Hosting refers to the provision of IT infrastructure – not in-house, but externally, usually in a specialized data center. Doing so also requires the support and administration of this system. And just as the physical hardware of the servers is often no longer in-house, the human resources for support are also external. This offer of additional services is called managed hosting. So, what is managed hosting? What types are available? What are the advantages and what does it cost? That is what we intend to explain in this review article.
Managed hosting refers to the combination of outsourced IT infrastructure and its administration and management. The extent to which the infrastructure support is delegated to an external provider or the extent to which the customer is still involved in operations is regulated by contract. This support covers several areas:
Managed hosting is therefore particularly interesting when the customer lacks the technical know-how or the human resources to take over the support and management of the IT infrastructure completely on its own.
Managed hosting is always a custom solution. Several types of technology are available and can be selected from when it comes to outsourcing.
Not only the underlying technologies differ. Managed hosting is mostly characterized by the management and service packages that are also booked. Managed hosting does not always mean fully managed – i.e. the solution in which the hosting provider takes over all management tasks (configuration, monitoring and operation). Agreements in which the host takes over only some parts of the operation and management while other areas remain the customer’s responsibility are also possible.
In recent years it has become apparent that automation is playing an increasingly important role both in terms of providing virtual servers and monitoring infrastructure. A customer panel allowing the customer to manage the automation of its IT infrastructure is often offered. Such self-management platforms are important in hosting solutions where the customer books the servers externally but manages them on its own. With managed hosting solutions, on the other hand, customer panels play a rather subordinate role. The customer usually has two advantages in this case: It gains insights into its booked services, such as information about network utilization or access numbers at different times. Customer panels also offer the option of ordering additional services in the self-service system. This is especially interesting for managed webhosting customers. In this case, additional services such as additional domains, SSL certificates or software as a service can be provided automatically in the customer panel.
The managed hosting solution is always a custom-tailored package and therefore more costly than “off-the-rack” solutions. Such customized solutions nevertheless have several advantages.
As described above, the degree of external support depends on the technical know-how, the human as well as the temporal resources, and the structures of the respective customer company. Managed hosting thus offers the advantage that companies without or with only little technical know-how can use a modern and functional IT infrastructure that is tailored to their needs.
An example: A local department store wants to start retailing online. Since it is a well-known company, it is counting on getting a lot of visits to the web shop. The IT infrastructure had previously been used for internal purposes only, which is why the department store does not have its own IT department. In this case, it is suitable to book an external IT infrastructure + extra services which means the managed hosting solution. Either the company will be assisted by hosting provider’s service employees in the configuration and support of the IT infrastructure, or the provider will take over the complete support and administration.
As managed hosting means that the provider oversees the infrastructure, this solution ensures that the following areas are taken care of:
Even considering all the benefits, a managed hosting solution is not the right choice for everyone. It is usually more expensive, requires a contract relationship, and delegates certain processes to the hosting provider. However, if you decide for this solution, you can be sure of the following: The professionals are constantly looking after the technical side of things, allowing the customer more time for its core business.