Most people know about the operating systems which Microsoft develops for the desktop. Microsoft Windows is currently the single most popular operating system on home computer systems. However, what many people do not know is that Windows extends far behind the needs of home users. The Windows operating system has been serving the needs of businesses for just as long as it has home users. In particular, Windows has a very strong presence in the server world.
Windows in a server environment has many of the same features which people have come to enjoy in the desktop offerings. In particular, a Windows virtual private server can provide one of the most user friendly experiences in the web hosting world. Many of the competing technologies are just as powerful, but use interfaces which are unfamiliar to most people. Windows virtual private servers, on the other hand, operate using methods that most people are already familiar with from their own computers.
The main difference between a Windows virtual private server and a traditional server comes down to something known as virtualization. This technology allows multiple servers to operate within a single piece of hardware. At one point, there was a general rule that one server would mean one piece of server hardware on a data center's rack. However, a virtual server is a software based server which runs inside of a larger hardware based server. The primary benefit is that one can then run multiple instances of servers within one single piece of hardware. So a single hardware server might actually have two, three, four, or more virtual servers running within it. This brings a number of benefits over a traditional server model. For an end user, one of the biggest is the fact that one can save a significant amount of money with it. While the software does cost money, it pales in comparison to the cost of the supercomputers required to run fast and reliable web servers. By using servers in a virtualized environment, the cost of hardware is kept to a minimum. The end result is far more cost effective service for the customer. However, with Windows virtual servers in particular there's additional benefits. Microsoft has put a lot of research into creating fast and robust virtualization technologies. Their platforms are able share and allocate resources in a very dynamic way. By working with resources this way, the servers are able to function at speeds very comparable to what one would find from a server only running a single operating system.
A Windows server will seem very similar to a Windows desktop at first. This user friendly design has always been very important to software developers working with Windows servers. However, the more one uses a Windows server the more differences will become apparent. One of the biggest comes down to stability. A Windows virtual server is going to be far more stable than a traditional desktop. Part of the reason for this comes down to drivers. These are the pieces of software which act as a bridge between hardware and the operating system. In general, this is also one of the biggest reasons for an operating system to crash. A Windows virtual server will be designed from the ground up to have fully compatible hardware. Additionally, the drivers the virtualized Windows system uses will all be virtual as well. Because they're simply an abstraction level on top of fully compatible hardware, they will bypass all the usual issues people have with software drivers. Additionally, software for other server operating systems often have special ports to Windows servers. This means that they're specially tailored to this environment on a very deep level. Software developed in this manner will run perfectly on a Windows server. However, the software might not function as well or in the same way within a desktop environment.