Physical Vs Virtual Servers: A Comprehensive Guide

It’s important to evaluate the key differences between physical and virtual servers if you’re planning to build a robust and effective network infrastructure. Each of the servers has a different approach to running applications. Physical server is a tangible hardware that has the ability to run Operating system in one instance whereas a virtual server is a simplified version that replicates the function of physical servers and can be deployed on a single physical server.

Confused which server is the best fit for your business? This guide will help you make an informed decision.  

What is a Physical Server?

Physical server is a standalone piece of hardware that has its own motherboard, memory, CPU and interfaces. Some of the reasons why a physical server is an ideal option is when you need high computational power for running heavy applications. Being a standalone server, the physical server is isolated and doesn’t interfere with other applications. Lastly, resource allocation to specific applications is much more easily done. Physical server is targeted at clients who want high storage capacity, increased OS performance and minimize potential risks when using security-sensitive applications.

What is a Virtual Server?

Virtual server is an abstraction of a real server that mimics the operations of a physical computer. It can run multiple virtual machines simultaneously and each machine can run independently by using its own OS, storage, memory and computing resources therefore making it efficient and easily scalable. Virtualized servers can minimize the overall hardware costs and power consumption. Virtual server is targeted at clients who want to increase productivity without increasing the footprint and host web applications and testing environments.

Evaluating The Pros and Cons of Virtual Server vs Physical Server Benefits of Physical Server:

benifits of physical servers High Performance

High Performance

Because of their specialized hardware resources, physical servers outperform virtual servers. Since there is no external interference from other servers, it can improve your client’s application performance.

High Maintenance:

Physical servers must be maintained on a regular basis to reduce security risks, but troubleshooting is simplified because you just have to deal with one entity.

Full Control:

Total control over configuring or modifying settings to suit the requirements of clients is granted by physical servers.


Applications needing consistent performance benefit greatly from predictable resource availability and allocation on physical servers, which also leads to increased consistency and dependability.

Downsides of Physical Server Implementation:

Migrating between servers can be difficult and time-consuming. The installation calls for expert support.


Because physical servers require more physical space, power and cooling requirements, they are more expensive to buy, set up, run and maintain over time.


Compared to the smooth scalability of virtual servers, scaling operations with physical servers requires the purchase and setup of extra hardware, which is expensive and time-consuming.

We’ve listed down advantages of virtualizing servers below: Benefits of Virtual Servers

Easy Implementation:

Physical servers need a more involved setup procedure, whereas virtual servers are simple to build and operate immediately.


Virtual servers and software may be expensive to buy initially, but upgrades are less expensive, so in the long run, this is a more cost-effective alternative.

Easy Scalability:

Virtual servers are very flexible for clients with fluctuating workloads or growth phases since they can be easily scaled up or down.

Fast Recovery:

Regular backups and snapshots provided by a virtual machine server make disaster recovery and system restoration easier in an emergency.

Downsides of Virtual Servers Performance:

The efficiency and stability of services provided to clients may be slightly impacted by shared resources.

Security Risk:

Despite improvements, there are always risks that can arise, therefore clients should think about their needs in this area.

Choosing between physical and virtual servers is based on the client’s use case, budget, scalability requirements and performance expectations. 

If a client needs processing and volume optimization and has a heavy workload, a physical server is usually the best option. However, because of its low cost, simple setup and long-term flexibility, a virtual server is the perfect option if your customer is a startup or a small business. 

While some businesses decide between a real and virtual server, others might take a mixed strategy. This enables businesses to efficiently optimize overall performance, cost, and resource consumption while still utilizing the advantages of both solutions.  

Backup and Security Physical Server vs Virtual Server

backup and security

Remember their security and backup capabilities now that you have a better idea of the pros and cons of each of the servers. 

Physical Servers:

Physical servers have security settings that are specific to each server because of their design. When you take into account processing power, memory and the privacy of data that is kept, it can get more complex. It becomes crucial to recover vital data and activities in the event that a physical server is destroyed to reduce business downtime and prevent damage. Restoring an actual server may take several hours or even days. In order to be ready for any dangers, a disaster recovery plan should be created beforehand.

Virtual Servers

Because of new technologies such as Virtual Server Agent at the hypervisor layer, virtual servers generally allow more centralized security and management—a universal security architecture can be established and applied with ease. In a virtual environment, disaster recovery is far easier to implement. Virtual servers nearly never experience downtime when a disaster happens since backups of the complete VM can be used to restore it. Virtual Server Agent is installed on the computer that supports back up and recovery.

Use cases of physical servers Heavy applications

A physical server is always best for clients who utilize demanding, resource-intensive applications or systems that need specialized hardware or maximum performance. Clients who work with huge and complicated databases, scientific simulations, or 3D rendering software are a few examples of good use cases for a physical server.

Security sensitive tasks

Is your client’s commercial success dependent on their security, which should come first? The ideal candidates for physical servers are financial institutions, government agencies and healthcare organizations that handle extremely sensitive data.

Outdated systems

It may be difficult for clients with outdated technology, software, or systems to virtualize their IT infrastructure. In certain situations, maintaining physical servers rather than completely rebuilding the systems could be more cost-effective, provided that it aligns with their overall financial limits.

Use cases of virtual servers Evolving business models

Does your client’s business have a lot of flexibility and the capacity to change course quickly and suddenly? An e-commerce website is a typical example, as it is subject to erratic and unexpected changes all year long. Because of their flexible scaling characteristics, virtual servers are generally the most efficient way to handle these changes.

Use cases of virtual servers Evolving business models

Does your client’s business have a lot of flexibility and the capacity to change course quickly and suddenly? An e-commerce website is a typical example, as it is subject to erratic and unexpected changes all year long. Because of their flexible scaling characteristics, virtual servers are generally the most efficient way to handle these changes.

Development organizations

Does your client work on software or websites? Virtual servers are the best choice for development and testing needs in many cases since they provide flexibility of numerous testing and building environments.

Startups or projects with a lower budget

If your customer is under a lot of financial stress and isn’t ready to shoulder the extra expense of setting up physical servers, virtual servers are the best option. As a result, running several virtual machine servers can lower hardware and operating expenses.

Should You Use Hybrid servers?

Utilizing a mix of physical and virtual servers could be the most cost-effective solution for a lot of clients. Think about using a variety of servers if your customer has multiple needs, such as seamless scalability and enhanced security. Disaster recovery is yet another important factor to take into account. Organizations can increase overall security and resilience by combining physical and virtual servers. Finally, you should discuss migration and transition options with your clients. A gradual switch from current physical systems to virtualized servers may be the most effective way for some firms with outdated technology or procedures to reduce downtime and security threats.

Key Takeaway: Which Server Is Better?

To sum it up, Physical servers are the best option for heavy workloads due to their extensive performance. If volume and/or processing speed are your top priorities, physical servers should be your workhorses. In contrast, virtual servers are scalability experts. Virtual servers usually work better for organizations that need to add and remove resources on demand, especially when money is tight. That suits the more volatile needs of major organizations as well as startups. You can get infrastructure managed services from Zini Technologies, which could benefit your team far more than just keeping them compliant and concentrated on critical strategic projects and skill gaps.


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