The Parallels of Hosting

Which virtualization technology would you choose if you owned a hosting company? The answer by those who do might surprise you.

Hosting companies have a host of choices when it comes to virtualization solutions for their customers: Citrix XenServer, VMware ESX/ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, Parallels Virtuozzo, KVM and Solaris Zones and. Bundled with Parallels Plesk Panel and Parallels Automation products, a Parallels Virtualization solution is exactly what the virtual doctor ordered for the majority of hosting companies and has become the de facto standard in that space.

The Parallels Products for Service Providers page provides the following information:

“Parallels offers a full range of virtualization and automation software for all stages of a service provider’s lifecycle. Our solutions are used by more than 10,000 hosting providers and their customers worldwide to deliver optimized hosting services based on Parallels Virtuozzo Containers, Parallels Plesk, and Parallels Automation products.”

Mulling Options

Hosting providers face incredible competition to attract new customers and retain existing ones. They have to provide easy, automated service setup at a great price because these days it’s just too easy to surf away to another provider’s site in search of better deals or more services. Bargain hunters will find prices ranging from $19 US per month to as much as $99 US (or more) per month depending on how much RAM, disk space and bandwidth fill their service needs.

Pondering Parallels

Once I realized that most of the world’s hosting providers use Parallels products, I began my quest to find out why. What I found, is that Parallels is hosting business friendly. They understand that providers need automated services, optimal virtual machine performance and the ability to price services competitively. Parallels products do all this and more for the provider.

New customers always have the same question, “Is this kind of a ‘shared’ setup secure?” The answer is yes. Parallels’ solution isolates your virtual server and services from all other systems that share the host system’s underlying hardware and software. If you understand the concept of BSD “jails” then you’ll understand this related concept without issue.

The way it works is simple: Operating system files that can be shared, are shared. Those that can’t be shared are created in the virtual machine’s space so that customization per virtual machine is possible. Shared files are provided as links to the original files. Each virtual machine is isolated from all others maintaining security, fault and process isolation. In other words, if your virtual machine crashes, it won’t crash all other virtual machines on the same virtual host.

This type of environment is typical in the Unix and Linux worlds but is somewhat foreign to Windows aficionados but works in the same general way for both operating systems.

Browsing Providers

A simple web search of “Virtual Private Server” or “Virtual Machine Hosting Providers” brings a list of hundreds of possibilities. I’ve listed a few here (All Parallels-based hosting) for your convenience beginning with 1and1.com, billed as the world’s largest web hosting provider that also provides e-commerce, dedicated servers and virtual private servers to its customers. 1and1.com has 24×7 support, 99.9% uptime, affordable pricing, lots of free applications and self-service administrative tools.

Windows hosting and everything that comes with it can be yours at hostmysite.com—a Microsoft Gold Certified Windows web hosting partner. Unlike some of the “beat to fit, paint to match” hosting providers out there who only offer a limited set of options, hostmysite.com specializes in custom solutions. They also offer similar Linux-based solutions.

Example Virtuozzo Providers

SolarVPS offers the full gamut of business and managed services plus dedicated Windows and Linux servers, virtual private Windows and Linux servers, UK-based services, Windows Dynamic Dedicated Servers and unmanaged virtual servers. Their pricing seems a bit higher until you realize that your package includes more dedicated IP addresses, more bandwidth, more administrative tool choices and more disk space than other similar services.

Some of the least expensive hosting for Virtual Private Servers (Linux and Windows) that you’ll find anywhere waits for you at webintellects.com. They offer four (CentOS, Fedora, SUSE, Debian), not one, Linux choice for your VPSs. They also offer your choice of control panels, liberal bandwidth and memory allocations and big discounts for those who pay for a year’s service in advance.

Virtual Private Servers a al Parallels bring you the highest uptimes, lowest cost dedicated services and happiest customers of any web hosting offering in the business. Since Parallels makes it easy to provide excellent service and support at a great price, you’ll find a loyal customer base among hosting companies as well—most would never consider changing to another vendor. After surveying the Virtual Private Server business, I’d have to say that the consensus is that Parallels is unparalleled in this market.

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