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More and more companies are using websites for business management – sales, promotions and communications, to name a few – which requires them to purchase server space.

For companies with substantial website management and maintenance requirements, managed server hosting provides numerous benefits. Businesses looking to ensure the integrity of their websites are continuing to turn to managed hosting to administer and sustain this vital resource. In fact, according to CIO.com, leading technology research and advisory firm Gartner noted that worldwide shipments of server units increased 14.2 percent in the third quarter of 2010, indicating that more businesses than ever see the value of hosting services.

While server sales are robust, many providers have begun to offer cloud services to augment traditional managed server hosting.

Understanding managed hosting

When a business finds itself needing a fully functional and constantly monitored website, managed hosting often proves to be an attractive option. Customers can either purchase or lease a dedicated server that is located at the provider’s facility. A dedicated server offers superior speed and dependability when compared to a shared resource, and it can be configured as a Windows server as well as Linux and Unix.

Managed hosting addresses the numerous requirements of a successful online presence. This allows a business to concentrate on its core functions rather than addressing recurring IT issues. The many dedicated managed hosting services include:

  • Data backup
  • Operating systems upgrades

  • Scans to identify vulnerabilities

  • Continuing data protection

  • Firewall management

  • Managed backup

  • Load balancing

  • 24/7 monitoring

  • Secure, climate controlled environment

Advantages of managed cloud servers

Since cloud servers are virtual in nature, they are largely free of the problems associated with traditional servers. As virtual machines, they are embodied in server clusters. This provides enormous flexibility in terms of access, scaling, development and cost. They are compatible with existing managed servers and can be positioned behind most firewalls and load balancers while maintaining the same functionality as hardware components.

With cloud hosting, you only pay for what you use, rather than trying to anticipate usage. Scalability is automatically built into the system since systemic changes can be implemented almost instantly. By eliminating the lead times associated with traditional hardware configurations, cloud hosting removes the infrastructure requirements and costs associated with traditional managed hosting.

Combining managed and cloud servers

Many of the top Web hosting companies are now offering their clients access to both public and dedicated cloud environments. This additional hybrid hosting service can address unexpected traffic spikes and help avoid potential bottlenecks or overloads.

Seasonal traffic increases can have a very positive or negative impact on a business, depending on the capacity of their servers. Prior solutions to increased traffic were limited and often costly to implement. Managed cloud server capacity can be easily added to take advantage of every potential sales opportunity.

Cloud servers in combination with dedicated, managed servers can provide the best of both services. Leading providers have begun to integrate traditional Web hosting with public cloud services. This allows traffic in excess of the server’s capacity to automatically migrate into a shared cloud environment. Together they can be used to accommodate promotions, announcements and other planned and unplanned events where higher traffic levels are anticipated. Cloud servers utilize existing firewall security, intrusion detection, application monitoring and load detection protocols as well.

The future of hosting

As managed Web hosting continues to gain popularity, businesses of every size and industry will continue to take advantage of the services and benefits that dedicated managed hosting provides. The economy of scale offered by the recent introduction of cloud hosting will help reduce overall costs while ensuring the continued comprehensive growth of the managed hosting industry.

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Author: Andy Quayle

Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
Known globally as a willing source for tech news and views, Andy takes great pride in consultation and education.

Should his schedule permit, Andy is available to help you with your SEO and Web Analytics needs.