Managed Hosting: What You Need to Know

Automated hosting is kind of like flying a plan with just an autopilot. Managed hosting is like flying a plane with both a trained pilot and autopilot. When you have an application that is core to your business or your clients’ businesses, you want to have a sysadmin managing your servers to have the most reliable product.

Full Transcript Below:

Full Transcript Below:

Cody:

Oh, everything’s broken. Why did we hire you? Oh, everything works. Why did we hire you? It’s a lot of that.

Cris:

So what is managed hosting?

Cody:

It’s a bit like being in an aircraft and only having the autopilot versus having an autopilot and a real pilot.

Cris:

Is it a bit of a set it and forget it kind of thing? Or is there…

Cris:

So Cody, I wanted to jump in today and talk about managed hosting with you.

Cody:

Oh yeah?

Cris:

Obviously handling dev ops here with us and coming from the development and the sysadmin background, you obviously cover a lot of server stuff.

Cody:

I do wear a lot of hats here.

Cris:

You do, so many hats. So what is managed hosting?

Cody:

Managed hosting can be a few different items in the world and spectrum that is having someone work on your servers for you. There’s services, like with AWS or Linode, or even Heroku that are all considered managed hosting. Sometimes that managed hosting can just be a bot that kind of manages things and it could be automatic. And mostly there might be one dude managing 3,000 clients. There’s also the flip side of that is you can pay a company like Bixly or otherwise.

Cris:

Sure.

Cody:

And we can manage it for you or otherwise, any type of contractor that is a sysadmin. If you’re contracting them to manage your servers and make sure they’re working, that’s managed hosting. It’s basically making sure that you have someone at the helm to make sure your servers are online and working.

Cris:

Is it a bit of a set it and forget it kind of thing? Or is there ongoing maintenance that goes into servers? What’s the story there?

Cody:

Unfortunately, for a lot of sys admins in the world is, “Oh, everything’s broken. Why did we hire you?” “Oh, everything works. Why did we hire you?” It’s a lot of that. There is definitely maintenance involved, but there’s also a lot of days where, check the stats, look at the logs, as long as there’s nothing pending, everything looks great. It’s easy going, but as soon as something breaks, it’s a bit like being in an aircraft and only having the autopilot, versus having an autopilot and a real pilot. When something goes wrong, you want to make sure that there’s a pilot. Yeah.

Cris:

Okay.

Cody:

Yeah.

Cris:

That is very well put.

Cody:

Thank you.

Cris:

My obvious guess is that one of the benefits to doing managed hosting as opposed to handling things yourself, is that you have another pilot, almost a co-pilot.

Cody:

That’s correct.

Cris:

Yeah. So, but any other further benefits of why you would go with a managed hosting solution as opposed to just bootstrapping it yourself?

Cody:

Well, for one, there’s the idea of having expertise available, especially if you’re trying to move at scale and have your enterprise solution that exists and actually own that word enterprise, you’re going to want some sort of an expert that’s going to run those servers. You could easily go with Heroku or AWS or Linode and just kind of set it and forget it, Heroku being probably more adept at doing that because they’re good at small scale solutions. But as soon as you want to scale up, that becomes really prohibitively expensive on the actual hosting costs side. From that perspective, having an expert available and on your team that is watching and handling the issues that show up, especially when you want to get big and have an infrastructure that’ll scale along with that, that’s really the true benefit is that you have the ally that runs all of the servers for you so that they don’t stop.

Cris:

Gotcha.

Cris:

So we have clients come to us and oftentimes they might have a team in house already, or they’re looking to maybe pull their team in house, but there’s different things. And so we do some level of consulting, of course, to determine what sort of a hosted solution they actually need.

Cody:

Yeah.

Cris:

What are some of the questions that you might ask to determine, for a customer, how they can get the best hosted solution from us?

Cody:

Yeah. Well, for one, I’d try and figure out obviously what their business purposes. First and foremost, does their whole business rely on this web hosted service? If this thing goes down, does their whole, everything shut down along with it? If that’s the case, we need to focus on reliability.

Cody:

We need to make sure that that thing is up as much as possible because there’s no time to lose if there’s any downtime. The other side of that is, let’s say the system is not so integral to their entire business. We would probably end up spending less budget on reliability because it doesn’t have that much of a return on investment, but it all scales along with that. I’d figure out what their business model would be. If I were in the shoes of someone trying to evaluate a new customer coming in, and then I’d look at obviously what their software is itself and try and figure out where that would fit into the world of hosted solutions. For the most part, things are fairly agnostic nowadays. You can put a Python server, a JavaScript, no JS server, or even Csharp.net on various hosts.

Cris:

Yeah. Which it wasn’t always like that.

Cody:

That’s correct. A lot of places were like, “Okay, we are a Python hosting company.”

Cris:

Right.

Cody:

Or you have Microsoft Azure, which is, if you don’t have asp.net, get out the door.

Cris:

Leave.

Cody:

Yeah. But that’s actually not even true as well. They do offer services for general hosting as well now. So most places are kind of just trying to capture all the market as possible, instead of bouncing people out of the door. So a lot of it comes down to flavor and preference and ultimately we would end up probably recommending a solution we’re familiar with and can recommend due to successful outcomes in the past, and then move on from there. As for any specific oddities or things that would need to take place. We would do the checklist of, “Okay. What have you noticed is wrong with your current system?” Is there any trouble points and we’d assess that one by one.

Cris:

Cool. Seems reasonable. Anything that you would want to touch on, regarding managed hosting that we may or may not have touched on already.

Cody:

Yeah. I think it’s a really valuable addition to most any type of software startup especially. As soon as you start having customers and your business relies on your product 100% of the time, that is often the case for many software startups, everyone out there wants to have their dream app and have it released and have it make money and then have a lovely life of waiting for passive income. Having that workout and having as much uptime as possible is really only going to be able to be done if you have someone who is helping you along the way to make sure those servers stay up.

Cody:

And that’s part of the managed hosting solution. You obviously have, as we mentioned, the automatic kind of managed hosting provided from a hosting system like Linode, Heroku, AWS, but I think ultimately as you grow at scale and you start really relying on this for the entire operation, you should think about getting a proper managed host provider, like a sysadmin from Bixly or anything else that would be out there.

Cris:

Cool. It really just helps to have that set of eyes, always looking at the servers, monitoring things and making sure in the event that something goes down, it’s ready to be taken care of.

Cody:

Exactly.

Cris:

Cool. Seems reasonable. Well, I appreciate you taking time obviously, to connect on this and I’ll let you get back to managing a lot of stuff.

Cody:

All right. Thank you.

Alexandra:

I hope you enjoyed this episode of Big Slate Tech Tuesday where Cody explained the real benefits of managed hosting. And don’t forget to check out the links down below in our description. You can find our custom software guide, which is completely free, and we’ll walk you through the journey of figuring out how to develop your own application. And on top of that, you can check out our website, bigslate.com. There’s even a button there where you can sign up for a free app validation meeting with Cris to talk about your app idea.

Originally published at https://blog.bixly.com on June 1, 2021.

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Python/JS developers ready to work with you! California-based software development.