Inhouse vs. Outsourced Hosting

To provide hosting there are a few essential components required. This document will discuss what needs to be considered when planning to either host internally versus the "Anchor" alternative.

  • The hardware/server to run the hosting on
  • An internet connection
  • Someone with the knowledge to manage the machine and internet connection

Other aspects to be considered:

  • Environment
  • Reliability
  • Security

Hardware

Internally

  • Where is a machine going to be sourced from?
  • What machine specifications are necessary to run the hosting?
  • What happens if a component on the machine fails?

A server is typically going to cost anywhere from ~$1,000 up to $10,000, which represents a significant upfront investment.

Anchor

  • No need to purchase a machine outright. Our hosting options means we provide all the hardware for you.
  • Significant experience in determining the hardware requirements necessary to host a given service.
  • Shared web hosting has redundancy build in. Eg. RAID arrays, so if a hard drive fails there will be no data lost.

  • Extensive testing and burn-in completed on all hardware before being provisioned.
  • Comprehensive monitoring systems in place to check health and availability of server.
  • Spare hardware on site pre-tested and ready to go in the event of a hardware failure.

Internet Connection

Internally

  • What type of connection is going to be required? (ADSL / SHDSL / SDSL / dark fibre)
  • Is this going to be available in your location?
  • At what cost?

SDSL is probably the most affordable solution for small/medium size businesses, at approximately $100/month. However, the link speed is approximately 1/100th the speed of any one of our links. What contingencies are in place if your ISP has an outage? What about if the router in your office stops working?

Most general purpose connections provide by an ISP are generally optimised for inbound traffic. In a hosting environment most traffic is outbound.

As for high speed connections purely designed for this purpose (eg. dark fibre connection); installation costs alone are likely to be many thousands of dollars.

Anchor

  • We have multiple internet links including: 1 Uecomm (Optus), 1 Primus Telecom as well a link to PIPE Networks for domestic peering.
  • All Links are 100Mbps links. Substantially faster than most business grade services.
  • All links are backed with SLA (Service Level Agreements) from the providing company.
  • Are independent of one another, so if one fails the server will still be accessible on the internet.
  • Network is configured for high availability with automatic failover, meaning all core infrastructure is redundant.

  • Tier 1 Anchor network, of which we manage all aspects, including routing. We have little reliance on upstream providers to make changes.

Configuration and Running

Internally

  • There is a need for someone with the knowledge to configure and tweak the server.
  • Is the person who is going to be managing the machine be available if and when something breaks?
  • Is their specialty going to be web hosting and server configuration?

Anchor

  • All servers are tweaked to work best in a hosting environment.
  • We have 3 Levels of support with over 60 years combined experience in the ICT industry.
    • Escalation processes in place, to ensure that requests are automatically escalated accordingly. All the way up to management.
  • All senior support staff have tertiary qualifications in this industry.
  • Our services are monitored 24x7, so if something breaks a technician from our team is notified immediately.
  • Our specialty is exactly this, providing comprehensive and robust internet solutions.

Reliability

Internally

  • What happens if your ISP has an outage? Going to be costly if the internet is a primary way of generating income.
  • What happens if there is a power failure?
  • Hardware server problems, if something fails how long will it take to correct or to receive a replacement?
  • What happens if there are software problems on the machine?
  • Backups? Are you going to define your own backup policy, data retention scheme, install a tape drive and then rotate tapes off site daily?

Anchor

  • The Anchor network is configured with highly-available, multiple redundant Internet connections.

  • All core infrastructure is redundant, removing any single point of failure, and is monitored 24x7.

  • All services on shared hosting are monitored 24x7.
  • Varying level of support and monitoring on Anchor dedicated servers, depending on your chosen support pack.

  • Power supplied to datacentre by multiple feeds, UPS and generator backup.
  • Anchor provided and managed backup solutions can be supplied with all hosting services.

Environment

Internally

  • Where is the server going to be stored?
  • What alternative power supplies are available?
  • How is the temperate going to be controlled?

Anchor

  • Anchor uses the Global Switch datacentre, which is often regarded as the best data centre in Australia.

  • This is a "mission critical" facility and is solely built with the purpose of providing online connectivity. It is not a retrofitted office, like many server rooms.
  • Carrier Neutral facility means any carrier can obtain access to the facility.
  • AC power is supplied by two different grids for redundancy.
  • UPS for fault-tolerance, backed by a diesel generator with 24 hours capacity. 24x7 call-out fuel delivery contract in place.
  • Temperature controlled by redundant air conditioning systems.

Security

Internally

  • Two aspects regarding security:
    • Who has physical access to the machine?
    • Is the software on the machine secured to prevent unauthorised access? What controls are in place to guard against that?

Anchor

  • The datacentre is an environment with electronically-controlled access.
  • Closed-circuit TV cameras both inside and outside of the facility.
  • Security guards on the premises 24x7.
  • Regular software updates are applied to all our shared hosting infrastructure to maintain integrity.
  • Philosophy of "defense in depth"; multiple layers of security on all of the servers we maintain.