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Managed Hosting: The Death Knell of Colocation Services

by Jacob Richards

What IS Managed Hosting? This is a question I found myself asking recently when I took a look at a website I knew previously to only provide colocation services. At first I was a little bit upset, because I knew that this particular provider provided excellent colocation services and was a little bit annoyed at the fact that they'd apparently changed their company's services to some new fangled thing I'd never heard of: Managed Hosting.

However, after doing some reading I found that this new and mysterious service they offered drastically reduced the complication involved in the project I was intending on launching. Allow me to explain...

Before I get into defining what Managed Hosting I believe that I should first explore the details of what colocation even is, for those that may have stumbled onto this article unaware. Colocation is a service provided by an internet service provider. Essentially, you provide them with a computer with your choice of operating system and software installed on it (depending on their policies), and they provide you with the bandwith and uninterrupt supply of power you need to run things on the internet. This can be anything from computer game servers to webservers for websites that are in demand of a large amount of resources.

There's a number of problems with this scheme of doing things, however! If you're providing the computer and software than that means you're going to also be administrating every aspect of it. This means that you're going to have to get it initially setup in the first place, make sure it is secure against all the known forms of attacks that can happen to your server, doesn't go down for days while you're upgrading software, and keep your software on your system up-to-date! This can all be very time consuming, and is vital to running a safe and ecommerce business. Afterall, you wouldn't want the website taking in orders for your business that holds all of your customers information to get HACKED, would you? This is something that I've been very hesitant of risking myself.

The truth is, the risk of running your own ecommerce business through the use of a colocation can be such a gamble if you don't know what your doing, that it may not be worth taking. But colocation offers possibilities for expansion (because of the large amount of computer resources at your disposal) and control that something such as webhosting may not give you.

This is where Managed Hosting comes in. Managed Hosting bridges the gap between the ease-of-use of standard webhosting services to colocation. Managed Hosting is essentially a service where you have complete administrative abilities over a system provided by your internet service provider, but they set it up, provide the computer to your specifications, and keep it up to date. Many of the service providers, such as RackSpace, also offer a zero-downtime guarantee and 24/7x365 phone and email technical support. This, in a very real way takes away much of the risk associated with colocation while still giving you the ability to put up a system to your specifications and it be SECURE. This alternative to colocation is taking the internet by storm, and is quickly becoming the standard of the industry for an easy and safe solution for internet business owners.

Friday, Aug 18th, 2006