Operating system support
Availability, price and employee familiarity often determines which operating systems are offered on dedicated servers. Variations of Linux (open-source operating systems), are often included at no charge to the customer. Commercial operating systems include Microsoft Windows Server, provided through a special program called Microsoft SPLA. Red Hat Enterprise is a commercial version of Linux offered to hosting providers on a monthly fee basis. The monthly fee provides OS updates through the Red Hat Network using an application called up2date. Other operating systems are available from the open source community at no charge. These include CentOS, Fedora Core, Debian, and many other Linux distributions or BSD systems FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD.
Support for any of the operating systems above typically depends on the level of management offered with a particular dedicated server plan. Operating system support may include updates to the core system in order to acquire the latest security fixes, patches, and system-wide vulnerability resolutions. Updates to core operating systems include kernel upgrades, service packs, application updates, and security patches that keep server secure and safe. Operating system updates and support relieves the burden of server management from the dedicated server owner.
Dedicated hosting server providers utilize extreme security measures to ensure the safety of data stored on their network of servers. Providers will often deploy various software programs for scanning systems and networks for obtrusive invaders, spammers, hackers, and other harmful problems such as Trojans, worms, and eggdrops (see "Limitations" below). Linux and Windows use different software for security protection.
Providers often bill for dedicated servers on a fixed monthly price to include specific software packages. Over the years, software vendors realized the significant market opportunity to bundle their software with dedicated servers. They have since started introducing pricing models that allow dedicated hosting providers the ability to purchase and resell software based on reduced monthly fees.
Microsoft offers software licenses through a program called the Service Provider License Agreement. The SPLA model provides use of Microsoft products through a monthly user or processor based fee. SPLA software includes the Windows Operating System, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SharePoint and shoutcast hosting, and many other server based products.
Dedicated Server Providers usually offer the ability to select the software you want installed on a dedicated server. Depending on the overall usage of the server, this will include your choice of operating system, database, and specific applications. Servers can be customized and tailored specific to the customer’s needs and requirements.
Other software applications available are specialized web hosting specific programs called control panels. Control panel software is an all inclusive set of software applications, server applications, and automation tools that can be installed on a dedicated server. Control panels include integration into web servers, database applications, programming languages, application deployment, server administration tasks, and include the ability to automate tasks via a web based front end.
Most dedicated servers are packaged with a control panel. Control panels are often confused with management tools, but these control panels are actually web based automation tools created to help automate the process of web site creation and server management. Control panels should not be confused with a full server management solution by a dedicated hosting provider.