DIY Vs. Managed Cloud Hosting (Part 1): Cost, Security, And Scaling Infrastructure

DIY Vs. Managed Cloud Hosting (Part 1): Cost, Security, And Scaling Infrastructure
Summary: DIY or managed cloud hosting? Let’s explore this LMS hosting dilemma in this two-part article.

Do-It-Yourself Vs. Managed Cloud Hosting: Which Is The Best Option For Your Organization?

Do-it-yourself (DIY) hosting is when an organization secures their own equipment to store content and run applications connecting to the internet either at your business or through an off-site location. On the other hand, managed or outsourced cloud hosting is a process in which organizations have full access to resources, but day-to-day management and maintenance of the servers is handled by the hosting provider. In this two-part article we will see what are the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

eBook Release: Free eBook: DIY Vs. Managed Cloud Hosting, by Lambda Solutions
eBook Release
Free eBook: DIY Vs. Managed Cloud Hosting, by Lambda Solutions
This eBook will help you decide if Managed Cloud Hosting is a strategic move for your organization.

Let’s begin with costs.

Dollars And Sense

The DIY process is complicated and requires the expertise of trained IT professionals. In short, an organization will need to do as follows:

  • Source and purchase IT equipment: Servers, routers, switching devices, firewalls, load balancers, and storage (minimum of $10,000 every 5 years once technology obsolete).
  • Set up a secure facility ($50,000-$5,000,000, depending on the size of the facility).
  • Procure the connectivity ($500-$5,000 per month, depending on data storage needs).
  • Manage everything top to bottom (minimum of $110,00 per year in salaries).
  • Install software ($3,000-$30,000, depending on organization size).

In contrast, managed cloud hosting is an advanced form of hosting that incorporates greater support and service levels, and offloads the aforementioned duties to the managed hosting firm. With an army of trained hosting specialists, organizations who opt for managed hosting benefit from the following additional ongoing activities:

  • Deployment of trans-geographic data centers.
  • 24x7 monitoring to recognize potential traffic jams and latencies while also helping to reroute data to optimal routes.
  • Routine maintenance.
  • Increased security.
  • Flexible data storage with the ability to grow as your organization does.
  • Disaster recovery via trans-geographic back-ups.
  • 24/7 technical support.
  • Application Support (for new features and upgrades).

Compared to the high costs of DIY hosting, outsourcing your LMS hosting services can be purchased in affordable bundles for a monthly (or annual) payments. There are no upfront costs when organizations opt for managed cloud hosting allowing for high capital expenditures to be converted into economical operating costs. Additional advanced services that may be provided include:

  • Frequent vulnerability scans to ensure your hosting system is protected.
  • Intrusion detection.
  • Load balancing for increased consistency and stability to end users.
  • Data backups.
  • DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-service) attack mitigation.
  • Firewalls.

Data Centers: Security And Maintenance

When organizations use DIY hosting, they often do so because they believe that it is beneficial to have data centers on premise to enable control via proximity. For small to mid-size firms, this is often too costly as it consumes limited space and resources. Data centers require IT managers to monitor and maintain the IT equipment. When data centers lack around-the-clock attention, servers become prone to physical security breaches, outages, and damage to equipment due to overheating and other environmental issues. By outsourcing a firm’s data center to a third-party operator, much of the costly maintenance work performed by IT managers is taken out of the equation. For example, economies of scale capabilities and close relations with IT equipment providers, enable third-party data centers to provide around-the-clock security and surveillance, multiple connectivity options, backups, and frequent upgrades. Outsourcing your hosting will also ensure that you meet national security standards. For Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers security must meet the following requirements:

  • SOC 1/SSAE 16 (formerly SAS70)/ISAE 3402
  • PCI DSS Level 1
  • ISO 27001

For Canadian data centers, CSAE 2416 Type II must also be incorporated to meet security standards. Most organizations are not even aware that these security standards are legislated. Considering managed hosting companies are required to meet the aforementioned standards, organizations that outsource their hosting can be assured that mandatory security requirements are met.

Third party data centers also allow you to expand as your data needs as they increase. Often times, organizations will build data centers based on their future estimated needs. If your data needs grow larger than the allotted space, it becomes even more costly when you need to build additional or new centers. When an organization uses managed hosting, they benefit from being able to upgrade their data needs at a fraction of the alternative cost.

Scaling Infrastructure, Upfront Costs, And CDN (Content Delivery Network)

As previously mentioned, when you DIY, you are allocating a significant amount of resources to the capital costs of building and maintaining your data center. Due to the fact that technology is always rapidly improving, the average age that equipment needs to be replaced is every five years and this replacement period is increasingly shrinking—just think how often you replace your smartphone or your personal computer!

With outsourced cloud hosting, the client benefits from increased flexibility and scalability. Managed hosting uses cloud technology that drives more efficient resource use than physical servers allowing many organizations to share IT infrastructure without strangling resources. For example, rather than having to forgo large expenditures on new hardware to manage your applications’ peak traffic, managed hosting provides predictable (monthly or annual) billing from the operating budget, and often pay-per-use billing for periods of peak usage.

An additional benefit of outsourcing your hosting is a larger and more reliable content delivery network (CDN).

CDN is “a network of servers that deliver cached static content from websites to users based on the geographic location of the user”. More plainly, when a learner comes to your Learning Management System, they are redirected to your web host’s server. Your web host’s server is located at a central location typically where your firm’s headquarters is. With DIY hosting, this means that every user on your LMS is accessing this one server to access the LMS. If you have a high volume of traffic, then you can overload your server which leads to a slow loading site or even server crash. This is where a CDN comes in handy because it is a network of servers spread throughout the world. When you use a CDN, your static content is cached and stored on all of these servers. Static content includes images, stylesheets (CSS files), JavaScript, Flash, etc. With managed hosting, when a user visits your LMS (original server), the CDN technology redirects them to the closest server to their location. By putting your content delivery network (CDN) in the hands of a managed hosting firm the storage, the maintenance and delivery of your data is maintained on multiple data centers across the internet allowing for faster upload time.

In the second part of this article we will explore more of the aspects of the cloud vs. outsourced hosting dilemma. Stay tuned!

Related Articles:

  1. Free eBook: DIY Vs. Managed Cloud Hosting
  2. DIY Vs. Managed Cloud Hosting (Part 2): Trans-Geographic Data, Disaster Management, And Technical Support