Article | November 26, 2012

Choosing A Cloud Vendor For Hosted Servers

Ali Din

By Ali Din, Sr. Vice President and CMO, dinCloud

Is hosting servers more complicated than it appears?

Recent headlines cited that a well-known website hosting company,, shut down its virtual private server offering. This was based on pulling it back and re-packaging it. In my conversations with another cloud provider, I heard a similar case where they launched a hosted server offering but had to stop offering it until they figured out “how to do it correctly.”

Most people would think that hosting servers is fairly straight-forward. However, as a cloud service provider, it is a lot more complicated than it seems. There are a lot of factors that go in to the business model (change by the hour, the day, or a flat monthly price), and also technical considerations (some of which need to support the direction the business model determines.

It is for this reason that you should look at more than just the specs that a hosted server provider offers. Look at how they view the business. Is it just an extra line item that they added to their catalog? You can tell if the company is well-known for another line of business – for example, the companies mentioned above started with either website or email hosting services.

Hosting servers, especially when these servers are helping run your business, require your cloud service provider to be more involved in the on-boarding process. If you were just renting compute power for development cycles, you could get away with being more lax about this decision – drop a credit card and off you go – but don’t fall into the false sense that migrating to the cloud is instantaneous.

Migrating and operating servers in the cloud still require planning and migration. If you have already virtualized your servers, then you should be able to import or migrate them to the cloud service provider. If you haven’t already virtualized your infrastructure, then a “P2V” (physical to virtual) migration is involved. Either way, you can see that it is important to be in contact with the engineering team at your cloud service provider so the process goes smoothly, and as intended.

If it is your first time going into a virtualized environment, you will want to make sure your cloud service provider has an engineering team that can help you with on-boarding. Services they should offer include:

  • configuring your cloud servers
    • determining the memory, compute power, and storage
  • installing software
    • including the operating system and some base applications
  • migrating data
    • capturing data and loading it onto the cloud servers

You might already have IT staff or someone with a technical inclination – however, it is always nice to know that you have a set of resources available in case you have questions or need assistance in some aspects of the cloud on-boarding process.

Some cloud service providers augment this gap by suggesting you find an IT consultant that can on-board you to their cloud. While it is always important to have outside resources, understand that cloud services are still quite new. Despite all the hype, some consultants are still getting up to speed on cloud technologies. The biggest challenge is having an adept skill-set for cloud services, and that it involves so many different technologies. You want the resource assisting you to be knowledgeable about servers, storage, and networking. Previously, in the on-premises world, these were generally isolated disciplines. Thus, an engineering team that is available at the cloud service provider will be able to assist with questions as a complement to your consultant. Make sure that the cloud service provider has such a team, and that it is friendly to working with the channel of consulting companies.

Moving to the cloud is undoubtedly a good move – for cost savings, ease of management, business continuity, and productivity enhancement. Just make sure when you choose a cloud service provider and IT consultant, that they do not over-simplify the process of on-boarding to the cloud. As long as you are prepared with a plan, you will certainly enjoy the benefits that cloud-based services offer.

Ali Din is Sr. Vice President and CMO at dinCloud, a cloud transformation company that helps organizations rapidly migrate their IT infrastructure to the cloud through business provisioning. For more information, visit