Depending on how much scalability you need for your infrastructure, you should choose from in-house hosting, colocation hosting and managed hosting. In-house hosting as the name suggests is a state where all servers and hardware are owned and run by the client enterprise itself. So, it is in effect a standalone enterprise. Colocation hosting refers to a model where the servers and hardware which are owned by the client are placed in a third party rack space and these are accessed through remote management. Managed hosting refers to cloud or dedicated servers which are completely owned by a provider and these are leased by client enterprises.
1. Servers and Hardware Acquisition: When you choose in-house hosting, you will need to buy hardware on your own. So, you have to assess business needs and look for specifications in hardware and then get the relevant hardware. The in-house staff will configure this hardware and run the environment. This means huge capital costs for smaller businesses. There will also be extra charges for cooling and power supplies, battery systems and UPS systems, network connections etc. In colocation hosting, the staff must go to the facility for doing repairs. When location is too far away from client site, costs of maintenance are high. You may need to get more staff to do work on the site. In managed hosting, the provider is the owner of all hardware; so initial installation, configuration and maintenance are provider’s responsibilities. So, there will not be any need to hire in-house staff for maintenance. The managed hosting provider will design a system to cater to your needs; there will be charges for renting hardware.
2. Installation of Operating System: OS installation needs to be done to carry out requests made to a server. So, proper understanding of how this works is necessary for proper application deployments. In in-house hosting, the staff will set up and run the OS; they need technical expertise on this and thy conduct software updates too. In colocation, in-house staff may set up and run the OS but later remote management is conducted. Management platforms like IPLI or DRAC can be installed for this purpose. The in-house staff also looks into software updates and OS management. Managed hosting providers will set up, upgrade and load OS services, they offer managed supports and you can even upgrade to a premium managed support plan where host rectifies any kind of OS related failures.
3. Management of Applications: Here, physical security is onus of the client and not outsourced; therefore, consumer credit data have to be protected. When you choose colocation, you must ensure legal liability from the provider. Physical access to data centers has to be restricted. In managed hosting, a lot of documentation is needed for hosting complex applications. You need to ask if the host has its private network, whether your servers are hosted in a standard-compliant site, which people have access to remote server management etc. So, for all three hosting solutions, you need good understanding of both front and backend requirements of any application.
4. Networking Connectivity: In in-house hosting, the ISP offers connection to a wider Internet and also basic hardware for such connectivity. ISPs only provide the hardware for handling minimum traffic; outside of this, other internal hardware for networking has to be managed by the client. In both colocation and managed hosting, hardware is located in data center and therefore they have high-end routers and switches. The providers look after these equipments and in-house staff is spared of this task.
5. Fiber Connectivity: Fiber optic cables are preferred to traditional ones and in in-house hosting you get dedicated online access through these. Besides installation expenses, you must consider costs for municipal laws, obstructions and labor charges. IP transit providers can give services directly to client locations. In colocation, the host has multiple ISPs for delivering IP transit to clients. In managed hosting, the host offers fiber connectivity to the Internet.
6. Data Security: When you choose in-house hosting, you must buy and maintain the firewalls at virtual physical entry points in the network. So, the IT staff researches and implements firewall. In this type, internal data will not go through external networks; so it less prone to interception. In colocation hosting, security is guaranteed by host which installs and managed firewalls. In managed hosting, most of the responsibility can be given to the host. Your servers will be behind provider’s firewalls. They use many layers of threat detection. The host ensures VPN encryption, vulnerability testing, intrusion prevention etc.
7. Physical Security: When you opt for in-house hosting, you have maximum control over physical security arrangements. So, your duty is to install proper security cameras and controlled access measures. Colocation hosting and managed hosting will typically run only very well-secured facilities which can resist natural calamities and which are equipped to prevent breaches and unauthorized intrusions.
8. Power and Cooling Systems: In in-house hosting, the client must arrange for power backups and cooling systems. At times, the greater demands for power by power-hungry applications necessitate facility upgrades. In colocation or managed hosting sites, there will be redundant power supply units, cooling systems and power generators to deal with sudden outages. The staffs at the datacenters are also available 24×7 to tackle technical problems.
9. Scalability Factor: In in-house hosting, the upfront capital costs are high. Since you do not need all hardware available right from the beginning, you may not buy everything at the start. But when you need to scale resources, you will have to pay for these upfront which amount to high expenses. In colocation, when you need resources to be scaled up, you have to mainly pay for your servers instead of the infrastructure. The provider can usually accommodate the growth in infrastructure. In managed hosting, scaling costs are nominal because dedicated servers are leased by clients. You do not need a lot of capital to scale these as your host can get these arranged readily.
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