Managed Hosting

What is Managed Hosting?

Almost every business these days has a website and all of these websites need infrastructure – typically a Virtual Server. It is like an apartment building where each tenant has their own "room" (server) which they need to look after (apply regular updates to).  There are also shared infrastructure platforms where you can share a "slice" of a server with other tenants.  This is almost like a dormitory where the facilities are shared amongst all the tenants.

Increasingly these servers are provided by public cloud companies like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, etc.  There are also other smaller players in the market that provide niche operating systems or niche platforms, often at cheaper prices that the large public cloud companies.  While the public cloud companies remove the need for a hardware investment (and sometimes a software investment as well) they do still require that the end user manages their own updates and backups.

So, what can you do to keep your cloud investment working as it should?  Well, the first thing is to keep multiple backups on multiple devices.  The 3-2-1 backup strategy simply states that you should have 3 copies of your data (your production data and 2 backup copies) on two different media (eg: disk and tape) with one copy off-site for disaster recovery.  You should also test that the backups work properly by doing an occasional restore and check that you can get the files back from the backup device.  You will also need to apply the operating system and application level updates – generally monthly but, with an increasing focus on web programs and their vulnerabilities, this can happen almost overnight that you will needs to update the systems.  You will also need to check that the site(s) are running and presenting the correct information.

Enter managed hosting.  This is where we take over the day to day administration of the servers that you have in the cloud and perform the necessary daily/weekly/monthly updates and maintenance activities.  This allows you to focus on your business and not on the infrastructure that empowers you.  We apply the system updates (generally weekly), make sure that you have daily backups (or more frequently), make sure that these backups are readable (generally we do this quarterly) and monitor the site(s) every 3 minutes form multiple locations.  We can also apply the updates to WordPress, the plug-ins and the themes for WordPress.

What are the benefits of Managed Hosting?

There are a number of benefits:

  1. We subscribe to a number of security advisory companies that send out alerts whenever there is a need to update the infrastructure
    This ensures that we are aware of system level security issues and can in some cases BLOCK these at the firewall level.
  2. We not only apply the updates but we also can upsize (or downsize) the infrastructure to accommodate sales, email campaigns, etc.
    We can even schedule these upsize events for the middle of the night so that there's a very small population of users that will be impacted by the need to restart the server for the update.
  3. We monitor the server from third party sites so that we know within 3 minutes of an outage of the site and can respond quickly.
    This also allows us to track the overall responsiveness of the server and we can get alerted when the system takes longer than normal to respond (a performance anomaly).  We can even include you in on these alerts.
  4. We also monitor the server from INSIDE the server itself and can report on the CPU, memory, disk space used, etc. on a minute to minute basis.
    We use this as the primary means of looking at the server health.  We also deploy our management script to the server so that we know when the server is running low on memory or disk space and can proactively adjust these BEFORE it becomes a problem.
  5. We automate much of the day to day tasks BUT we keep an eye on the reports we get from the server on a daily basis.
  6. We take daily (or in some cases more frequent) backups of the systems and can restore a service quickly to the last known good point.
  7. We take weekly (or again more frequently) snapshots of the server(s) so that in the event of a need to restore to a previously known good state is simply a flick of a button.
    We can then apply the updates to bring the server back to the state it was BEFORE it failed.
  8. We can block exploit attacks at the firewall level so that they do not do any damage to the infrastructure OR allow the data to "leak out".

We do this!

We have been doing managed hosting for clients since 2002 and consider ourselves experts in this area,  We manage servers at AWS (Sydney, Tokyo, London, North Virginia), NextDC (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne), Azure (Sydney and Melbourne) as well as our own infrastructure at Micron21 in Melbourne.

Call us to arrange an obligation free investigation of your current cloud infrastructure and where we can add value to this investment.