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  1. #1

    Turning into a managed hosting company?

    Hi there,

    I am a system administrator at a small web development company. We design and host websites for educational users around the country.

    So far all of the sites that we host are ones which we created ourselves.

    Its had mixed success so far; our company really has noone in management who has any technical experience. We have noone working in a technical service management or ops position.

    So far we have been mostly focussed on design and development rather than service provision, maintenance and management.

    Management of our existing servers has been patchy. I've found it very hard to get support and resources to do basic upgrades (eg from php4 to php5) and so many of our servers are sitting on old and unsupported releases of Linux.

    Now my manager is asking me what we need to do to get into managed hosting; not just hosting sites that we produce but hosting sites developed by third parties with those third parties having access to the servers to upload web application code etc.

    To be honest, this scares the hell out of me. I'm the only person in the company with any experience in this kind of industry and I have no experience in managed hosting.

    We tend to be very reactive to customer needs and this is likely to be something that they will want to get up and running in just a few months; everything here is 'urgent'.

    I really don't know what to tell them.

    My advice so far has been to use the services of our ISP who does do managed hosting; to act as a gatekeeper between these clients of ours and the ISP. I guess that would be on-selling the managed hosting.

    But management seem to think that there could be more profit if we were hosting ourselves.

    I am trying to impress upon our management the idea that to get into managed hosting from where we are now would require a massive investment in new staff and infrastructure.

    My feelings on this are that managed hosting is something that benefits greatly from economy of scale and depth of expertise.

    By utilising existing managed hosting companies, you cash in on the scale of operations that they already have, of the very specialised infrastructure and expert staffing that they already have.


    Any advice, insight etc much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Gods Own Country
    Posts
    681
    our company really has noone in management who has any technical experience. We have noone working in a technical service management or ops position.
    There are many outsourcing companies out there, which can do this job very well. You just have to find one that fits in.

    Management of our existing servers has been patchy. I've found it very hard to get support and resources to do basic upgrades (eg from php4 to php5) and so many of our servers are sitting on old and unsupported releases of Linux.
    Thats bad. Unsupported releases of linux. You are sitting on a time bob

    Now my manager is asking me what we need to do to get into managed hosting; not just hosting sites that we produce but hosting sites developed by third parties with those third parties having access to the servers to upload web application code etc.
    You can generate enough profit from this. You can easily get a VPS or dedicated server with a good control panel like cPanel, Plesk or directadmin installed, and start your hosting straight away. As I said earlier, you need nice support staffs to maintain it.

    My advice so far has been to use the services of our ISP who does do managed hosting; to act as a gatekeeper between these clients of ours and the ISP. I guess that would be on-selling the managed hosting.
    I guess, this might be costly for you. You can cut the cost by doing it yourself.

    I am trying to impress upon our management the idea that to get into managed hosting from where we are now would require a massive investment in new staff and infrastructure.
    I don't think the investment is massive. I run a small web development business too and host the projects in our VPS servers. That way, I profit from its hosting. When you have enough clients for hosting, why do you have to give away the profit?

    My feelings on this are that managed hosting is something that benefits greatly from economy of scale and depth of expertise.

    By utilising existing managed hosting companies, you cash in on the scale of operations that they already have, of the very specialised infrastructure and expert staffing that they already have.
    You need to think about this nicely. Your thinking is too technical. Think with a business mind
    Fabin Mundattil @ Xieles Support
    High Quality Server Management | support @ xieles.com
    http://xieles.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    215
    It sounds to me like you need more experience before you move into managed hosting, and undoubtably more staff.

    I can see how you're in a difficult position, if your management think you can suddenly start offering managed hosting, if you're already got a "patchy service" as it is. You probably just need to be honest with them, say you're not ready yet unless you employ more staff who have the neccessary experience.

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