Managed Hosting

type of Hosted Server provider

aka RackSpace

The Living Independently servers used to be there. Now we're at I Net U.

It can really save you the cost of a SysAdmin, at least a junior one for day-to-day stuff.

They have a magic matrix from Gartner Group comparing hosting folks

Changing Managed Hosting Providers

You should make sure that your Managed Hosting company commits to provide these services:

  • basic plumbing

    • scalable Band-Width via multiple fat-pipe operators

    • electrical power with backup generators (with onsite fuel for 24hrs)

    • environmental controls and monitoring

  • hardware installation and replacement (swap within an hour)

    • provide range of recommendations based on server types (e.g. Data Base recommendation is different from Web Server, etc.)
  • Server Monitoring/alerting (and other hardware - Load Balancing, routers, etc.) in Real Time

    • not just hard failures, but soft-failures (dropped packets, slow transfer rates, bad sectors, etc.)

    • certain categories of alerts should result in either an auto-page or a human phone call to your team, others should just result in email to you

  • granularly-controlled management of software (e.g. you give them permission to auto-update certain packages, update others only after your confirmation, lag versions on others, etc.)

    • informed recommendations from them on the things you don't auto-update

    • model to let you use something different from their "standard/supported" app (e.g. Email Server) without them just throwing up their hands

  • provide semi-generic Security recommendations (practices, apps), implement agreed-to plans

  • Security monitoring/alerting

  • Issue Tracker used by their staff and you, with tickets automatically created by monitoring systems

If your team is too small to include someone with good SysAdmin skills, you might want a 3rd party person available to (a) sniff around and reality-check the Experience Quality, and (b) make recommendations based on deep knowledge of particular issues, and (c) help hosting company resolve critical issues when they seem to need help.

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