Wondering whether self-hosting vs managed hosting would be best for managed service providers (MSPs)?
Managed service providers need to be committed to keeping their IT environments up to date so that they can provide the best possible service to their clients. In no case does this fact hold more true than when it comes to MSPs offering disaster recovery and backup services for their IT clients. Surviving a data disaster means that MSPs need to adopt the type of hosting solution that helps them anticipate scenarios and understand consequences if and when they do occur.
The two hosting services that are most popular for MSPs to provide for clients to safeguard their data are self-hosting and managed data hosting services. Deciding between these two choices shouldn’t be taken lightly, since MSPs may need to upgrade their existing hardware, software, manpower, and even third-party services to sync client data for reliable backup when they choose one of these solutions.
Hosting data locally and on-premises, as well as off-site and through a managed service, each come with its own caveats for MSPs, as well as cost considerations and potential impacts to their business continuity.
Let’s take a look at the core differences between self-hosting and managed hosting for client data, in order to decide which one makes the most sense for MSPs.
Is Your Business Interested in Cloud-Hosted Storage Capabilities?
MSPs can invest in cloud-hosted storage solutions in order to avoid paying for new hardware or software for an on-premises storage solution. Cloud-hosted storage can be especially practical for businesses that are interested in MSPs being able to add computing resources in real time to regularly accommodate growing workloads. With cloud data storage, your MSP can suddenly realize and enjoy an increased amount of flexibility with customizable storage options, which clients can access from multiple remote locations.
Businesses that are expanding their workloads to the point of needing increased computing resources and storage solutions may do best to consider MSPs that offer cloud services. Cloud-hosted data storage removes the need for expensive hardware and software upgrades and can often be implemented with few personnel additions, assuming that the MSP’s IT client is a small business. Also, businesses not wanting to commit personnel or factor in additional costs can often benefit the most from cloud-hosted storage.
What Kind of Maintenance Response Does Your Business Need?
Maintenance is essential to manage your servers and the applications that run on them, as well as for your regular schedule of patching, upgrades, and backups. The risk of a data disaster occurring faces most companies large or small, most of whom also make the mistake of waiting until the last minute to figure out how to respond. Every business needs to consider recovery time and point objectives to determine the right pieces of their unique disaster recovery equation.
Response times through self-hosted, on-premises storage can potentially be faster for MSP clients who have limited resources that need to be monitored. On-premises solutions can offer potentially quicker response times to threats that an MSP detects to reduce client downtime, and can make it less stressful to take the immediate action necessary. Some MSPs may feel, though, that managed services can reduce a reactive approach to threat detection and data disaster recovery and response.
MSPs that offer managed data storage services can provide maintenance, for typically higher costs, as well as monitoring and around-the-clock customer support to reduce client downtime as much as possible.
MSPs with managed storage offer multiple layers of data redundancy to guarantee uptime with off-site data recovery in the event of a data disaster occurring. For businesses that don’t have the pool of personnel resources or budgetary allowances to dedicate toward system monitoring and response, MSPs with managed data storage may be the right choice.
How Do You Want to Scale Your Hardware and Software?
Smaller businesses may feel more comfortable with having direct control over their hardware and software infrastructure with on-premises data storage. Self-hosted storage can provide greater control, access, and time to implement data changes to quickly respond to data disasters that occur.
These benefits can make the difference between salvaging or losing data assets during a disaster, but on-premises solutions also leave clients at greater risk of under-utilizing or over-paying for their MSP’s services. Managed storage solutions can prevent the requirement for clients to pay upfront costs of replacing equipment, and can also help clients avoid under-utilizing the total number of processing resources and server capacity that they have.
With managed data hosting, clients can obtain a broader set of web services, website performance enhancements and other software-specific optimizations to boost speed and performance without worrying about over-paying or not making the most use of their hardware and software infrastructure.
Hardware and software for client data storage are essential to oversee factors such as cooling and power drawn by the system, so it’s important that clients decide whether they’re willing to pay higher upfront costs for off-premises data management to their MSPs.
When choosing on-premises or managed MSP services, always remember that your plan can restrict functionality based on cost as well as extra hardware and software resources needed. An on-premises solution can enable clients to make their own decisions about hardware, software, third party, and personnel upgrades, but these decisions come at the cost of more potential client downtime because of safeguards they have put in place on-site.
The Choice Between Self-Hosting vs Managed Hosting
Cloud-hosted storage solutions that MSPs use can help businesses add computing resources flexibly and in real time to accommodate their workload requirements on demand. Additionally, cloud-hosted data storage eliminates the need for MSPs to adopt hardware and software upgrades that are often expensive and significantly affect their operating environment.
These decisions that clients make when it comes to hosting their data storage ultimately affect their plans to scale their hardware and software infrastructure. Self-hosted solutions make sense for clients who have control and access of their data changes and don't want to relinquish those things to an MSP.
However, IT clients that are rapidly scaling their hardware and software infrastructure can greatly benefit from the manpower, customer support, and recommendations for upgrades that come with managed data hosting.
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Melanie Purkis is the Director of Liquid Web's Managed Hosting Products & Services. Melanie has more than 25 years of experience with professional leadership, project management, process development, and technical support experience in the IT industry.
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