? It's a decision that can be reached in many different ways. You may have a complex application that's delivered over the internet, you may have a company server on its last legs, or you may be managing a fast growing startup that's maxing capacity on a shared web hosting account. The end result is the same- you're ready for a dedicated server. So what's next? With the wide variety of managed dedicated and virtual server packages available, it takes a little planning to make sure you get the server that's right for you. There are two fundamental questions you need to answer when evaluating dedicated server options and they are very much tied to each other. What will you be using your server for, and do you want a Windows or a Linux operating system? For some functions, like serving web pages, either Windows or Linux will perform admirably. Both the UNIX based Apache web server and Microsoft's Internet Information Server have been driving millions of websites for many years. For more specific applications, a Windows or Linux environment will be a requirement. Make a thorough list of what software needs to run on your dedicated server and make sure you are choosing the right OS. It's a good idea to include any other system requirements in this shopping list. You don't want to be installing an application to your new server only to discover you didn't get enough RAM. With a managed dedicated server, you won't be responsible for such things as installing and patching the operating system, booting and restarting the server, and other maintenance and management tasks. It's a good idea though to have some familiarity with the operating system you choose, unless you plan on having a 100% hands off approach. Windows and Linux take different approaches to things like file systems, root directories, and other standard conventions, and understanding the OS you're using can make things easier. Remember too that a large benefit of a managed dedicated server is the level of support you receive, so be sure to take advantage of that. As with the quality of support, your managed dedicated server will give you access to a host of other services. These will include such things as managed backup, managed firewalls and load balancers, and hosted applications like Microsoft Exchange and Sharepoint. The enterprise class services that a top end provider can deliver give you unbeatable availability and performance at a fraction of the cost it would take to do in house. Dedicated hosting gives you an unprecedented amount of power, flexibility, and control. Dedicated hosting adds value to budget line items, both in cost savings as well as through leveraging add on services that improve both internal operations and the external user experience. In an age where outsourcing is critical to successful business plans, dedicated hosting can be a difference maker.