Virtual Hosting and my IT resources
Amongst Virtual Hosting customers, there is a misconception that moving to “the Cloud” is an easy way to eliminate the cost of IT staff. This is rarely true. Most virtual hosting providers do not offer managed hosting. If they do, it will usually be at a significantly extra cost. In the end, you may end up outsourcing your IT management services. Thus you end up paying for them anyway. If that was part of your strategy, by all means. If you need someone who knows the company needs and methodologies, retain your IT department.
Why does the virtual hosting provider not manage my VPS?
In short, time and cost. Managing 5 or 6 client VPS’s is easy. Doing it for hundreds or thousands is not. Managing client servers steals focus from the core of the business – virtual hosting. Each client will have their own set-up and software. Thus managing client VPS’s actually needs a dedicated services department. It is not possible to provide world-class hosting at a reasonable price point AND manage client servers. Once your virtual hosting company has reached a certain size, they can afford to bring a Managed Services department on board.
Why do some small hosting providers offer VPS management?
This is both a good and a bad thing. If you do it early, you run the risk of losing focus at the cost of growth. As your client base grows, you have a choice. This means that:
- You charge extra for services that you used to provide free
- Work 24/7 for the same income
- Stop growing and be happy with what you have.
If you try to keep growing, you will run into complexities of scale. This could destroy your business. Scaling up on hosting is not too hard. Scaling up on VPS management is expensive. Both in terms of human resources and time/energy removed from your core focus.
How can I effectively manage my VPS without tech knowledge?
Google is your friend. If you are not willing to either hire an in-house IT guy or to outsource your IT needs, you will have to “man-up” and start learning. Many of us who are today leaders in IT management and Open Source services started in just this way. The deep end is a good place to learn to swim.
Where do I find help?
One advantage of Linux over Microsoft is that the Linux community is large. As a result, a few thousand people on the internet have experienced the same or similar problems as yourself. These people often post their solutions for others to use.
The good news for Windows users is that this Open Source way of working has spilt over to Microsoft users. Thus there are now many free forums and discussion boards where one can find free advice and step-by-step “HowTo” tutorials on almost any topic.
- Howtogeek: Windows Tools
- Wikiversity: Windows Server Administration
- Techgenix: Windows Server 2012 Basics Part 1
- TechTarget: Windows Server Monitoring and Administration
- CBT Nuggets: Microsoft Server Administration
- The Windows Club: Windows Help
- Tutorialspoint: Linux Admin
- Linode: Linux System Administration Basics/
- Techmint: Linux Admin
- Speakerdeck: A Linux Server Administration Tutorial for Beginners
- Guru99: Linux Tutorial
- Linux Foundation: Free Linux Training
I hope this encourages you to learn and grow in IT.