The term “Managed Server” is a blanket industry term used to describe any service in which the provider is responsible for a bulk of the server management. Additionally, the provider typically owns the servers and leases it to customers. At the same time, the types of services included can range widely from one provider to the next. This makes it essential for businesses to take a close look at the service level agreement when comparing managed server opportunities. There are a handful of services which are critical and should be included in every SLA.
Operating System Installation, Configuration, and Updates
The first type of service every provider should include when offering managed servers is operating system management. This includes operating system installation, configuration, and updating/maintenance. Across the industry, it is extremely unlikely to come across and SLA which does not include this. At the same time, it is important to pay close attention to what type of operating system is made available. Customers rarely get to choose the operating system included with the package, however the specific operating system will be named in the service level agreement.
Another service which must be included in the service level agreement is data backup and retention. A majority of managed server providers offer some type of data backup. The problem is many of them are not comprehensive. Instead they focus solely on mission-critical data. Depending upon what type of information a business will be storing on managed servers, the depth of data which should be backed up will vary. Along with looking at the data backup process, special attention should also be placed upon how long backup data is retained and how quickly it can be restored onto the managed server.
The level of digital security provided by a managed server provider is typically not disclosed up front. Instead, it is included in the service level agreement. With so many different types of security options available, it is up to the business to choose the best one for their situation. Regardless of the specific tools utilize, it is essential they are proactive as well as reactive. This will prevent malicious attacks on the server, while also ensuring a plan of action is in place to protect the data if an attack does reach the hardware/software.
Performance Monitoring and Optimization
Server performance monitoring optimization practices must also be included in the SLA. There are a variety of different approaches to server performance monitoring and optimization so it is imperative a business works with a provider to approaches monitoring and optimization in an acceptable manner. It is particularly important to focus on how performance is monitored and how often optimization takes place.
The final detail to focus on when looking over a service level agreement for managed servers is how additional support is allocated. Some SLA’s will include a set number of hours per month reserved specifically for customize support. Others will not set aside any hours for customize support, however will offer it on a per hour basis for an additional fee.
While the quality of the managed server provider will ultimately determine whether or not a business is happy with their partnership, the SLA will provide all of the details a business needs in order to understand exactly what they should expect.
Henry More writes articles about data centers and colocation in the Austin area. Henry believes companies should always think about customizable solutions that are tailored to meet their needs.