Farming out your application to a hosting service really has a lot of appeal. Let someone else worry about backups, performance and uptime Service Level Agreements (SLAs), upgrades, etc.
But do you really know exactly what your hosting agreement includes? What you will have access to? What is and is not covered?
Picture courtesy Public Domain Pictures.NET
One of the most eye-opening conversations I’ve ever had was with %*#@(^* – you know where they are today, right? They had moved their databases to a hosted environment. This worked great until they needed to do something as simple as run a query. That required a change-order. That’s right, they had to:
Talk about an absolute nightmare. They had been sold on the Cadillac hosting program, but then only wanted to pay for the Geo Metro offering.
I am encountering a lot of folks who are moving to a hosting environment and do not have a clear idea of what it will look like after they move. This is a horrible, horrible thing to contemplate. You need to dictate the terms and requirements up front. Otherwise you will reach the finish line and not be where you intended. AND it will cost you and your organization more money than you are saving by hosting to a hosted solutions.
I am not anti-hosting. As a matter of fact I pay to have a hosting service run my website and blogging software and databases. But, I get a FTP and Telnet level of access. I can take my own independent backups, and I can screw the site up on my own if I want. I knew all of this BEFORE I signed the contract and committed my money. Many companies are also making similar moves with their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems – ever heard of SalesForce? I am going to hope that these companies have checked to make sure they can still run their own custom reports and queries against the hosted copy of Oracle before they just sign away their most valuable asset.
What gets me flustered isn’t that people our outsourcing IT, what flusters me is that the IT folks don’t know or completely understand how the system will work once the hosting service goes live.
Doesn’t your data deserve the same level of scrutiny and protection regardless of it’s location?