Outsourcing Server Administration
Outsourced Server Administration
Server administration is essential to keep your web server and your business running smoothly. But if you don't have a large IT budget or you don't have the right expertise in house, then it might be worth outsourcing server administration to another company, perhaps even an offshore company. This means that you get to buy in all the expertise you need, but at a fraction of the cost of maintaining an in-house IT staff. There are advantages to doing this, but you will want to know exactly what you're getting for your money. Here is an overview of the services offered by third party server administration companies.
NV3.net specializes in Linux server administration. Its services for the corporate sector include network administration tasks such as intrusion detection, file server maintenance, systems monitoring, load balancing so that a sudden flurry of visitors doesn't take your server down, and backup and recovery services. The company offers three server management plans, starting at $99 a month. All the plans include firewall installation, the removal of unused services, installation of patches and security updates and support for a number of operating systems (including Red Hat, Fedora and CentOS. The top network administration package at $299 a month, includes installation of security updates within 12 hours of issue, bandwidth control, constant monitoring and analysis of firewall and system logs.
Rack911 provides a number of administration services, including initial server setup. For $75 you can get a Cpanel setup, while a Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP (LAMP) setup starts at $100. If you need control panels installed on your server, this will run to $40, with cPanel, Plesk, Hsphere, Ensim, Directadmin, and Interworx all available. Rack911 will also upgrade control panels for a fee.
One of the tasks you might need to undertake is changing operating system or changing server. Both types of migration can be handled by Rack911 at a cost of $50 and $100 respectively. And management plans start at $100 for basic administration. The company provides a full range of security related services as well, with firewall installation and management, system hardening, server software upgrades and security upgrades. All of Rack911's services are individually priced so you can put together a package of the server administration tasks you require. This makes it easy to add and subtract services as you need them, and to create a tailored package.
Bobcares is well known for providing telephone and helpdesk support, which are invaluable for anyone running a web hosting business. But Bobcares also provides server administration services. These include kernel upgrades, PHP configuration, installation and updates, Perl and Apache installations, data backup and migration services, security updates to any system software, and the installation of software and scripts. There is a $25 setup fee and customers can buy five or ten hours' time at $75 and $130 a month respectively. Custom plans can also be negotiated with Bobcares, which offers a wide range of additional services.
Tummy.com charges $200 an hour for its consulting services, though packages can be negotiated. The company supports popular Linux distributions (Red Hat, Suse, Mandrake, Fedora and others) and can also handle installations of third party software. Similar services are also available from Linux Network Care, which provides remote server management for a monthly fee. Linux Network Care also monitors and audits servers, implements security solutions, handles control panels and technical support, as well as managing anti spam and antivirus solutions.
AdminGeekz offers a number of server administration tasks, including monthly packages which start at $300 and custom solutions at $60 per hour. Server administration tasks handled include server setup, including a variety of control panels, and web, mail and DNS setup. AdminGeekz takes security seriously, and will audit servers to make sure they are hacker proof. The plan allows for up to two servers, so you can have separate servers for databases and web, for example. Constant monitoring and security updates are also included in the AdminGeekz server administration packages.
All of the companies offer a wide range of services. Control panels, network management, security, installations, patches and upgrades are all part of a standard network administration package and most companies will offer some combination of these, with variations in operating systems supported. However, there is also another option for outsourcing your server administration � and that's to hire an individual to handle administration tasks for you. This requires a great deal of trust, as you are handing over all your secure details, possibly to an individual you have never met. However, you may be able to get references which will help you to establish whether individuals are trustworthy and competent.
One place to search for people to handle server administration tasks is on webmaster and web hosting forums. In fact, some administrators will post there to let people know they are available. Look out for qualifications such as the MCSE (Microsoft Certified System Engineer) and MCSA (Microsoft Certified System Administrator). Competent systems administrators may also have Cisco certification. Check to see what companies they have worked for and the level of experience they have in areas such as control panels, security upgrades, script installation, migration, network analysis and the like. There is absolutely no reason why you can't get a professional service from system administrators who are working on their own and you may be able to negotiate a price that will suit your budget. The administrators can be located anywhere from America to Argentina � there are plenty of people with these skills worldwide.
So you don't have to have a huge IT staff to manage your network and servers professionally. Instead, you can shop around to find a pre-existing package that will manage your server for you. And if the existing packages don't meet your needs exactly, most companies are willing to customize the packages so that you get a server administration package that is tailored to your needs. Third party server administration can be very useful and there's a wide range to choose from.