What level of services do these managed hosts provide? I've been reading up on postings here for SeeksAdmin, PlatinumServerManagement, and others, and I have several questions:
1) When you have a managed host, how little can you know about Linux and server management and still get by?
- Would you still need to have your own system administrator?
- If one needs to host a website for example, and the team understands only programming and database management, could one of these managed hosting services essentially be used to do all the rest? (For the low prices they claim to offer, I would imagine not even close.)
- What interaction with Linux would you have?
- Are there managed services for which you could submit tickets for things as detailed as "I need a new Linux user account created with the ability to access folders x,y,z and that is able to run the following programs."
2) I'm not familiar with how it works in terms of the physical server. Are they a colocated service? Or is your physical server located anywhere (e.g. another colocation service, or even your own backyard) and they're just given remote access to it and never see the physical server?
3) Do any work with you to help determine (at an extra charge, of course) what kind of server to purchase for your needs and what specs they recommend it should have?
4) Must they be given root access? Do all of their employees share one account on your server? Do you as the customer not have root access?
- Can you still access your server through a command line interface or can you only go through a web-based control panels?
4) For the low prices being offered, are these serious services that could be used in hosting production-quality applications to up to thousands of concurrent users?
5) What support do they have in terms of clustering services? Of course you as the customer would have to deal with these issues at the application server level, but in terms of configuring load balancing between several physical machines, do they offer this?
6) What are examples of managed services out there that are proactive versus reactive?
Any additional detailed information you could provide on this concept of managed hosting would be helpful.
For starters you get what you pay for often applies. Also keep in mind some outsourced managed service companies don't provide the servers themselves and are to be used as an addon service so to speak (eg you get your server with an unmanaged provider and contract out to them, being PSM or the like, to manage your box).
Also in many cases you need to think proactive vs reactive, there are alot of managed service providers around, many are reactive vs proactive (eg you have to put in a ticket to tell them when something needs fixing, as they don't proactively upgrade/update your system for you).
Main rule of thumb, know what you're getting into (read the fine print if there is any, and ensure you understand their definition of managed services they are providing), when in doubt just ask the provider for specifics on what they'll handle and where your responsibility begins. Lastly also ensure you are aware if they require anything specific such as a control panel be present on the server.
In any case best of luck to you on your new venue.
In addition to my 6 questions above, your response has realized another question I'd like answered:
7) What types of tasks are classified as proactive versus reactive? The concept of proactive to me actually seems limited, because there's only a few things that they'd be able to do without your consent. Unless proactive includes things that they suggest to you, which you can then agree to or not. Does this make sense?
Well with proactive management you'd be looking at them contacting your facility in case of any failing hardware being detected and so forth (as they'd be an authorized representative on your account, for support side issues, provided your facility will allow such). Also that being said it's always a good idea to find out from the datacenter you're looking into if they allow you to designate authorized representatives on your account (secondary points of contact and so forth). Also software/os updates they'd handle periodically without you needing to ask them (this is where drawing up a support plan comes to mind, eg time frames on when to have upgrades performed in case they need to reboot a system).
Also some level of proactive maintenance doesn't require a reboot (most of your software updates and the like that can easily result in minimal downtime to any daemons involved).
In any case once again best of luck in your search.