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The Hosting Stack

The value chain of the hosting industry can be described using this stack:

There are numerous terms used in the industry to describe the hosting service:

  • Colocation
  • Managed colo
  • Dedicated server hosting
  • Managed hosting
  • Public cloud
  • Virtual private cloud
  • Private cloud

These are discussed elsewhere on the site and are the potential destinations for our Cloudchoice decision-making tool. We believe that these categories, and the IaaS, PaaS and SaaS categorisations, apply to all of the above terms. The terms themselves are merely determinants of ownership, responsibility and commercial models. The service that’s ultimately being delivered is the same.

To understand hosting, and cloud computing as a hosting variant, it is necessary to understand these areas. Fundamentally, the further up the stack the customer moves, the less they are responsible for the technology and the more reliant they are upon the service provider – e.g. they buy more “as a Service”. Conversely, in the case of colocation or on-premise clouds, they may be delivering all these technologies themselves, “as a service” to their internal clients, with no third-party managed services involved at all. Ultimately, the decision of what cloud/hosting solution to opt for will be dependent largely on the availability of internal resource, skills and the desirability of self-management versus managed services.

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