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Managed Cloud Hosting: What You Need To Know

In traditional hosting, Internet projects are run on servers located in a provider’s data centers. If the provider instead uses resources distributed over the Internet, this is called cloud hosting. In addition, many providers use the term cloud hosting when they mean virtualized resources on their own servers. This makes it difficult to understand what is already a complex issue: hosting customers often don’t know where their data is stored. This is a much-discussed disadvantage of cloud hosting – read more at the end of this article.

What Cloud Hosting Offers

Cloud hosting uses three central elements of cloud computing. The basis is Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): virtualized hardware resources are provided over the Internet – often referred to as instances. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is based on this infrastructure: These are, for example, working environments for the development of online applications. The third layer is called Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): leased applications that are usually ready for immediate use.

managed cloud providersBy the way, IaaS, PaaS and SaaS can be used to implement more than just Internet projects: From storage and backup systems to diverse business applications to complete virtual workstations, virtually any application can be hosted in the cloud. No wonder that cloud hosting providers often refer to themselves as service providers.

They are not just experienced hosting providers who have added cloud hosting to their product range. They are also young companies that have specialised in cloud hosting. Market leaders are the big ones: Amazon with Amazon Web Services and Google with the Google Cloud. However, they do not offer managed cloud hosting themselves.

Thanks To Live Scalability …

An important feature of cloud hosting is live scalability, especially in public clouds. How much computing power and memory, what development environments and applications are needed, in short, what hosting needs to deliver, is difficult to assess. The requirements can change quickly as the Internet project grows, receives new features or attracts many more visitors.

Then cloud hosting is superior to classic hosting: Ideally, the virtualized resources can be scaled live at any time so that exactly the performance required for the project is available. Automatic adaptation of resources is called autoscaling.

Because the hosting customer pays for the resources actually used instead of for a complete server, cloud hosting is often the more cost-effective alternative. Pay-as-you-use is the term used to describe payment according to the actual period of use. If unused instances can be “frozen”, the usage price can drop considerably in some cases. Managed Cloud Hosting combines the advantages of cloud hosting with professional server management, as is the case with managed servers, for example. The hosting customer does not have to set up and maintain the system himself, the provider does that. And they often offer much more.

Rackspace offers three service levels that illustrate what Managed Cloud Hosting means. “Describe to us what success in the cloud is for you, and we’ll help you achieve it with architecture and security consulting, code development support and launch managers (?),” says Rackspace about the Managed Infrastructure basic package. This service starts at $50 per month, depending on the infrastructure chosen.

cloud providerStarting at $350 per month, there is service level two: “All the benefits of a managed infrastructure plus support for managing your daily cloud workload, infrastructure monitoring, operating system maintenance and patching, and application maintenance. (…) You can get support from the same people at Rackspace at any time (…)”.

Even more management services include service level three, such as extended application monitoring and code development support from experienced experts. The cost of over $2,500 per month makes it clear that such services are aimed at selected business customers.

Finding The Right Managed Cloud Hosting Partner

There are not yet many providers on the market who are intensively involved with managed cloud hosting. The currently available offers differ in many respects, which makes comparison more difficult. Please ask for an individual offer and ask what the management includes. Some providers only offer customized solutions anyway.

Is Managed Cloud Hosting Secure?

All providers describe their cloud solutions as secure, and in fact you can’t accuse any provider of not providing the highest level of security. But Cloud Hosting mostly uses public clouds, and many experts argue about their security. Possibly the “locations” are spread all over the world. Users may not know in which countries and on which servers their data is stored and processed.

According to the philosophy of cloud computing, the customer probably does not know whether the hoster is outsourcing services. So it is also conceivable that providers trade their resources. Critics of public clouds even see an increasing danger of data theft because more and more people are given administrative tasks. This is one reason why many companies prefer private clouds.

But when it comes to security it’s also about laws. A company that outsources personal data to a cloud provider must ensure that the cloud provider complies with local data protection laws. For example, only providers based in the US can guarantee that the US data protection laws are complied with.

A data center in the US alone is no guarantee for this. Anyone using Amazon’s cloud services to store data covered by data protection laws, for example, may be taking a risk. Although Amazon has this year based its services more strongly on European law, there is no guarantee for compliance with local law.

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