Virtual vs. Physical Server – Which One is Right for You?

Virtual vs. Physical ServerVirtualization is a very popular way to build your IT structure. Many companies are choosing cloud and virtual servers over a physical server for their business applications. However, this may not be the right choice for your company.

In some cases, the need for a physical server and the benefits it provides completely outweigh the advantages gained from a virtual or cloud server. Some IT directors will only use physical machines because of the reliability and efficiency.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation and every business is different. Depending on your specific needs, you may want a physical server or you may want a virtual server. It all depends on your goals. Here are some of the things to consider before making your final decision.


For most businesses, the main deciding factor will be cost. You have a budget you must stick to and you may not have enough cash to support physical servers. Virtualization is often chosen to save you money, but there are exceptions to this rule.

The cost for physical servers depends on how many you need to support the traffic you will receive and your data storage needs. It’s important to look at the actual cost of what you need when it comes to both physical and virtual servers. In some cases, those needing multiple servers to support a high traffic site will actually spend less on physical servers than virtual or cloud servers.

Data space and network costs can be very expensive in the cloud environment. If you have a spike in traffic, it can make the overall cost of your virtual servers very expensive. A spike in traffic, with the right physical server set up, won’t cost you anything extra, in most cases.


Physical ServerAnother huge factor to consider for businesses deciding between virtual and physical servers is performance. If you take two physical servers and you virtualize one of them, the regular server will always out-perform the virtualized one. There’s a performance penalty for virtualizing.

However, when you take them out of the one-on-one comparison, the efficiency of the virtualized server is always going to be better. Dedicated servers only run at about 30% to 50% of their capacity. This leaves a buffer for traffic spikes, while a virtualized server will use close to 100% of the resources.

Your needs may determine the performance necessary for your business. If you run an ecommerce website and one minute of downtime or slow time could cost you hundreds of dollars, your decision is quite different compared to a company not selling products or services directly on their website.


Virtual ServerMaybe you run a company using and collecting sensitive information on a regular basis. Security may be one of your biggest concerns. When looking at the security of a virtual server compared to a physical server, the physical server will always win. You won’t be sharing the resource with anybody else and there are many factors to consider with the security of a virtual server.

There are several important factors to consider when choosing between physical and virtual servers for your business. These three are the main deciding factors for most companies and you must take them into consideration first.