Building The Case For Managed Hosting

In today’s web hosting world, enterprise customers typically have four options to choose from:
• Managed Hosting – In a managed environment, the web host handles things like data backups, server hardening and regular patches, daily maintenance, performance server monitoring and proactive 24×7 software/hardware support.
• Unmanaged Hosting – In an unmanaged environment, the host provides the hardware, power, and network connection but may not supply much else, with the remainder of the management burden falling on you, the customer.
• Cloud Hosting – In a cloud environment, you worry primarily only about your site or application and leave all details about the underlying hardware/software environment and configuration to the cloud hosting provider.
• Colocation – In a collocated environment, your business has a more direct partnership with the hosting provider in that you own the hardware, perhaps even set it up and monitor it, but they are responsible for network, power, and cooling, along with perhaps some on-site support.
When comparing managed and unmanaged hosting pricing, the managed hosting route will always be more expensive given the time and resources it takes to professionally manage a server farm and any associated network infrastructure (switches, load balancing, etc.). If you are trying to decide between the options, pricing is obviously going to be a serious concern for most businesses. However, the thought process behind how critical the environment is to your business and how much the support is worth is just as important as the initial pricing consideration.
Beyond managing the basics needed to such ensure maximum uptime, a good managed host should act as a part of your own IT department. There should be a good line of communication with your host and they should be willing and capable of providing suggestions to improve your website’s performance from a hosting perspective. With complex web hosting setups, such as clustering and load balancing, having the perspective of an experienced managed host is vital to operations.
If the site you are hosting is an e-commerce site which is the lifeblood of your business or you are hosting an application that is critical to your day-to-day business processes, it is important to consider not only the price of the managed hosting services but also the cost impact should you lose your site or your applications for hours, days, or even weeks due to a security breach or some unplanned hardware or network failure. You should also factor in the cost to your business of the services provided as part of the managed hosting plan and determine what it would cost your business to perform those tasks in-house, if they are indeed deemed to be important enough to be required. When adding together the internal costs plus the downtime or service disruption costs, many businesses find that the managed hosting route is actually the most cost-effective.