5 things that you're likely not getting from your hosting partner that you really should have today and will get from Opus Interactive are:
First, Most hosting providers and data centers are staffed with IT engineers that understand servers and networks, and that's great.
Your hosting partner should be savvy enough to work with you while you're strategizing your client campaign and recommend the best hosting solution to fulfill that campaign.
Second, Does your hosting partner have onsite Application Deployment Engineers? Can they support Flash, CRM applications, ecommerce, window apps, content management, report using google analytics, urchin, clicktracks, websidestory, sitefinity, AWstats, and are experts in sitecore, joomla, mailbuild, dotnetnuke, Application support and management are services that traditional hosting providers may not provide, but they are offerings that can make a huge difference in the success of your client programs and campaigns. Be sure to explore the depth of your hosting provider's expertise.
Third, Trying to keep clients and internal teams on schedule is nearly impossible in most agencies. The client may use four, or even five, rounds of creative revisions when the timeline called for only three. That doesn't mean the campaign can launch later. In fact, there are a lot of quick turn requests your hosting partner needs to be able to make, and more importantly they need to be keenly aware of the consequences. Load balancer and firewall rule changes for example can kill a site as traffic builds, so an agency savvy hosting provider is imperative to your success.
Fourth, When an agency is launching a campaign for a client, it's likely got a shelf life. Three months? It's likely not going to be a yearlong campaign yet that's typically the terms that most hosting providers use. Look for a hosting partner that can offer 3, 6, or 9 month terms; a partner that can rent equipment and/or offer virtualization solutions, which are easy to provision and scale real time. Consider using a hosting provider that provides their solutions in a white label format, so you can brand it as your own. It's a great way to enhance the value you offer to your clients.
Fifth, The agencies that are growing in this economy are those that are pushing the envelope and providing a web experience that creates stickiness and hopefully a viral following Unexpected demand for bandwidth requires the ability to scale resources in real time. You'd better hope that the technology they use is as solid as your campaign. When it comes to virtualization solutions, you can't beat VMware. When it comes to server design and reliability, you can't beat HP. When it comes to chip architecture and computing speed, it's hard to beat Intel. When it comes to virus and spam filtration, IronPort is hard to beat. Your hosting provider maybe staffed with really nice techs, but be sure to look under the hood. It doesn't so much matter what the engine looks like (the data center or server environment) as much as the quality of the driver at the wheel (agency knowledge and knowhow).
Opus Interactive is a portland based managed server provider, having SAS 70 certified data center.
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