Unlike dedicated server or a shared server hosting, enterprise hosting is not easy to define. It encompasses a wide variety of solutions that includes various levels of security, reliability, performance, scalability and availability. Essentially these services have common purpose – to provide service to meet the requirements of a high level enterprise.
Enterprise hosting is ideal for organizations looking to optimise their budget, increase performance and efficiency. They would be able to outsource activities such as configuring, managing and upgrading hardware and software on a continuous basis. This allows the internal IT support teams to provide better support to users in the organization.
Different Enterprise Hosting Services can include different services. Some of which can be managed network services, server services, storage services, web server services, database services, security services etc.
Why do you need it?
Most organizations find it too costly and difficult to develop and maintain a competent enterprise hosting service. It can provide several advantages to organizations.
It is a 24 x 7 solution: As mentioned above, it really is costly to maintain an enterprise hosting solution. Keeping it up for 24 hours 7 days a week just makes it a lot more costly. If you are buying service from one of the providers, they would be able to manage for you at a far better cost.
Complete server ownership: You are buying the complete server along with its associated abilities including elite backup and security capabilities. It also would have a well-placed support system and a management system to provide valuable service for your organization. The services are suited to the requirements of your particular organization and are not a general plan that is randomly picked.
Affordability: Even though the server is under the complete ownership of your organization, the management and support would be done by the provider company which helps save money on software and hardware.
Scalability: In case your organization is growing, the enterprise hosting service offers you the ability to scale your package according to your requirements.
Customization: As the server is completely yours to utilise, you are free to pick and choose software that is ideal for your organization. Your organization is free to add applications or tools as per preference.
Enterprise Hosting Services for different businesses:
If you own a small business with a stable amount of traffic, it is ideal for you to choose from other server hosting options. But, if you are expecting sudden growth and the website is all set to receive massive traffic, then you should choose Enterprise Hosting Services.
E-commerce websites in particular will need full scale enterprise hosting service as the traffic can increase exponentially within short periods.
While deciding to choose the type of hosting you want, you would come across two terms – managed dedicated server and unmanaged dedicated server. So, what is the difference between these two, and which one is better for you? Let’ see.
It’s a very simple difference as indicated by their naming itself. When choosing a managed dedicated server, your hosting provider will take care of the server administration part. There are two ways in which a managed server can work – either the hosting provider will charge you a higher overall cost or you would be asked to pay for it every time the server needs to be managed.
Different levels of support would be offered by providers. Such as:
- Phone/email support
- Uptime and downtime monitoring
- Usage tracking (CPU or hard drive, RAID, bandwidth)
- Software or tools support
- Updates, OS configuration, debugging, customization, etc
The providing company would usually also setup firewalls, ensure backups are taken in regular intervals, and all server settings not in use would be disabled to prevent security loopholes. Before finalising a managed server option, you should make it a point to ask the providers about every activity covered in the service by default.
On the other hand, you are left to manage your dedicated server with an in-house server administrator/ IT manager or by yourself while going for an unmanaged dedicated server. There would be no support from the hosting provider.
The complete responsibility for the server maintenance would fall upon you. The provider will simply install OS and cPanel for you after setting the hardware, connecting it to internet and allotting the IPs. During emergencies of any kind, you will have to take care of it on your own.
Which is better?
As mentioned above, choosing an unmanaged server puts higher responsibility on you. You do not get to enjoy the strength of solid support from the hosting providers. So, it’s not a choice that is advised unless you are capable of handling it yourself, or you have a server admin to take care of it on your behalf.
Meanwhile, a managed dedicated server is an ideal solution for you if there isn’t a deep level of knowledge or supporting hands for server maintenance. During emergency situations, there would be experienced hands to help you out. This would help you focus on the actual service rather than the support function of server management.
Though managed server seems to cost you more, if you consider the advantages it adds to your business, then it is a better value proposition.
Essentially, the difference boils down to a simple point – on whether your server provider manages the server or not. If you have the chops to manage, an unmanaged dedicated server can be a good choice for you. Otherwise, it would be wise to choose a managed server.
A Content Delivery Network also called as a Content Distribution Network (CDN) is a network of proxy servers and data centers that are distributed across multiple geographical locations. The prime aim of this sort of distribution is to ensure that the end-users can make the most of this layer of the internet ecosystem. They can enjoy high availability and high performance of web pages surpassing their spatial constraints. CDNs also help protect the site from huge surges in traffic.
With all these factors concerning CDNs in place, it makes sense to choose a befitting CDN. If you are confused about how to pick and choose the right CDN, here are the pointers that will become your guiding light.
- The Geographical Coordinates of Your Web Visitors
First and foremost, you should be in a position to determine the current location of your web visitors. For this, you need answers to two important questions. They are:
- Is your website registering traffic from various parts of the globe?
- Is a substantial percentage of traffic coming from visitors residing in a particular geographical location?
If you are able to answer these two pertinent questions, then you will be making a well-informed move in choosing the right CDN based on data points. And the data points here concern the location of your web visitors. If you notice a combination of these scenarios, it can be an intelligent move to choose a CDN with multiple POPs. This will enable your visitors to always check on your website, promising you increased traffic.
The second most important consideration to choose a CDN would be to delve deep into your financial needs. For this, you can knock on the doors of many CDN providers who can provide you with a monthly payment plan. There are others who bill as per the GB usage. Several others follow the “pay-as-you-use” plan. Hence it is crucial that you come up with your bandwidth requirements which can help your CDN provider to craft a befitting plan that will suit your pocket.
You simply don’t have a choice between HTTP and HTTPS. It is always advisable that you incorporate the HTTPS protocol to your website. And here is a smart way of doing this. Given a scenario that you haven’t migrated your original server to HTTPS, you can still avail the benefits of HTTPS assets that are available with your CDN. This way, you can secure your website from registering mixed-content warnings.
The “pull” and “push” zones are the determinants which enable your content to be cached on your CDN. Tagged as the most commonly used method, the “pull” zone ensures that you automatically copy your assets on to the CDN. You are lucky if you are operating with a CMS like WordPress. This will help you set up your “pull” zone within minutes.
In contrast, a “push” zone involves the manual upload of your files on to the CDN.
It is a normal practice with most of the CDN providers to provide you with a shared zone URL to host all your assets. But this comes with certain disadvantages. You will not be incorporate the principles of SEO and branding to a shared zone. Hence the way out would be to choose a custom zone URL which comes with a CNAME. Employing this zone, you will be in a comfortable position to host all your assets on your own domain.
The speed of your CDN can make or mar your website traffic. Hence it comes as a wise move to test the speed of a CDN before signing up for it. You can avail the free trial period that is offered by many CDN providers to make a befitting choice. Resting your decision on the test results, you can employ the “performance test tool” to evaluate the speed of a particular asset that your CDN can provide across 14 different geographical locations.
Last but not the least, you should tie up with a CDN provider who guarantees you data security. To arrive at a right choice, you should look into the security parameters like two-factor authentication, DDoS (Distributed-Denial-of-Service) protection, secure token and hotlink protection. Assessing the security capabilities of your CDN provider on the basis of these parameters will ensure that your website data is safe and secure at all times.
Wrapping It Up
You now have 7 pointers that will help you make a well-informed choice of picking the best CDN from the lot. You can thus conduct spade work with each of them to ensure that your website ranks high with fast and secure media delivery to your end-users.
As a player in the ever-expanding IT business sphere, the “10 Gigabit network” buzzword must be ringing in your ears from quite some time. If you wish to make the most of this promising technological development, you will be faced with a series of commonly posed questions whether or not your enterprise needs such a high-speed network and whether your company can afford it at this point in time.
So here is a question-answer format that will throw light on the specific needs of small and medium-sized enterprises to tread the technological path laid out by the 10 Gigabit Ethernet network.
- Is A 10G Network Essential For My Business?
- What Is The Budget That I Need to Set Aside for a 10 GBE Network Upgrade?
- What is the 10G Network Upgrade All About?
- What Are The Best Means To Ensure a Smooth Transition?
First and foremost, the fundamental question that comes to anyone’s mind when it concerns a major technological development has its roots linked to its basic need and the pain points it will address.
Why do I need a 10 G network?
This is the question that needs to be answered. And if you are looking for a befitting response, here it comes!
Gone are the days when brick-and-mortar stores were the prime means to conduct business. Now, with the proliferation of the internet into every facet of human life, most of the businesses are treading the digital path. Every operation, right from marketing and sales to support and service is carried out through a swift and reliable digitized network.
With the growing patronage to technologies like server virtualization, 802.11ac, IP convergence, Cloud and the Internet of Things (IOT), all these innovations are poised to improve productivity. On the flipside, they can lead to a major drain of your network’s speed.
It is also the thing of the past to rely on a network that simply works. Now is the time when you need more from your network to keep pace with the emerging trends in the digital space. It is in this context that small and medium-sized enterprises can benefit from a 10 Gbps network core by substantially avoiding network loads during peak times.
By choosing this network, you as an IT manager can improve the productivity of your employees. Another benefit comes draped in the form of shortened customer response times. All in all, this network speed can help you tread the path of organizational growth through the introduction of new products which can be marketed at rocket speed.
Answering the fundamental question concerning the need for a 10 Gbps network cleared the air of its necessity. Now, you need to look into the financial constraints of investing in the 10 GBE network.
To upgrade to a 10G network, you need to spend on 3 essential components; 10G core switches, 10G network interface cards for storage devices and servers and lastly on access switches that promise you 10G uplinks.
Speaking of the cost of 10G switches, go back a decade in time and you had to shell down $4,000 for a single 10G switch port. Now, you can purchase a single port for $150. You can check out the Cisco 350X and 550X switches that are tailor-made for the requirements of small and mid-sized businesses. You can also bank on the vast assembly o 12, 16, 24 and 48 10G ports which start off with a meager $1,500 market price.
Moving on to the 2nd component of a 10G network upgrade, you will have to invest a meager amount for different brands which cost between $200 and $300 to source a 10G network interface card (NIC). This card can be used to link servers and storage devices.
You have an affordable option for access switches with 10G uplinks. You can check out the Cisco 500X series which offer 24 and 48 gigabit ports with 4 10G uplinks. You may ask, at what cost? You don’t have to burn a hole in your pocket to purchase these access switches with 10G uplinks. These come with an affordable price tag of $1,000 as their market price.
It is pretty simple!
When you are working with a 10GBase-T which is supported by the Cisco 550X and 350X series switches, you will have to employ the conventional RJ45 network cable. This cable helps you connect the 10G switch with your storage, servers and all other switches. The next step is to move up 100 meters just as in the Gigabit network. However, this comes with a caveat. You need to ensure that you choose a Cat6A grade RJ45 network cable which can be easily sourced from IT hardware stores.
A point to be noted here is that the affordability and ease-of-use are the two positives in favor of the rising popularity of 10GBase-T, connected to servers and network switches. So, the first move that you should make if you do not have any 10G devices is to invest in the 10GBase-T ports.
Moving on the 10G switches, you should be informed that Cisco 550X and 350X series of switches are compatible with 10G SFP+. If you have an existing device that supports 10G SFP+, you can use these ports. However, you will need a 10G connection to interface with other switches that are farther than 100 meters.
Concerning servers and storage devices that support a 10G SFP+ port, you can cut down on the cost by picking a 10G Direct Attach Cable. Typically made of copper, these cables come with SFP+ connectors on either side with measured and pre-cut lengths of 1 meter, 3 meters and 5 meters.
What if you have switches that are more than 100 meters away?
Fret no more!
For this situation, you will need a pair of SFP+ modules which come with a matching fiber cable between them. If you have to cover a distance of 400 meters, then you can employ a multi-mode SFP+ and fiber. However, a single mode SFP+ and fiber can help you reach out to 10 km.
Migrating to a 10G network can be simple since it does not call for a one-time upgrade of your entire network. You can phase out the upgrade operations. You can start off with the core switches that will be used to connect with all your access switches. You can focus on them so that you can connect with your servers and storage devices. If redundancy is a matter of concern to you, it is best for you to come up with the number of ports you actually need. A simple trick can be to stack up two core switches which promise you extra performance while laying the foundation for a robust network.
With your switches upgraded to 10G, you then have to move on to upgrade your key access switches and servers and connect them to your new switches. This is when you will notice an immediate performance surge coming from the most significant and crucial parts of your network. You can leave the rest of the network as it is since you can rely on the 10GBase-T ports which can work in reverse order with Gigabit links. An important piece of information is that the 10G SFP+ cage is also compatible with 1G SFP modules.
This way, you can follow a piece-meal approach to upgrade your entire network to 10G.
With so much information now in your hands, it is hardly any obstacle between you and your dream 10G network. Small and mid-sized enterprises which can easily source Cisco 550 X and 350X switches series can make the most of the budget-friendly means to upgrade their networks. This way, all such enterprises who have upgraded to a 10G network will walk in good stead, matching the galloping pace of technological innovations that are influencing network speeds.