Managed Service Providers (“MSP”) providing an SSD option are becoming increasingly popular. However, a problem with shared hosting environments is resource usage management on the physical server itself and the various logical servers it supports. Several instances of seemingly independent servers sharing physical resources, each being independently configured and managed by different users, can be a recipe for disaster or poor performance at the very least.
In a shared hosting environment, a single physical server supports one or more virtual servers. Each has it’s own environment and appears to be a fully-fledged server in its own right. They do, however, share the physical server’s physical resources.
Ensuring that one virtual server does not monopolize the physical server is vital in providing acceptable performance for all server instances. A shared environment with different management teams working to maximize their server’s performance can lead to conflict.
One performance area needing continual attention is hard drive performance. In particular, Web-based systems tend to be more disk intensive than processor-intensive applications, and poor HDD performance will seriously degrade overall performance and responsiveness.
HDD versus SDD – what is the difference?
HDD uses physical disk platters and a mobile read-write head to read and record data. A stepping motor drives the read/write unit across the platter in small increments to position the heads in the correct place.
The critical determinants for an HDD are the disk rotation speed and data transfer rates. The higher, the better.
An SSD has no moving parts and does not need to wait for a platter to rotate so is a lot faster in operation. In raw speed terms, SSD drives can be as much as 10 times the HDD speed, but that depends on the SSD and the connection type.
If you need the performance benefits of an SSD envBest Dedicated Server Providersironment, who are the best MSPs? How do you measure them, and what criteria do you apply to pick the best-dedicated SSD shared hosting provider?
The first place to start, as always, is to prepare a checklist against which you can assess candidates. Work out what your mandatory, important, and nice-to-have criteria are, and perhaps assign weightings to each, though that is not really necessary. One obvious criterion is that first-level storage must be SSD.
You have prepared and agreed to your criteria. The next step is to assess potential MSPs against the requirements. There are two ways to proceed. The first is the long way of using your criteria list as an integral part of a Request for Proposals, which you issue to the general public or a select list of potential suppliers. You then rank responses against your criteria, and the best fit wins. That will take a few months at least.
The second and quicker way is to identify potential suppliers and again assess them against your criteria list without preparing a formal Request to Tender. This is a more informal approach and relies on your knowledge of potential suppliers. However, the news you are out to tender will spread in the market, and you will likely be approached by other potential suppliers.
Either way, you will have a shortlist of potential suppliers at the end of that stage, with a preferred candidate and a backup or two. That is your list of the Best Dedicated Server Providers.
At this stage, you should have a Go/No Go checkpoint. The Tender responses will give you an idea of the capital and recurrent costs of the outsourcing exercise and if it provides the tangible and intangible benefits you expect. See how closely the best response comes to meeting your requirements, financially and technically.
One point to remember is that you are establishing a long-term relationship with the MSO, so you need to be comfortable with them. “a good fit.”
The final stage is to prepare a formal contract between yourselves and the preferred supplier, effectively a Service Level Agreement (‘SLA”). An SLA is vital in protecting both parties’ interests and prevents who is responsible for what confusion and later arguments.
Agreeing an SLA separates the best from the rest.
The candidate may already have a template, or you can download one from the Internet.
In the past, an SLA was mainly concerned with the tangibles, management, and maintenance of the hardware and software. As experience has grown, they now include softer targets, such as problem and change management.
Please bear in mind that the SLA is mutually agreed upon and defines a business relationship between two entities. It sets out a mutually beneficial business partnership that neither unduly enriches nor penalises either party.
If you are not happy, and the MSP won’t compromise, walk away.