Any business with a technology presence has to decide upon the best hosting solution at some point. Often this choice comes down to the differences between managed hosting and a colocation. Either way, these options have significant pros and cons that must be put into serious consideration before deciding on the optimum strategy for your business.
Managed hosting refers to a situation where the data center team is dedicated to a managing your environment. This hosting platform often provides both the hardware and infrastructure to the client, but most importantly it provides a fully managed solution. Clients have lots of server options and can even choose their preferred operating system including backups and firewalls. Managed hosting requires that an administrator is always on hand to monitor and provide solutions that ensure smooth running of your business system and full support.
A colocation model on the other hand, is the hosting solution where you provide the equipment and host it in a data center’s environment. As the owner of the equipment, you are responsible for maintaining the operation and administration of all aspects of it. The data center will provide a secure location to house your equipment, ample bandwidth to meet your needs, with power and proper cooling to house your servers in their location.
Aside from the aforementioned, you should consider the following pro’s and con’s when considering a managed hosting solution vs. a colocation approach:
Pros and cons of managed hosting
- The user can count on optimal performance and speed as well as unlimited access to a server
- Deployments are much faster with managed hosting, minimizing downtime and initial project costs
- Choosing managed hosting means that all your IT needs are catered for without the need to hire dedicated staff
- The data center administrators can manage all upgrades, updates and closely monitor your system with real-time accuracy
- Managed hosteing solutions are typically very secure and utilize advanced tools to ensure compliance with various standards
- The services can be seen as more expensive than other solutions, and understandably so. Managed hosting takes the burden of operating your infrastructure off your plate, and puts it in the capable hands of experienced engineers and technicians. However, often if you consider the time and manpower costs of operating your own equipment and staff, the costs will balance out.
- When another organization manages your IT infrastructure, it is imperative that the proper on-boarding techniques are followed and that the managing partner understands your business and technology needs. Any provider you work with should take ample time in the discovery phase of your business and technical environment, and should fully understand the layout and flow of data inside your network.
- Some hosts might not give full administrative access to your accounts. Be sure you understand this, as access to your data is likely critical to your business.
- Not all managed hosting is the same, and occasionally platforms are proprietary. Make sure you are not locked in with the provider who manages your network. Ensure that your servers can be fully migrated to another platform easily. With the advent of virtualization, this should not be an issue for managed hosting providers.
Pros and Cons of a colocation
- A Colocation is often a good choice when you already have a primary location for your infrastructure and need a secondary location for redundancy.
- A colocation can be an excellent option as a failover site, or when upgrading your primary location.
- If you have already invested in sound infrastructure but lack the proper facilities to house it, a colocation can be a good solution if you have the IT staff to manage it.
- This might not be the best choice for companies without existing infrastructure as there are some high initial costs involved.
- It is not ideal for all types of companies as it comes with an added risk of poor deployment and managing another set of assets.
- If you lack the proper IT staff to implement and manage the colocation, it can have disastrous results on your business.
- As the owner of the equipment, you must both maintain it and administer it. This can prove to be challenging as you not only need to keep your environment up to date, and highly redundant, but also secure.
Bottom line, don’t let price be the only guide as this doesn’t necessarily translate to quality. A managed service solution might be expensive, but when compared to the potential mismanagement of your businesses technology, or improper deployment, you will find the costs to be fair considering the potential loss of business.
Consider the size, needs, and capabilities of your venture to choose the best between managed hosting or a colocation. Avoid losses that might arise from choosing the wrong hosting solution by working with a vendor that focuses on your business needs and understands your technology. Choosing the right solution can allow you to spend time focusing on your business and not its technology