Simply migrating your business’s technical infrastructure to the cloud isn’t enough to make things flow smoothly. You also need to think about how that cloud space will be managed to make infrastructure, storage, and applications work efficiently and simply for your business.
Luckily - managed cloud services are available to take the burden of management off your hands. And there's so much to choose from, with so many options available providing various features for various price points.
So, to help you choose, I've done some research instead. These are the best managed cloud services out there:
- Rackspace (Comprehensive management with a cloud provider of your choice)
- DigitalOcean (Command line-based interface for Linux and Unix developers)
- Amazon Web Services (Highly scalable cloud server with thousands of applications)
- CloudSigma (Pay-as-you-go solution for scaling businesses)
- Hyve (High-security cloud server for businesses with sensitive data)
Custom pricing, depending on your needs
Recommended for: businesses that require a high-end, simple management solution.
Rackspace focuses its services on ease of use and stability - making it a great choice for small companies that want to simplify the process of working on the cloud.
To start, Rackspace designed its platform set up to be as simple as possible so that managers without IT experience can work their way through the process. When issues arise, it offers a 24/7 support team to walk you through the process.
Rackspace’s service also includes a 100% uptime guarantee for their data centers, meaning that the company will reimburse you for any time its cloud servers are down.
In addition, Rackspace’s management solutions work for a wide variety of cloud server hosts. Rackspace itself offers servers through the OpenStack Cloud, but it will also manage existing virtual server instances on Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.
Another advantage of Rackspace is that it’s one of the few manage cloud services that can put both virtual and physical servers in the same data center and on the same network. This is a major advantage for companies that require a physical server, for example for working with highly sensitive data or on government contracts, but still want to leverage the data-processing bandwidth of cloud servers.
Note that Rackspace management plans are custom-priced, meaning that each business will get a different price tag, depending on its needs.
You can contact the company to get a free quote.
- 24/7 support team
- 100% uptime guarantee
- Management services for servers with other cloud providers
- Hybrid virtual-physical management options
- Pricing structure is not clear
Prices start at: $5.00/month
Recommended for: businesses who work dominantly with Linux and Unix applications.
DigitalOcean is full-service cloud hosting and management platform targeted specifically at Linux and Unix developers.
The platform takes a somewhat different approach to its managed cloud servers than most other providers, dropping the graphical user interface in favor of a clean and uncluttered command line.
While some Linux or Unix knowledge is necessary to get started with setting up your cloud environment, everything else you need to know about DigitalOcean’s platform is covered in their comprehensive documentation.
Another contrast to other managed cloud solutions is that DigitalOcean offers extremely transparent pricing. Plans start with a monthly price based on the size of the server you want to use (the cheapest option is $5.00/month).
Then it’s up to you to determine how much storage you want to add on and whether you want additional management services like load balancing and floating IPs.
That said, there are a few downsides to DigitalOcean’s unique model. The platform is only useful for Linux and Unix users, as there is no support for Windows servers or applications. In addition, the add-on pricing structure makes it more expensive to scale an advanced cloud server than with other cloud management platforms.
- An uncluttered command line interface
- Transparent pricing model
- Comprehensive documentation
- No Windows server support
- Pricing structure makes it difficult to scale
Prices vary depending on your business needs
Recommended for: businesses who are looking to seriously scale.
Amazon Web Services is an excellent choice for growing businesses thanks to its expansive array of features and management tools.
It’s hard to list all of the potential services that Amazon Web Services can offer – in 2017 alone, the platform released over 1,400 new features. To start, there are applications for loading petabyte- and even exabyte-scale amounts of data onto the cloud, applications to compute that data using machine learning and artificial intelligence, and applications to sort all of that data into customized SQL databases.
Thankfully, Amazon Web Services makes it easy to get a birds-eye view of the servers and applications you have available to you with a well-organized administration panel.
It’s also worth noting the security features available to you in this panel, which include setting encryption keys, managing user identities, and managing and logging server usage.
Of course, all of those options mean that getting started on Amazon Web Services can be tricky. The platform has come a long way in terms of making it easier to see the options available and to automatically setup Microsoft or Linux servers with the most frequently used configurations. However, it remains difficult to figure out how much the service will cost before you start using it. So set everything up, and see it for yourself.
- A huge array of available applications
- Excellent security options
- The basic setup is straightforward
- Setting up advanced server instances can be complex
- Hard to figure out pricing in advance
Recommended for: businesses looking for an affordable, pay-as-you go solution.
CloudSigma is an inexpensive alternative to larger managed cloud companies that allows small businesses to scale easily as they grow.
Getting started with CloudSigma is surprisingly easy thanks to a setup wizard that quickly walks you through the basic steps to establishing a new virtual server. In case of problems, CloudSigma offers a free 24/7 customer support team.
What sets CloudSigma apart is its low and unbundled price structure. The platform charges according to your CPU, RAM, storage, and transfer bandwidth usage, so you only pay for the services that you actually use in any given month.
Plus, you can mix and match solid state drives and magnetic storage for your operating system and data files to get the most performance out of your server for the lowest cost.
And the features of the platform look very much perfect for most businesses (click to expand).
In addition, all CloudSigma instances come with excellent data security measures built in. For example, all data is encrypted during transfer to the cloud.
Furthermore, the company’s data centers are all independent from one another. This means that data that is processed only in a single country whenever possible so that your data only falls under the jurisdiction of a single government. Overall, a good and safe experience.
- Simple setup with 24/7 support
- Inexpensive pay-as-you-go pricing
- Excellent security with independent data processing centers
- Hard to figure out pricing in advance
Prices start at: $75.00/month
Recommended for: businesses that require the highest level of security.
Hyve is an excellent managed cloud server option for businesses that value security above all else.
It is one of the few cloud platforms to actively fight distributed denial-of-service attacks. This capability is thanks to a real-time monitoring system that prevents unwanted connections from flooding the network.
In addition, the Hyve team manages a suite of firewalls to protect your data. For healthcare businesses and businesses with government contracts, Hyve’s cloud is both HIPAA and FIPS certified.
On top of that, Hyve prides itself on reliability. The VMWare system that its cloud operates on allows it to migrate your data to another server during maintenance so that downtime is at a minimum. All of your data goes through a daily incremental backup and a weekly full backup, with additional custom backups available on request.
In terms of performance, Hyve offers small businesses the ability to scale to a moderate degree. Servers are capped at 192 GB RAM and 24 CPUs, so the platform is not designed to handle enterprise-scale levels of data processing.
Of course, all of these services come at a price. While it is difficult to figure out an exact service price without talking to a Hyve sales rep, basic plans start at $75/month or higher.
- Secure against distributed denial-of-service attacks
- HIPAA and FIPS certified
- Daily and weekly data backups
- Plans are expensive
- Limited computational power for big-data applications
The Best Managed Cloud Services: Which One is Right for You?
To choose the best managed cloud service for your business, you must consider how much computing power you need, what types of applications you want to run, and how important security is to your business. Still can't choose?
Well, here’s how the five managed cloud solutions stack up:
- Rackspace is for businesses that need a simple management solution and the ability to work with existing virtual servers on other platforms.
- DigitalOcean is for businesses and developers that work primarily with Linux and Unix applications.
- Amazon Web Services is for businesses that need to crunch big data and want the versatility to run any application.
- CloudSigma is an inexpensive pay-as-you-go solution for businesses that need a scalable cloud server.
- Hyve is for businesses with highly sensitive data that prioritize security over computational power.
Have another managed cloud service in mind that you’d like to see on this list? Leave me a comment below!