or more) with a VPS, which also means that you get some advantages, such as;

    • SEO advantages
    • Will be in better control what your IP-address is used for, ie - you don't have to worry as much of your outgoing emails being blacklisted at services such as Spamcop


    A managed VPS surely cost a little bit more than a shared hosting solution, but it's just much better according to my experience.

    Look at VPS as the intermediate step between shared and dedicated hosting. Not everyone needs it, but for those that do - there are numerous advantages for the end consumer.

  14. #14
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    From what I noticed, leaving the performance aside, the VPSs have a market because they are lower priced than dedicated servers, and there's also the benefit of having them fully managed. People just find themselves cornered by the need to get out of shared hosting, budget restrictions and a lack of server administration skills, and the VPS becomes the almost obvious choice. Sure, they are sometimes misrepresented, but, hey, just look at the budget shared hosting market and you'll see the mother of all misrepresenations.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Engelmacher
    If you don't see any benefit then don't buy it. Why is this so difficult?

    It's not - I am trying to decide if my team has a reason to offer it.



    Regards,

  16. #16
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    The advantage of VPS is the ability to get correct amount of resources for what you need, and also the fact that you can adjust it later (depending on the availability, though.) without moving the site.

    With dedicated server, if you need to change the hardware to get more of something, and it means the downtime and some adjustment (and the cost!).
    It can be easier with VPS.

    And some VPS allows the host to oversell a bit, I guess.

    Rebooting can be easier with VPS, too.
    Dedicated servers may not come with the ability to reboot without asking DC (and also the cost, sometime).

    I don't know of any, but the host may choose to put the VPS on redundant setup, reducing the downtime.
    To do the same with dedicated server would cost a lot more, most probably.

    Using very small VPS with small OS/lighter server softwares can be an interesting solution for some people, too.

  17. #17
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    I agree with extras.

    I don't think VPS is necesarily a "step up" from shared hosting. Instead, it is providing a lower-cost solution to those who would have gone for a dedicated server.

    Not all dynamic sites are PHP/ASP and cpanel/plesk friendly, as there are a lot of customised web applications out there, which require customised server setup. If I don't need the CPU power, nor space and bandwidth, where should I go if there is no VPS? Where can I get a 500Mhz Pentium 3 with 128Mb memory these days, since even the cheapest Celeron is overkill for me?

    VPS makes sense for the dedicated server providers and data centres. It is much more efficient to fit 10 VPS clients onto a dual Xeon Woodcrest that takes 2RU, than fitting 10 cheap Celeron boxes onto the rack. It will be cheaper too, and hopefully the saving can be passed onto customers.

    Like what Tim said:

    Quote Originally Posted by timdorr
    The whole purpose of virtualization is increased density, not a decrease.
    Sure. You can probably fit more websites and make it denser by running shared hosting on the same piece of hardware. Again, I see VPS as replacement of low-end dedicated server, NOT quality non-overselling non-overloading shared hosting. Except the later is hard to come by these days.

    Scott

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by ldcdc
    From what I noticed, leaving the performance aside, the VPSs have a market because they are lower priced than dedicated servers, and there's also the benefit of having them fully managed. People just find themselves cornered by the need to get out of shared hosting, budget restrictions and a lack of server administration skills, and the VPS becomes the almost obvious choice. Sure, they are sometimes misrepresented, but, hey, just look at the budget shared hosting market and you'll see the mother of all misrepresenations.
    Note that there are a lot of self-managed VPS-solutions out there

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by ylsy
    I agree with extras.

    I don't think VPS is necesarily a "step up" from shared hosting. Instead, it is providing a lower-cost solution to those who would have gone for a dedicated server.
    Isn't what you write just that, an upgrade from a shared hosting environment?!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ylsy
    I agree with extras.

    I don't think VPS is necesarily a "step up" from shared hosting. Instead, it is providing a lower-cost solution to those who would have gone for a dedicated server.

    Not all dynamic sites are PHP/ASP and cpanel/plesk friendly, as there are a lot of customised web applications out there, which require customised server setup. If I don't need the CPU power, nor space and bandwidth, where should I go if there is no VPS? Where can I get a 500Mhz Pentium 3 with 128Mb memory these days, since even the cheapest Celeron is overkill for me?

    VPS makes sense for the dedicated server providers and data centres. It is much more efficient to fit 10 VPS clients onto a dual Xeon Woodcrest that takes 2RU, than fitting 10 cheap Celeron boxes onto the rack. It will be cheaper too, and hopefully the saving can be passed onto customers.

    Like what Tim said:


    Sure. You can probably fit more websites and make it denser by running shared hosting on the same piece of hardware. Again, I see VPS as replacement of low-end dedicated server, NOT quality non-overselling non-overloading shared hosting. Except the later is hard to come by these days.

    Scott
    Scott -

    Thanks for the reply. I agree 100% with your opinion on VPSs.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henrik
    Isn't what you write just that, an upgrade from a shared hosting environment?!
    A low end dedicated server replacement VPS is not necessarily "better" than a high quality shared hosting sitting behind load balancing clusters, because:

    - A shared hosting cluster has much more burstable CPU time and other resources.
    - It is more managed.

    However you can run a DNS slave on a low-end VPS, which you'll never be able to do on a high-end shared hosting.

    Scott

  22. #22
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    I am one of those who jumped on the VPS train hoping to get better performance, but after using it for a while now, I really think that I made a mistake and that it is a marketing hype!

    Reasons:

    1. Many VPS hosts do oversell their machines (the only one that I know which does not do this is Liquidweb), and remember that all VPS customers are "usually" high-traffic / heavy-load generator customers

    2. You can allocate/control amount of memory, and even CPU (no idea how you guarantee this when oversold, which is another story), but NOT I/O. And, if someone else on the server hijacks I/O, you are pretty much screwed!... As we all know, I/O is usually the bottleneck for web applications / mysql and as I experienced it first hand, no matter how much memory/disk you have, you are in deep trouble when this happens.

    3. Low-cost VPS have so little resources that it is not so much better than a good shared hosting (and some even try to run mail server, spam assassin, dns server, etc. etc. on those), and high-end alternatives are almost as expensive as dedicated, e.g. LiquidWeb VPS II is $100, and a celeron at ServerMatrix is $109.

    In my case, I had serious problems with Liquidweb even though I had VPS II, and the level of incompetency of their admins was overwhelming for me. Even though I was using about only 70% of MY resources (ram, etc.), all my sites were crawling from time to time due to amazingly slow disk operations during these times. I opened 3-4 tickets about this, in the last ticket (which pulled the trigger for me) they blamed me for causing this, but when I told them that I monitor the load on a regular basis, they were like maybe VPS is not for you Anyways...

    As I mentioned a few times before:

    1. If you have some hobby sites, go with cheap shared, e.g. hostingzoom/hostgator/etc.

    2. If you need a "stable" site that acquires good amount of traffic, but not a lot, use solid services like Futurequest!

    3. If you are getting serious amount of traffic, you are probably generating enough money to pay for dedicated, so go for dedicated!
    Last edited by dcabbar; 11-08-2006 at 01:02 AM.

  23. #23
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    That's the kind of insight I was hoping for - my team and I feel like our time is better spent providing solid, high-performance shared hosting over VPS solutions.

  24. #24
    That depends on your provider, I can say that the provider I'm with for VPS is having (according to the server stats) around 10% utilization at a maximum.

    About the disk I/O I agree with you fully!

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by utropicmedia-karl
    It's not - I am trying to decide if my team has a reason to offer it.



    Regards,
    They probably shouldn't if they don't understand it well enough to answer these questions for you. There are more than enough mediocre VPS providers out there who are just jumping on buzzword bandwagons in search of a buck as it is.
    Last edited by Engelmacher; 11-08-2006 at 04:35 AM.

  26. #26
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    Like a lot of WHT discussions there is some confusion of issues - particularly between marketing, current generally available plans and what the different systems are capable of offering.

    I can think of very few instances where I would want a VPS. Generally, I would prefer a dedicated or a shared.

    On the other hand, many hosts have a tiered approach where shared is at the bottom, VPS is for users too big for shared and Dedicated is for bigger users still.

    I may have a very large site, I may prefer it to be on a powerful shared server but I know that most shared hosts will not be able to meet that need - not because they can't, but because their idea is that the next step is a VPS. Organising a big site on a shared server will mean discussions with the host and agreement about what the needs of the site are and how the host will deal with various situations that might arise - as well as agreement about price.

    In some ways a VPS is a shorthand for this discussion since it specifies (in a relatively rigid way) how many resources will be available to the site. But it brings with it a way of setting it up & managing it that I probably don't want to handle.

    As a few have commented, an appropriate use for a VPS is for people and sites that want the control that are available on a Dedicated but don't have the money or need the quantity of resources for a whole server.

    It seems to me that switching to a VPS, when the problem is that a site is "too big" for a shared plan, is an inappropriate use for a VPS, even though it is all that is available with many hosts.

    A VPS is just a different way of sharing a server between accounts. It can't pack as many sites in as a shared account but that does not mean that a shared account can't be as big as a VPS. You can have a server with 2 shared accounts or 2 VPS accounts. It's just a question of what hosts offer and what customners realise is possible.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Engelmacher
    They probably shouldn't if they don't understand it well enough to answer these questions for you. There are more than enough mediocre VPS providers out there who are just jumping on buzzword bandwagons in search of a buck as it is.
    I agree, though it is not as if we would have a VPS package posted tomorrow
    We are very much in analysis right now - the comments on this thread in addition to speaking with SwSoft reps has provided good information.

  28. #28
    The performance aspect of a VPS offering is very much dependent on how heavily loaded the server is. Performance issues aside, I find the fact that (assuming I get a VPS that can stand up to the load I give it), I can customize my server to be exactly what I want it to be. When other people are getting 256 meg servers and wondering how apache will behave and whether they need burst memory, I'm using lighttpd on a 64 meg VPS. I'm throwing out that which I don't need, and slimming my memory use. This is a luxury that you just don't get on a shared server, and I'm willing to pay for it. It also ends up helping my performance.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by minsight
    I find the fact that I can customize my server to be exactly what I want it to be. When other people are getting 256 meg servers and wondering how apache will behave and whether they need burst memory, I'm using lighttpd on a 64 meg VPS. I'm throwing out that which I don't need, and slimming my memory use.
    And this is exactly the sort of use that calls for a VPS.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dormouse
    And this is exactly the sort of use that calls for a VPS.
    And I think VPS providers should offer OS-app ready made combo like this to attract more customers.

    Also, hosts can provide VMware images of their setup so that client can easily develop/test things at home.
    It's not limited to VPS, but testing on VPS with limited memory might be less pleasant.
    It may also reduces the server load, somewhat.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by extras
    And I think VPS providers should offer OS-app ready made combo like this to attract more customers.
    Definitely.

    There's much higer margin in "application hosting", and they are great value-add to a typical web hosting service. There are heaps of apps out there that are difficult (or impossible) to install on shared hosting, and a dedicated server is overkill (+ too much trouble to manage). These are perfect use for VPS.

    For example, Zimbra? SugarCRM? You can put that into a single-purpose VPS, make that into an OS template, and start selling Zimbra-powered group collaboration/messaging hosting. Deploy that OS template into a free VPS slot and you are done!

    Or for developers - a VPS that hosts project management tools, bug tracking tools, Subversion, Trac, etc. Together with good offsite backups, small software shops will love to off load their development tools onto these single-purpose VPS.

    Scott

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