Both Managed Hosting and Managed Colocation allow businesses to outsource some responsibility, while still gaining access to the infrastructure and resources necessary to support current activities as well as future growth. The big question businesses must answer when choosing between managed hosting and managed colocation is how much they are willing to outsource. To answer this, there are five primary factors to consider.

1. Control

The most important question to answer is how much control a business is willing to give up. With managed hosting, businesses have very little control over the hardware and operating system they will be using. On the other hand, managed colocation allows businesses to purchase their own hardware and operating systems. Both options provide an equal amount of control over daily maintenance, upgrades, and patches. In terms of control alone, managed hosting provides the least amount of control because a majority of the responsibility is outsourced to the managed hosting provider.

2. Necessary Investment

Another factor to consider is how much a business is willing to invest up front.  Managed hosting allows businesses to focus on only paying ongoing operating expenses. On the other hand, managed colocation forces businesses to invest in their own hardware and software. Many small businesses are not a position to purchase the amount of servers they require, so managed hosting is there a best option. As businesses grow and have more available capital, managed colocation becomes a more financially viable option.

3. Access to State-of-the-Art Facilities

At face value, both options provide access to state-of-the-art facilities. The primary difference is who selects the facility. Businesses using managed hosting services allow the provider to select the facility they store their servers. Businesses using managed colocation gain the opportunity to select the facility themselves.

4. Support

There are a variety of different ways to view support when comparing managed hosting and managed colocation. At the most fundamental level, both options provide equal support because the level of support is dictated solely by what the service provider is willing to offer. As a result, support will vary on a provider by provider basis. It is important to always pay close attention to the service level agreement to ensure enough support is provided.

5. Ability to Expand

The final consideration when deciding which option is best suited for a particular business is the ability to expand. Managed hosting makes expansion easy because the business simply has to order a larger package. There is no additional capital investment because no additional assets must be purchased.  It is important to understand there will come a point where continually expanding via managed hosting may become less cost-effective than choosing managed colocation. Businesses using managed colocation must purchase additional hardware and software in order to expand. As a result, expansion dictates an additional capital investment which is unnecessary when using managed hosting.

Managed hosting and managed colocation both offer a variety of benefits and opportunities to businesses of all sizes. It is important for a business to assess their current and future IT needs in order to select the option which is best suited to their specific situation. When in doubt, managed hosting is likely the best solution because it is easier to transition from managed hosting to colocation rather than the other way around.

James Phillips discusses colocation opportunities in the Houston Area.  He believes managed Houston colocation should be considered by any company that wants to keep data safe. James helps educate readers about the benefits of colocation and data centers for companies of all sizes. The  Houston Data Center he admires most is discussed in greater detail at