The Hosting Spectrum: Which Solution Fits your Business?

  • Last updated on: 2018-10-26
  • Authored by: Rackspace Support

Choosing the right hosting solution is a very critical piece to your business. According to many hosting providers, the standard way of choosing hosting is to look at the market and try to fit your company into the model that has already been established. However, Rackspace encourages you to look at the needs of your business and staff and decide which hosting solution best supports what you want to do. The diagram below is a good guide with which to start your decision-making process. It essentially outlines the provider’s responsibility versus the customer’s responsibility. We encourage you to look at this diagram as an introductory piece to help you understand how much of your company’s time and efforts will be focused on managing servers or on driving innovators for your business.

In-House (Do-it-yourself)

The customer has complete ownership of the IT management stack. Along with this high degree of management, the customer undertakes a high degree of responsibility for maintaining the config 24x7x365.

Traditional Colocation

The provider offers physical space for a server on a rack. The customer is responsible for purchasing, configuring and maintaining the physical hardware (servers, firewalls, etc.), software and the operating system. The responsibility is lessened due to the provider maintaining the physical space, power, and networking, but any issues that arise outside of the provider’s responsibilities must be resolved by the customer - day or night. A colocation strategy requires that the customer select a vendor with a data center located within a reasonable distance from the IT staff, as any issues with devices, operating systems, application infrastructure, and applications must be handled by the staff.

Managed Colocation

In Managed Colocation, the provider offers the data center space, network, servers and other devices. The customer retains full control and administrative responsibility over the hosting environment (operating system and applications). This scenario creates shared responsibility. With the hosting provider managing the hardware, network and power, the responsibility of the operating system and application lies with the customer’s staff. Managed Colocation provides the desired level of control that businesses get with traditional colocation, but removes the day-to-day management of servers and network devices.

Managed Hosting

In a Managed Hosting environment, the provider owns and is responsible for the data center, network, device (i.e. servers, load balancers, firewalls, etc.), virtualization, OS and application infrastructure (i.e. web servers, application servers, database servers) of the IT infrastructure, providing a stable operating environment for the business’s applications. The IT staff manages the business applications and has full control over the operating system and application infrastructure. The customer retains control of their software and applications. Managed Hosting provides more support compared to the previous hosting options and allows businesses to focus fully on their core mission.


The provider has complete ownership of the IT management stack, including the data center, network, devices, virtualization software, operating systems, application infrastructure and applications. Fully outsourced solution providers offer service level agreements (SLAs) promising specified levels of application availability and as a result they restrict their clients from having any administrative access to their environment, including their application. This means that any changes to the application infrastructure or the application itself must be approved by the vendor and implemented according to their timetable.

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