What you thought you knew has changed
In this era of cloud computing, servers might seem desperately old-fashioned – yet when you go to a cloud provider, their main offering will most likely be virtual servers, which must inevitably run on real hardware in a data center somewhere. Similarly, whether you are building hybrid cloud or its more inclusive sibling hybrid IT, you will need physical servers to run the private cloud and other local elements, whether that’s older applications, hypervisors, container frameworks, or whatever.
So while ‘the cloud’ gets the attention, servers still matter. At the same time though, there is the myth of the ‘industry-standard server’, typically visualized as one of dozens of identical flat boxes, all mounted into racks and with their lights flashing.
Yet servers – whether physical or virtual – come in a wide variety of configurations, with lists of optional extras. What cloud providers and server vendors alike know is that there is no such thing as a standard server: it can vary massively depending on service level requirements – and especially on the workload involved.
In this paper, we will discuss some of the many options available to the server buyer today and how these address different workload needs. We will also compare on-site, cloud and hybrid approaches, and ask what servers of the future might look like.
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Bryan Betts is sadly no longing with us. He worked as an analyst at Freeform Dynamics between July 2016 and February 2024, when he tragically passed away following an unexpected illness. We are proud to continue to host Bryan’s work as a tribute to his great contribution to the IT industry.