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WEB HOSTING FAQS

Enterprise Web Hosting FAQ
By: Developer Shed
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    2004-09-14

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    Is Enterprise Web Hosting right for your business? Find out here in our enterprise hosting FAQs. Learn what to look for in an enterprise host and more.

    What is enterprise web hosting? 
    Enterprise hosting is more of a theory or an idea than other types of hosting people normally discuss. It is easy to define a dedicated server, a shared server, or many other kinds of servers people can purchase. Since the enterprise hosting is more of a theory or idea you will get a few different answers to the question “What is enterprise hosting?” depending on whom you talk to. These answers will range from the ability to upgrade systems or software at a moments notice to never having downtime. When the answers are put together we end up with the following list of what an enterprise host must contain: security, scalability, availability, performance, and reliability.

    •Security, an enterprise host should have a dedicated team of security professionals watching the network at all times for attacks.
    •Scalability, an enterprise host should be able to upgrade the system or even be able to put up another system or two up for you to use at a moments notice in case you foresee a significant traffic increase.
    •Availability, the network should always be up and running so users/clients can get to your web site.
    •Performance, the network (low latency) along with the computer itself should be setup such that performance is of utmost importance.
    •Reliability, the network should be reliable, much like availability, and the servers themselves must be reliable. Preferably backup power supplies and other fail-safes.

    Who needs enterprise hosting?
    Anyone who relies on their server for their web presents, data, or other means needs to get an enterprise host. There are different levels of enterprise servers, which come with different price tags, but if your business is going to rely on this server in anyway you will need to make sure it is reliable, scalable, and secure. You will also want to make sure the network can perform, is available, and is secure.

    What should I look for in an enterprise host? 
    It depends on your exact needs but at minimum you will want to make to make sure you are given a contact person for billing and/or technical issues. The reason for this is that you want someone to be accountable if your server is a business critical component of your business. While you might send your technical support questions to a support e-mail address you really should make sure if the question or issue is not taken care of to your satisfaction that you have a point of contact to get the issue resolved.

    Since the server will be important to your business making sure the hosts network is well connected with multiple routes to it is also another very important aspect, even if it is not for an enterprise host. The ability to upgrade either software or hardware should be on your list of things to look for along with the ability to add more servers if needed for seasonal rushes.

    What are some questions I should ask an enterpise host? 
    There are many questions one should ask a potential enterprise hosting company and I have listed a few below:

    •Will I be assigned a dedicated account person/customer relations manager?
    •Will I be assigned a dedicated technical contact to contact if there are problems?
    •Can the server hardware be upgraded rapidly or even a new server put in if needed to handle the load of increased traffic?
    •Is there a dedicated network and security team working 24 hours a day?
    •How many different Internet connections to the backbone do you have at the data center I will be hosted at?
     

    Why would I need enterprise hosting? 
    Security, scalability, availability, performance, and reliability; if those are important to you then you will want to consider an enterprise host. The ability to add hardware, software, additional servers, and other time sensitive details like that is what an enterprise-hosting package offers of just a regular hosting package. The purchaser of an enterprise-hosting package also gets more personalized service, usually with dedicated technical personnel to talk to when there are issues and dedicated account personnel to talk to if there are billing issues. If the server you are looking to get is going to be an important part of your business then you need the personalized service along with the ability to get things done fast so you should look for an enterprise host.

    What are some applications that might be used in enterprise hosting? 
    Some software that might run on an enterprise host is CRM, ERP, Real Media streaming, Enterprise MS SQL, or a number of other pieces of software. One of the objectives of enterprise hosting is that the server can be quickly upgraded or more servers can be quickly added to help handle the load required. The load might be due to a high-traffic entertainment or audiovisual site or it could be due to the seasonal rush on an E-commerce site. Making sure your host has the ability to meet your scalability needs in terms of traffic and processing power for your applications is what is important.

    Just because I am a business does that mean I need enterprise hosting? 
    You do not have to have an enterprise host just because you have a business. Remember that enterprise-hosting packages come in different price ranges so you might want to look into them especially if you expect your company to grow at a good rate. There is some added personal attention you can get with enterprise hosts that you wont get with a regular hosting package but at the same time you will pay more. It is possible that in paying more you end up saving money because you have the hosting company doing some of the work you would have outsourced without them though. So just do your research, find different hosts with different enterprise packages and see if they fit your need. Then compare them to other packages you are looking at.

    Does my E-commerce site need an entprise host? 
    Just because you have a business website does not mean you need an enterprise host. An enterprise host is made for those companies who need to move very quickly and get a lot of traffic. While there are different levels of enterprise host it is possible a smaller company might find an enterprise level host useful in that an enterprise level host usually has the ability to package many different items together to give a cost savings. The things they might package together are security patching of the server, monitoring the servers load, doing maintenance on the server, monitoring of specific applications, and possibly a list of other things that might cost the owner of the company a good amount of money. By outsourcing these services it could end up saving the smaller company, along with a large company as well, a lot of money and time.

    Your E-commerce site certainly needs an enterprise host if you are a fast growing company that requires the ability to scale and requires that you get the best service and uptime possible. If you web site is the major source of income then having your site up and responding to users/clients needs 100% of the time is certainly required. In this case an enterprise host is what you will want.


    Glossary of terms:

    Data Centers
    A data center is the location in which the servers are stored. This location has the Internet connections to connect the servers to the real world and it should have backup power generators along with security features.

    Managed Security
    This means there is a team of professionals watching or interpreting reports from different detection software to make sure that there are no security breaks. Data is becoming one of the most important components to businesses and making sure no one gets at your data should be a high priority.

    High Availability
    This is usually used in terms of the network itself and is used to say that a network has about 100% uptime. Being highly available is achieved by having multiple connections to the Internet, which allows traffic to get in the data center and to your server, even if one connection goes down.

    Dedicated Account Manager
    A dedicated account manager is a contact person for you in the hosting company who will be able to help you with just about any question you can have or they will forward you to the person that can help you. The reason this is better in an enterprise-hosting situation is because you will not be sending off your request into a cloud where the first person to grab the e-mail will respond. You will have a dedicated person that gets to know you and you get to know them so there is more incentive to make sure everything is done correctly and you are completely happy.

    Real Media Streaming
    Real Media streaming is Real Video or Real Audio, which is used to enhance a web site and give users a better experience. Doing Real Media streaming requires more resources from processing power to bandwidth.


    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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