Microsoft SQL Server is a relational database management system used to serve data requested by other local or remote programs. Numerous editions are available with various services included such as: Replication Services, Service Broker, Analysis Services, Reporting Services, Notification Services, Full Text Search Services, SQLCMD, Visual Studio, SQL Server Management Studio, Business Intelligence Development Studio, and Integration Services. Needless to say, SQL Server is a complex system in its own right. As such, it needs to be installed on a robust physical or virtual server. Because of the costs associated with buying and managing a dedicated physical server, many SQL Server users have opted for SQL Server hosting.
What is SQL Server Hosting?
SQL Server hosting service providers offer both shared and dedicated SQL Server hosting plans. Instead of buying your own server and managing it on premise, you would pay a monthly fee for the service. Your implementation of SQL Server would take place in a remote datacenter on either a shared or dedicated server. Features vary based on the SQL Server hosting provider and the options you choose. For example, if you choose a hosting plan that includes a generous allotment of network array storage, you can expect to pay an additional fee for that added feature.
Advantages of SQL Server Hosting Services
Why choose a hosting service when you could just as easily buy a server and avoid monthly fees? SQL Server hosting may or may not be the right choice for your company. However, the advantages are compelling:
Capital savings - Buying a dedicated server is expensive. In fact, you could easily spend several thousands dollars on a server. With SQL Server hosting, you pay a small fee each month. The SQL Server software is also costly. Depending on the edition and number of licenses you need to purchase, the cost could be thousands of dollars. With SQL Server hosting, you can pay for the database software on a monthly basis if desired. Likewise, if you choose a dedicated hosting service and have your own existing, valid SQL Server license, you can install it on your dedicated server remotely.
Operational savings - In addition to paying for the hardware and software on a monthly basis, associated operational costs are non-existent. Because the server is located in a remote datacenter, you do not need to cool the equipment or incur any energy costs related to its use.
Management - With SQL Server hosting, the service provider takes care of maintaining the server equipment. For example, if a memory chip fails, the service provider will replace it. Most service providers offer an optional management plan where they will handle additional administrative tasks such as installing patches to SQL Server or monitoring the system's performance.
Optional network array storage - Many SQL Server hosting providers offer upgraded storage options such as an optional network storage array or high capacity RAIDs.
Scalability - As with other "as a service" services, SQL Server hosting allows you to start out small and grow as needed.
Fast implementations - Though time frames vary by provider, it's not uncommon to be up and running within 24 hours.
SQL Server hosting makes sense for many organizations, large and small. It can save you a large upfront investment, reduce operational and administrative costs, and provide you with access to optional features as needed.
Stephanie is the author of this article about the advantages of sql server hosting and how it can benefit your organization. She enjoys explaining these advantages to her readers and how an organization could benefit from implementing this type of hosting solutions.