We have gone over a few key elements to look for in hosting data centers in this article series, such as where the data center is located, what type of downtime does it experience, and a few other intangibles that are not always quantified on paper. There are a few more items to go over on your list, and don’t worry, we will touch on issues like this one in this series as well. While physical issues related to downtime are important, as well as customer service attitude and the general ethical value of the company you are doing business with, there are some technical aspects that you will want to look at as well, as well as avoiding the pitfalls that some clients run into with their hosting provider.
One of the biggest things to look for on a technical basis is to make sure the hosting provider has the infrastructure and the platforms to host what you want hosted. Let me explain further. Lets say you are running a system that requires Oracle licensing, and you are not very familiar with this product. Does the hosting provider have an Oracle specialist onsite to help you with this platform? Are they familiar with all of the windows server platforms, or are they strictly a linux-based shop? This is important as you are looking for people that have experience with what you have running, so in the event of help needed, you can just pay your hosting provider to fix it for you, if you are not able to get the job done or need assistance.
The second technical aspect that is a fantastic idea to look at is their scalability options. Earlier this year, Drew talked about different hosting options available from hosting providers. Let’s say you just got a free hosting platform for your brand-new, shiny business that just got off the ground. Do they have the ability to scale up to a managed colocated or dedicated server cluster option for you if your business grows like a weed? Are you going to have to move locations or even hosting providers because they only have virtual servers with 10 GB of space and limited bandwidth capability? Or can your hosting provider sell you your own 0c-192 connectivity line because you are growing to be bigger than Facebook? (hey, it could happen, think big!)
Another technical consideration is whether all of the products that they specialize in are opensource or if they are all paid license models. If you want to run an application or web server that can run off of either ubuntu or windows server, are you going to be forced into the windows server platform simply because they don’t know ubuntu very well, or they prefer the paid model over the opensource one? This is something to consider.
Next time, we will look at some other structural considerations for physical hosting facilities.
Photo Credit- Flickr: lbhosting