Dedicated managed hosting providers offer two related but different services. When used in conjunction with a traditional IT consulting services provider, a managed hosting provider can reduce a company's IT capital budget by offering access to server technology and to a pre-configured data center in which to locate it.
Managed hosting providers typically offer two broad classes of servers: dedicated and cloud servers. Dedicated servers are just like the server that a company may purchase for itself in its own data center. They are typically enterprise-grade hardware that have their own CPU, their own storage, and their own hardwired connection to the network. For companies that need a server but don't necessarily need the power of a dedicated server, cloud servers look and feel like a server from the user's perspective but are actually one server shared among multiple users. Virtualization software allows a single server to be split into multiple, different virtual machines, giving every user a sense that it has its own server but reducing costs by using a single piece of hardware for all of them.
Managed hosting providers also offer the hosting service. This includes everything from the network cable that the server plugs into to the connection to the Internet. With a managed provider, companies are freed of providing their own bandwidth, their own power, and their own physical infrastructure. The hosting provider manages the data center, the network, and physical security for it. This allows companies to get access to extremely advanced network infrastructure without the cost of purchasing or maintaining it.
Beyond Managed Hosting
Managed hosting providers don't do everything, though. One of the ways that they are able to offer a high level of service at relatively low cost is by limiting what they do. Typically, a hosting provider won't support inside the server's hardware. What this means is that operating system and software support is typically left to the client or its IT consulting firm. This gives the client the ability to work with the consultant of its choice while still getting the benefits of outsourcing hosting.