Fasthosts Debuts Virtual Server Range

Fasthosts targets UK firms’ growing appetites for virtual server solutions, featuring Hyper-V technology and customisable RAM, CPU and disk space

Web hosting provider, Fasthosts has today introduced a new range of virtual servers that hopes to capitalise on a growing appetite among UK firms for more flexible, cost-effective and energy-efficient compute power.

It said its recent survey of 500 UK firms found that over one third (39 percent) are already using or expect to be using a virtual server solution in the coming year.  Steve Holford, Fasthosts chief marketing officer, said this suggested that companies were becoming increasingly aware of virtualised solutions as an option.  “A virtual server is an accessible and compelling means for a business to begin exploring ‘cloud’ type services without compromising on performance or security.  The economies delivered by virtualisation are ideal for rapidly growing businesses,” he said.

Clive Longbottom, business processes facilitation service director for analyst firm, Quocirca said the benefits of hosted virtual servers were well known. “The use of virtualisation in massive hosting farms is something we’ve been pushing for a long time, so it’s nice to see Fasthosts now doing it.”

He added: “A one app/one physical server approach leads to utilisation rates of around 10 percent. By going for virtualisation in this way, it is possible for a hosting company to exceed 60 percent easily and even push 80 percent.  Therefore, it is a more sustainable way of running a data centre. It also minimises power costs along with cooling, so enables overall costs to be controlled – giving Fasthosts more profit while still charging customers a lot less that a dedicated server would be.”

The new Fasthosts virtual server range is designed to scale with the changing needs of businesses, where RAM, CPU, disk space, and IP addresses can all be determined by the user and dynamically adjusted. The said customers can select from a range of suggested configurations or design a server by choosing capacity, processor power and control settings at order, and are free to modify these at any point in time without losing data or functionality.

By re-adjusting their server configurations, Fasthosts said the user only need pay for the resources they need, so saving money and helping the environment by running on the latest, most energy-efficient systems, powered by dedicated RAM and Intel Xeon Quad-Core processors, without paying for the capital infrastructure investment up-front. The customer will also get free resource monitoring via the virtual server’s user control panel for measuring CPU, RAM, disk space and network usage in real-time, and so keep an accurate check on compute requirements.

Holford added that Hyper-V was well suited to Fasthosts’ network and connectivity. “As a long-standing expert for Microsoft web hosting, we have taken our time to invest in and develop a range of virtual servers that deliver the performance and strength traditionally only seen with dedicated server hardware,” he added.

The range also features Microsoft’s Windows 2008 R2 operating system (OS), remote access and resource monitoring that, when combined with Fasthosts’ connectivity and unlimited bandwidth, promises to deliver greater agility and efficiency associated with virtualised servers running in a hosted environment.

The use of the latest Microsoft server OS featuring its hypervisor-based, Hyper-V technology has also enabled Fasthosts to base its virtual servers offering on Microsoft Dynamic Data Centre architecture, which it said allowed for dedicated resourcing that adapts dynamically and can be upgraded or reconfigured easily.

Users have access to their clustered servers, which provide automatic failover combined with RAID disk arrays, via a remote desktop connection and can apply the Parallels PLESK 9 Control Panel, for effective deployment and server management. Packages also include Windows Platform Installer 2.0, which the provider said would enable the implementation of the latest Windows compatible applications.

Longbottom added that dynamic provisioning of resource is just what organisations need: “No more having to do fork-lift upgrades of hardware when running out of resources – just apply more virtual CPU/memory/storage/bandwidth,” he said. “And if the application image itself becomes the problem, spin up an extra image and use dynamic load balancing.”

Fasthosts’ virtual server range offers a choice of up to four virtual CPUs, RAM ranging from 1GB to 16GB and a hard-disk space of up to 1TB with 100Mbps connectivity and unlimited bandwidth.  An entry-level server package with 1 vCPU, 1GB RAM and 80GB hard disk is priced at £29.32 per month (excluding VAT) through a number of contract options.

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