Managed Hosting – Why or Why Not?

 

Multiple racks of servers

When is managed hosting the right option? When you have needs that go beyond what you’d get from a typical hosting account but don’t yet have funds to bring in IT employees to maintain servers. Managed hosting allows you to have your own dedicated server but not have to consider its upkeep each day.

A dedicated server is a sign that your business is building its Web presence effectively. If you have the traffic, you will want to consider switching to a dedicated server. It is better to consider this option sooner rather than later so that you are releasing the bandwidth taken up by increasing visitors.

Mismanaged hosting, popular at TGI Friday’s, relates to sitting another party in Rebecca’s section when Tammy just reminded Angela (the host) that she is supposed to get the next table. In the IT world, it is also offered at our competitors under the name “managed hosting.”

Dedicated Server On-Site

Technical proficiency is needed to manage a dedicated server correctly. If a company does not have an IT department, often the owner or a manager will not have a high enough degree of understanding and will need to hire either an independent contractor or the hosting professionals to assist. If a contractor is chosen, the person of course may not be immediately available during an emergency.

If you do have a dedicated server in-house, you certainly want to consider having someone on-staff trained in IT maintenance – to ensure uptime, a fully secure network, and patching software as needed. Poorly managed sites, just like poorly managed restaurants, can result in disaster. The former can result in your customers being fed malware when they visit your site, and the latter can result in Tammy storming out right as her two-top’s warm pretzels with craft beer-cheese dipping sauce is showing up at the server window. Neither of these scenarios is good for business.

The Managed Hosting Option

With managed hosting, you have a technical team at the hosting center available every day to care for the upkeep of the hardware and software on your server. This support means no downtime without have to bring in a trained professional to assist you at your location. With managed hosting, your dedicated server comes along with dedicated expertise.

If you opt for managed hosting, you can expect not to have to worry about the administration of your network because that comes with the package. You have a 24/7 team watching for any problems that might arise.

In order to implement managed hosting in the IT world, you just need to sign up for it with us or the hosting company of your choice. In the restaurant world, unfortunately, you are going to have to fire Angela and rehire Vanessa, even though she said she was going to move to The Netherlands in April to marry that aimless guy she met online.

Managed Hosting Price Tag

Managed hosting costs more than standard hosting packages do, of course, because there is additional service involved. However, keep in mind the level of expertise that you are getting with your own dedicated server.

When considering managed hosting, if you want to cut your costs, you might want to look at a virtual private server (VPS). With a VPS, you do not get a dedicated server, ie standalone hardware, but you do have isolation of your company’s hosting in a way that’s not possible with shared hosting. When you choose the managed option, of course all support of the server is handled identically as with a managed dedicated plan.

Comparing costs for IT hosting options is always a review of the blend of hardware, software, and support that best fits your company. Comparing costs for restaurant hosting options needs to be run through the proprietary decision-making software corporate requires you to use before hiring or firing any employee.

Fully Managed – What it Means

“Fully managed” hosting has a different meaning for different hosting service providers – it’s essentially a vague term. A customer of one hosting service might have the experience of complete management, whereas a customer at another host might not feel that the IT service they are paying for is in fact “full.” As a general rule, a price tag that is exceptionally low but guarantees full management is too good to be true.

If a fully managed hosting plan is legitimate and can reasonably be described as such, your site will be granted the regular oversight of properly trained and skilled IT individuals. Consistent uptime will be your standard expectation. Technical difficulties will not plague your business. Once you have ordered this type of plan, you will be kept abreast of any new insights or changes – other than that, you are off the hook.

Fully managed hosting, as described above, comes with a range of service levels at different web hosting companies. At the TGI Friday’s on Market Street, it means that you are watching Vanessa like a hawk so she doesn’t derail your chances of earning the quarterly bonus and getting one step closer to going on the cruise to Puerto Rico.

Partial Managed – What it Means

You can probably guess what partial management of hosting involves. Of course with these plans, you need to take a close look to see exactly what you’re getting. Whereas you can have specific expectations with full management to be exempt from server concerns, partial hosting will require more attention from your end.

The potential benefit of partial management is that you will have more of a hands-on experience with the administration of your website. Of course, this is not necessarily what you want for your business. Ensure that you understand the level of support you will receive when contracting for a partial management plan.

Partial management with a web hosting service provider is a matter of you, the customer, and the host each playing a role in the management of the servers that run your site. If you agree to partial management at the restaurant, you can take your wife out on a date and save your marriage rather than obsessing over how Vanessa might let you down and ruin your career advancement to a regional director position.

Pros of Managed Hosting

A business that is small or medium sized but is on the rise can often benefit from managed hosting. It can also be wise for a startup that wants to get off the ground fast without having to deal with the potential snags of tight bandwidth on a shared plan and/or desire for support that needs to be on-demand rather than occasional.

Because downtime and security are such essential concerns of an online presence, managed hosting can be the ideal decision. Placing the support needs with the hosting service means you are releasing that task to a company that specializes in the servers and manages numerous other companies’ sites every day.

Additionally, a managed hosting package involves an entire server – whether an actual physical server or a virtual one (ie a VPS). When you are renting a whole physical server, you get a massive increase in the amount of bandwidth available to your site.

Security is vastly enhanced as well because you’re no longer sharing your server with other businesses. The same can be said, to a lesser extent, with a VPS. Virtualization technology means your site will be securely sectioned off from other sites, and you will still typically see a big improvement in bandwidth, though not to the same extent as you would with your own physical dedicated server.

When looking at web hosting management, you can hire IT experts to help your business function properly on the web via full or partial plans, allowing you to stop thinking about it. With restaurant hosting management, you can and should only stop thinking about it when the cruise ship leaves the dock in Miami and you have a chance to look Tom in the eye and tell him you’re ready to take it to the next level.

Cons of Managed Hosting

The most obvious con of managed hosting is that, as stated above, it will always cost more: you’re taking more of the administrative component and entrusting it to the hosting company. Consider, however, that the servers will need to be managed one way or another – it’s just a question of who does it, your company or the host.

Additionally, you need to be aware in a managed hosting situation exactly what your limitations are regarding data transfer and storage. When you break the limit, you will have additional fees. Of course, these limitations are typical to most hosting packages, but it is something to keep in mind when weighing your general options.

Managed web hosting is not all positive – you need to be aware of the increase in expense and whether that is justified by the increase in support, and additionally you need to consider limitations of any hosting contract, managed ones included. The con of managed restaurant hosting is that you’ve started gritting your teeth at night, and it’s given you TMJ; but if Tom recommends the steak, you’re going to eat it anyway, and you’re not going to wince, because that’s a sign of personal weakness.

Summary & Conclusion

When you look at administration of your web site, you have to decide whether it makes sense to house the server at your own location – which will probably require hiring or contracting an IT professional – or using managed hosting via your hosting service provider. If you decide that managed hosting makes sense, you can either go all-in with a fully managed package or try a partially managed option. Make sure if you choose partially managed that you know exactly what you’re getting in terms of support.

When you look at managed hosting as a solution, examine all the pros and cons to ensure you’re making the right decision. Essentially the pro is a simplified, structured, and dependable management solution put in the hands of professionals implementing those types of services each day. The con is that it’s an additional expense and, like most hosting solutions, involves caps on usage of the system, requiring monitoring to avoid overages.

Mismanaged IT hosting can let you down, but like mismanaged restaurant hosting, you will persevere. Keep your head down, stare hard at Vanessa, and hire a hacker to go into the Dutch guy’s Facebook account and make him look like a lunatic.

by Kent Roberts and Richard Norwood

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