Hosting Layers: Layer II – Components

In our last post, “Hosting Layers:  Layer I – Infrastructure,” we discussed the importance of the base layer of a hosting environment (a.k.a. “the bones”).  This post will discuss the components and/or systems that reside on top of that base layer.  Building upon the foundation with reliable components is key to identifying a solid/stable good hosting provider.

This second layer deals with the components that go into a data center.  The saying “lipstick on a pig” comes to mind when the manicured outside of a data center gives way to old/outdated equipment with limited redundancy.  The following represents a list of ‘component’ items that should always be discussed when thinking about hosting providers:   

Network:  Wide Area Network connections should have redundant paths into the data center.  In addition, high-quality equipment should be utilized.

Servers:  A hosting provider should always provide the customer with enterprise-class service at a fair price.  This should be apparent with the servers that are utilized by the hosting provider.  Redundancy and components held on-site should always be discussed.

Virtualization:  This is a topic that could be (and is) often discussed in-depth on its own.  For the purpose of this post, it is critical that you work with the hosting provider to understand what virtualization means and how it can be used to service your company.

Storage:  This is an area where many hosting providers cut corners.  It is very important that enterprise Storage Area Networks (SANs) are utilized to provide for fast/reliable access to data.

Backups:  Speed and reliability are key to taking backups in a SAP environment.  Understanding how a hosting provider will execute this function is critical to normal operations/risk reduction.

When thinking about what makes up a good hosting provider, the items above are examples of what makes up the component layer.

In our next post, we will discuss “Layer III – People and Process”.  As always, more information can be found at http://www.itelligencegroup.com/application_hosting.php .

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