Monday, October 22, 2012
Our client proposals usually includes a figure for on-going support and hosting. However, our prospective clients often asked if they would be able to source the hosting component from an alternate supplier. I strongly suggest against that course as, in our experience of deploying hundreds of CMS-based websites over the last eight years, we invariably find that using a third party supplier for hosting brings in significant risk and hidden costs.
We use a specialist team from our hosting partner EveryCity, who are fully skilled in deploying and supporting the components required for an enterprise CMS installation. The key aspects of this deliverable include:
All elements of the Microsoft Stack (MS Operating System, IIS hosting, SQL Server Database, .NET framework) deployed working on a Cloud platform,
- CMS software and management components installed and deployed against the database.
- All required operating system patches and security components installed and maintained.
- 24×7 monitoring of hosting environment and proactive intervention.
- Full managed hosting – This means that we can contact the individual DIRECTLY responsible for the service. We don’t need to deal with different support “Consultants” who make us “take a ticket”.
- Seamless upgrade paths for aspects such as server load balancing, increased server capacity, enhanced security etc.
- Pool of expertise for enhanced hosting options such as CDN (Content Distribution Networks) for global deployment.
- Servers hosted in fully secure and resilient data centres, qualified to industry standards.
- Seamless access to production servers for software deployment from staging and test environments.
With these elements in place, we are comfortable in taking responsibility for all aspects of hosting and deployment. However, without them in place, we need to anticipate the following risks and impact to the project:
- Hosting platform, CMS software and Database not set up correctly – Causes delays in the go-live dates for the site and additional costs to rectify.
- Security patches not installed kept up to date – Potential for security breeches
- Insufficient monitoring of servers – Issues not identified on a timely basis with impact on server availability
- Specialist skills not readily available – Takes longer to locate required skills, impact on site availability and costs.
- Difficult deployment of changes – When changes are required, it becomes difficult to deploy changes via third party suppliers which can lead to increased downtime and cost.
There are cheaper hosting providers available, but in our experience, they invariably fail to provide the level of service needed for a smooth project delivery. Subsequently intervention on our part, to ensure the deliverable is in place, can sometimes expose the cheaper hosting option as a false economy.
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