I assume you're currently in a shared environment with those server specs (the Quad Xeon with 8GB RAM). With that number of customers and that low of a load, I'd say the server you're on right now is doing pretty well. However, seeing how you're on an "unmetered" plan, I think things are bound to change soon unless your provider knows how to control the number of accounts on each server so that overloads and poor performance takes over - depends how much you pay though.
Getting a VPS is like having a slice of a fully dedicated server to yourself. You get dedicated resources which means you'll be able to use them to it's full extent. You'll also be able to have more control over your server - installing your own software, applications, adjusting server configurations, etc.
At the moment I think the reseller hosting account may be better since the server you're on seems to be less populated but this is bound to change. You will eventually see the need to move to a VPS or dedicated server.
I doubt you will be able to effectively support 500 customer with 512-1GB of RAM. We have 4 GB in most of our servers and cap them off around 500 accounts. They just don't run well with more than 500 accounts on 4GB of RAM. Memory is going to you be largest bottleneck.
maybe I'm missing something but no one is talking about handling 500 customers on 512mb/1GB. The OP states that he currently has a shared reseller account (on a server that has 500 customers) and wants to know how his current performance would be on a 512MB dedicated/1024 burst VPS.
Well I'm kinda wondering what's better and why? What do you suggest?
I have currently unmetered reseller hosting (Quadro XEON server with 8GB ram) where is 500 customers and load is like 0.13-1.10 average (great performance really).
Will be performance worse on VPS with this spec: DUAL XEON 3.06GHZ 533FSB w/HYPERTHREADING, 50GB disk, 512MB and 1GB burstable ram, 500GB of BW
THANKS everyone for help!
What type of customers/sites are these? If it is just very very basic html accounts maybe it would work but I would at least consider 768 MB guaranteed or even 1 GB guaranteed of RAM.
Most VPS hosts are flexible, so maybe start at 512 just to see how it works and work up the ladder should it not meet your expectations.
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It will come down to your budget (512mb VPS isn't expensive) and the kind of clients you get. You may get some that are very resource intensive and run a lot of database / dynamic applications that chew up your resources, or you may get static websites (as mentioned above) that allow you to stretch yor limit.
Upgrading a VPS and it's resources is very simple. Then when it's time to go over to a dedicated server, this can be done live and on the fly without any loss of data and down time.
Basically start off as small and cost effective as possible and build you're way up, your hosting solutions are very flexible too.
You're post wasn't so clear - but if you want to put those 500 customers onto a VPS from a dedicated server, they will feel the difference. And performance of that server will depend on the other VPS clients as well.