Selecting a hosting platform for digital experiences like websites and apps can be a challenge. I review a few resources I have found helpful to make the process of finding hosting and infrastructure fast and easy. We focus on software and service providers for investment firms, but much of this goes cross industries.
Many firms are moving to infrastructure as a service. I have seen this shift first hand at companies large and small, from startups to Fortune 500 enterprises. Cloud hosting provides scalability, lower cost, processing, and distribution efficiencies. You can achieve significant cost savings by moving to these technologies. I walk through the process to find solutions to keep overhead low in order to grow fast and maintain focus.
Making a Selection - Side by Side
Ideas International released a tool to help with competitive pricing of cloud solutions, CloudSizer that was purchased by Gartner. The solution allowed you to perform a direct comparison of providers side by side in a slick format which now requires you to have a Gartner account. We have since found HR Rank to provide this comparison of free and lower cost offerings. You can compare metrics like price and performance.
- Amazon Web Services
- RackSpace Cloud
- RightScale - Amazon Reseller designed for large online applications
- NTT Communications
- VPS Net
- Relia Cloud
Making the Move
The challenge that stops many is the transition process can be arduous. The most compelling story of such a transition is Amazon Retail. John Jenkins(JJ) from the Retail division frequently shares that Amazon Web Services was not a result of Amazon.com's infrastructure needs. Instead the retailer slowly migrated their infrastructure over to AWS. Vadim Jelezniakov, Director of Infrastructure Engineering at The New York Times, shared several large scale implementation success stories across several projects. Outages are always a cause for concern, but with the growth of server monitoring like Cloudkick Dynatrace, Nagios, New Relic, and IsTheService down for AWS along with comparison tools above have allowed cloud infrastructure to become prevalent. There is also the option to mitigate issues through hybrid environments, mixing cloud services and managed on premise hosting.
(Image: Alcatel, NY Times on the AWS Implementation Panel)
Tools to help identify available domains, like, Bust A Name can help you find domains that are actively being sold. The service helps buyers connect and place offers for current owners of the domains.
The method for choosing the right fit comes down to requirements and resources. Open Source solutions, like Wordpress, Drupal, and Magento, may not cost money up front but require an investment in time that should be a major factor in assessment. As Luke concludes his piece it is important that the actual users are committed to leveraging the solution, and ready to maximize the potential.
For those with server administration expertise that are looking for a more affordable solution open source is a great way to go. If the team does not have this expertise or plan to build it, hosted providers are the way to go. The founder of Drupal, Dries co-founded a service company, Acquia to serve this need.
At Fund Wisdom we chose to use Drupal. This decision was based on all the factors Luke describes. The cost was $0 for the software itself, but hidden costs have arisen from time spent customizing through modules, themes, views, and more. It also helps we are in Boston which is the same city Acquia is based.
When considering a hosting provider be sure to check out Gartner Reviews, VPS Benchmarks, and HRank to help with the decision. We leverage A2 Hosting, Dreamhost, and have historically used AWS and Rackspace. Much of our decision was based off the high level of resources required to run the set of modules in Drupal. We look forward to reading your thoughts and feedback in the comments below.