How Well Are You Managing?
If you are responsible for the performance of a high-traffic Web site, you no doubt need to be operating in a reliable, dedicated server environment. In order to be reliable, the dedicated server or cluster you are renting must be properly managed whether you do it in-house or outsource. This would include management of hardware, operating systems, applications, E-commerce, security, data backup, disaster recovery, reporting, monitoring, database management, Virtual Private Networks (VPN), connectivity, bandwidth and load balancing. It’s a lot to stay on top of 24/7/365. Managed Hosting means your dedicated hosting provider is not only renting you servers but is also providing system administration for some or all of these management issues.
All things considered, it’s really hard to find a downside to professional Managed Hosting services if you choose a good provider. To begin with, Managed Hosting can be extremely cost effective and a good value for small to medium sized businesses with a busy or rapidly growing Web site. By turning over responsibility for system administration to your Managed Hosting provider, you avoid the need for costly internal resources such as a highly skilled IT staff. Of course, how you determine the value of managed services may depend on how quickly and efficiently your Managed Host responds to your needs and support issues. A slow response wouldn’t be any better – and maybe worse than being short staffed internally during times of heavy administration needs. It’s safe to say that a good Managed Host will be in tune with how mission critical their job is and knows that technical support – not just technology – is the most important thing they can deliver for their customers.
The biggest advantage of Managed Hosting may be the flexibility it allows businesses to have their Web site operation costs. Keep that in mind as you choose or negotiate terms of service with your provider. Make sure the plan you are getting is competitive – do some intelligent comparison shopping before you sign up. The cost of Managed Hosting varies greatly depending on what you need so here are some of the main choices that will need to be made: · Operating System (Unix, Linux, Windows NT, etc.) and System Type · Server hardware options such as CPU, Memory, backup, number of IP addresses, bandwidth · Software Configurations such as SSL, MySQL/PHP and control panels · Firewall and Security Options · Number of VPN users
How well a prospective Managed Host helps you figure out exactly what you’ll need may be a good indication of how responsive they will be down the road. Also, ask your prospective Managed Host for details on their connectivity and uptime track record. Is their Network Operations Center (NOC) in the USA? The answer needs to be “yes” if you want the fastest, most reliable connection. What about money back guarantees – do they offer any on their services?
If you aren’t sure what you need, how do you know if it’s the right time for Managed Hosting? For many companies, the answer lies in how well they are keeping up with their growing server needs. If you are feeling the need to expand your internal IT resources, it’s probably a good time to explore your Managed Hosting options. Or better yet, don’t wait for a bottleneck before you get up to speed on what’s available to you.