My boss really likes the “premium” name and services of RackSpace. He likes the idea of paying a little extra to make things easier on me and to keep things running more smoothly more often. Right now we’re co-locating everything we do. I do all of the IT work which means hosting, sys admin, security, debugging when problems arise, etc. I would venture to guess that 90% of our problems are programming logic in PHP or ColdFusion, or a silly, un-optimized index in SQL Server.
So my question: Is moving to a premium company like RackSpace going to offer any additional benefit to my company? I see it where I say “our server keeps restarting”, and most likely can predict RackSpace saying “That seems to be a ColdFusion error on your part, and it is your problem and not ours.”
Am I correct in thinking this? Or am I missing the point why paying a premium for dedicated servers is better than co-locating your own servers?
I’m still going to have to install BlueDragon (a free alternative application server to Macromedia’s ColdFusion MX), right? I’m still going to have to debug faulty code, right? I’m still going to have to optimize our indexes and databases in MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server, right?
The only benefit I can possibly see in paying the premium is in the case someone hacks into one of our boxes, or does a DOS or DDOS attack on us. With RackSpace – yes, we’ll be back up and running much faster than I could ever do it on my own.
Thanks. I’m completely open to hear any opinion on either side of this!
It depends of your colocation situation .. are you living close to the datacenter? Is it a good environment for your servers? Does your current provider provides a quality network and enough capacity? Etc...
If I understand correctly you think of moving from colocation to dedicated servers with RackSpace? Then, you'll get hardware replacement if hardware fails, the network and datacenter of RackSpace and the help of RackSpace's team for software issues if the server is managed, etc.
If you are the only person in the company that can handle emergency issues, then your boss might want to secure his assets a bit and not depend on a single person (you), then it might be a good option for him.
I'm not very familar with RackSpace, but there certainly are managed hosting providers that will do things like DBA work, install and config software, etc. And there are the managed service providers that aren't associated with a specific hosting company, companies like OpSource, SevenSpace, SiteLite & Totality. At the very high end are some managed providers that will even do a code review of your application, certify it, and then offer an SLA on your hosted application and its environment. Needless to say that costs big bucks though.
Not sure how many servers you have but in my experience with rackspace is that they are very good for OS level and hardware level issues. We've had less success with them on performance problems, application level security issues etc. They try to help but because they do not work on your systems daily, resolutions of these issues can be slower than desired.
Aside from the direct add costs for hosting, consider migration costs as well. Note that search engines often cache IPs, so you may need to maintain your current operations for a month or two until search engines pick up your new IPs. We just went through this when we moved our servers. It took google 3 weeks to pick up the new IP addresses and crawl the new location.
Also consider if the money would be better spent adding redundancy to your current operations?
In a critical failure scenario, how long would it take rackspace to restore operations vs. you to restore operations. Consider cases where you have complete hardware failure.
One metric we use when looking into these types of services is how often do you think that you would use them?
We have had clients that fully utilize the services that providers like rackspace provide while others that never use their services. If you only call on them once in 4 months, then you may be spending more than you need.
We save you time, money, and frustration by handling the server management tasks required to run an online business successfully.
No prodding required. We just do it right the first time. Red Hat, MySQL, Plesk, and cPanel certified staff.
Great information huck! I think you really nailed it on the head with:
>> In a critical failure scenario, how long would it take
>> rackspace to restore operations vs. you to restore operations
This means I need to sit down and go through the possible scenarios myself. I guess I’ll spend some extra time this weekend pondering the possibilities and trying to get them down on paper. My initial guess is that a company like rackspace won’t be able to help if we had a complete hardware failure, but would be able to help if we were the unfortunate target of a DDOS attack.