5 Common Management Tasks - And the Hosting Companies That Do Them Best

Updated: April 30, 2009

When searching for a managed hosting provider, the availability and quality of management services concerns businesses most. While many managed-hosting companies offer a full menu of management services, commitment and quality levels tend to vary widely between firms. While one provider may do a great job of handling software-related tasks, another may drop the ball on infrastructure management.

Since different businesses have different priorities, it's important for any prospective managed-hosting customer to survey the market and find the provider that excels at the tasks it needs most. Earlier this year, technology-research firm Gartner Inc . examined the managed-hosting industry and prioritized the leading players' strengths and weaknesses. Using that report as a guide, we have compiled the following list of five common management tasks and the hosting providers that do the best job at each.

1. Infrastructure Management: Businesses that need a managed-hosting provider to assume firm control over infrastructure resources will want to check out service offerings from Terremark Worldwide Inc . In 2007, the company acquired Data Return, a small independent Web-hosting provider. Gartner claimed that the takeover bolstered Terremark's infrastructure-management capabilities. "Data Return has a track record as a risk-taking visionary with significant engineering expertise, [a] highly automated infrastructure and very good customer service." On the downside, the report criticized Terremark for its limited North American service footprint and limited market presence.

2. Application Management: IBM Corp . is the choice for companies that need management of complex software systems. "IBM can provide excellent application hosting and management for ERP, CRM and other complex systems, supported by the legacy Corio platform," the Gartner report stated. Customers, however, must be willing to put up with IBM's notoriously complex contracts featuring often inflexible terms.

3. Security Management : For many businesses, security is the top reason for using a managed-hosting provider. Gartner commended CSC (Computer Sciences Corporation) for its "broad and deep" security offerings. The research firm also noted that CSC "has made significant strides in improving the quality of its products and customer service portal." Not so good is that "communications between different operation and products groups can be poor, leading to tasks 'falling between the cracks,'" the report observed.

4. Open-Source Product Management: More companies are embracing open-source technologies , and it's important for these firms to find a hosting provider that knows how to manage such resources. Gartner suggested that Rackspace Hosting Inc . is well suited to work with customers on open-source projects. "Operations and engineering competencies include very strong expertise with open-source technologies," the report stated. Rackspace's failing is its limited product and service selection, plus a restricted number of on-demand offerings.

5. À La Carte Managed Services: For businesses that want to be able to select individual managed services, and not be forced to pay for features they don't need, AT&T is a good choice. Gartner said the provider "is the leader in the à la carte managed services, 'colocation -plus' approach." On the other hand, the report warned that customer service is weak, yet "improving gradually."

Featured Research
  • Best ERP Features and Benefits for Your Business

    Are you considering investing in ERP software for the first time? Or maybe you already have an ERP solution but you’re worried it’s becoming dated. If either of the above apply to you, read our latest guide on the top ERP features and benefits based on the size of your business. You may be surprised at how versatile and cost-effective it is becoming - regardless of if you own a small business or run a large enterprise. more

  • 8 Ways the Cloud is Changing ERP for the Better

    What if there was a tool available that allowed for you to save up to a quarter of your operational costs? Studies have shown that Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions enable businesses to access accurate, real-time information about daily operations which allow for the reduction of operational costs of up to 23% and administrative costs of up to 22%. more

  • 7 key questions to ask any ERP provider

    Having a fast-growing business is good. Having to overhaul your technology every time you need to scale is not. Upgrading to a more complete Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution can help, but how do you ensure the solution you choose is exactly what you need? To help you with your search, we’ve pulled together 7 key questions every fast-growing business should ask before choosing a cloud-based ERP solution, including: more

  • How Finance Leadership Pays Off

    Oxford Economics recently surveyed 1,500 finance executives and it’s clear that small and midsize companies are growing significantly faster than larger companies. But, there are also big opportunities for finance to increase efficiency, boost financial performance, and work more strategically. Why is that? more

  • Professional Services Audience – Improve Profitability Infographic

    As a Professional Services Organization (PSO), you know the importance of customer satisfaction. In fact, 47% of PSO leaders say managing changing customer expectations is their top challenge. That’s why many firms are engaging smarter project management technology, even before deals are signed, to ensure project profitability. How are these leaders utilizing technology? Find out now. more