CPU (Central Processing Unit)
To explain server resources, we should first start with where every process on a computer starts, the CPU. The CPU of any computer is the brain behind any operation. The number of CPUs (Central Processing Units) your server has can be critical to its overall performance. It allows operating systems and applications to run, and the more CPU cores you have, the better your server will perform.
A typical virtual server may start with 2 CPU cores. For a light user count and light daily workload, such as a single user working within a single application all day, that CPU count would be more than sufficient. However, with a higher volume of users accessing the server and multiple applications needing to be run simultaneously, the CPUs may become strained, causing the performance of that server to suffer. As is the case with any piece of the server resources puzzle, talking to an expert and explaining your use case would be the best way to determine the optimal configuration for your business.
Often confused with “Memory” (a.k.a: RAM), the amount of storage space on your server is critical to its’ overall performance. The hard drive on your server, or any computer for that matter, is where all your information is stored. This could be anything from your server’s operating system to the documents and files you may need to perform daily tasks. How much space is available on your hard drive correlates to the number of files you can store on it. The more free space you can keep available, the quicker your server will find those files for you to access and edit them.
When a hard drive starts to get full of information, it can begin to slow down your server’s performance. The best way to think of a hard drive and how it relates to performance is to picture going up a set of stairs with a backpack on your back. If you only have a few things in your bag, you can get up the set of stairs with about the same amount of effort as it would take you with no backpack at all. However, if your backpack is full, its weight will cause you to put in more effort to get to the top of the stairs. While you will still make it to the top, it will take you longer to get there, and you’ll probably be a lot more tired than you would be if you still had room in your backpack. Storage space can be thought of the same way. The more free space you have, the quicker your servers’ hard drive will be able to sift through its contents and find the file you want to access.
Much like CPU and all other server resources, how much storage space you may need is dependent on how you use your server. If you would like to store all your files and applications on your server, you will likely need more storage space. For current Summit Hosting customers, the server admin is able to see how much space your server has available and where things may need to be cleaned up. Clients also have the option to submit a ticket with our team, and we can perform an evaluation of your server resources for a one-time fee. Our team of experts will go through your server to see how much storage space you currently have and where it might be being used. They can also advise how much storage space you may want to add to get the best performance possible from your server.
RAM (Random Access Memory)
Finally, RAM. Random Access Memory is the full name for “RAM” or “Memory.” It’s an integral piece to the puzzle regarding your server resources and how well your server performs. To put it simply, RAM is where your server stores a cache of information to help your applications open and run quickly. Each time you open any application or perform a task on your server, it caches that information into your RAM. This allows it to remember those actions and execute them quicker the next time you make them. The more RAM your server has, the more your server will remember at once.
RAM is one of the most easily expandable server resources. While it does come at an added cost, it can often extend the life of your server as opposed to purchasing an entirely new one altogether. How much RAM your server would need to run at its best is dependent on your current business needs. Things such as how many users log into your server, which applications you need to run, and how many of those applications need to be used simultaneously can all factor into how much RAM would be required.
These three types of server resources are the most commonly upgraded pieces of hardware on any computer or server, whether virtual or in-house. While there is really no such thing as having too much of any of these server resources, there does come the point where your configuration already allows for you to get the maximum amount of performance out of the server you are currently using.
If you’re not sure if your current configuration is optimized for your use case, contact one of our experts today. For existing customers, we’ll perform a free evaluation of your server. For those of you who may not be part of the Summit Hosting family but have questions about how hosting your applications in the cloud can help grow your business, our team is always here to help and answer any questions you may have.