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Every once in a while, our server will do something stupid. Maybe a log file got too big and ate up all the disk space, or a process has hung. In either case, the result is our website is down. And in e-commerce, downtime = lost sales.

All of the issues I can easily fix in 15 minutes or less. But the issues never occur when it's convenient. It's always 4am, or when you're on vacation, etc.

Our company is small and can't afford another IT person/server admin/etc.

What we would like to do is find a company that provides 24/7 emergency server support on a contract basis. A non-technical employee can call them up and say "the site is down", and they'll log into your server and troubleshoot the problem within 15 minutes or so.

We don't need installation or removal of software, routine upgrades, or configuration. Just someone who's always available to fix problems quickly in an emergency when I'm not available.

Does such a service exist? Where might we find it?

Clarification: We're using a VPS provider that maintains the hardware and network infrastructure for us. But the don't provide os or software level support. Were looking for a company that can fix software or OS issues remotely via ssh, on a contract basis.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I hope it's not against ToS to mention specific companies, but we've been using an outfit called "Server Surgeon". Their admins are very helpful, and very quick to respond to any issue you've asked them to monitor. They've also assisted us with server hardening. I'm the lone sysadmin @ my shop, these guys are the backup plan when I'm asleep or unavailable.

We've simply arranged for them to be able to access our existing Linux infrastructure, told them how to navigate our systems and what to check for, and they keep an extra set of eyes on it for us. They're very flexible, and seemed willing to work out custom monitoring solutions.

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I think this may be more along the lines of what we're looking for, will check them out and post back. Are they the only company with this kind of service? –  Nick Feb 25 '10 at 17:39
    
I'm not sure of alternates --- this was setup just before I got to wear the sysadmin hat (I 'upgraded' from developer), and I haven't had a reason to switch. –  Jason Feb 26 '10 at 12:15

Yes, it's called "Managed Hosting". For what it's worth, we use Rackspace.

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I've clarified the original question above- We're using a VPS provider similar to Rackspace's "cloud server" offering. They provide hardware and network support, and leave the software up to you- Which I'm fine with. We're not looking for a fully managed solution, just someone who does emergency monitoring and repairs, remotely, when called. I was thinking with the rise in popularity of VPS solutions with similar policies, that someone would've started a company to close the gap in emergency support. –  Nick Feb 25 '10 at 17:49
    
Rackspace's policy is they "don't touch your data or code" with managed hosting. Basically... it's a really expensive windows update service, and pretty worthless. –  Cory Mawhorter Apr 7 at 18:34

Most decent sized local consulting companies will provide this service for you, but that is going to be highly dependant on your location - which you don't give and would be too localized for this forum (Although if you post your location you'll get some good suggestions ... possibly).

The quality of service you receive will be directly related to how much you are willing to spend. I would also say that a 15 min first response SLA would be more expensive than hiring a dedicated person on your end ... or just plain not offered.

What you will normally see is 30 - 60 min first response SLA on the low end ($$$$$$), 2-4 ($$$) hours would be more in line with industry standards for an external support company.

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I've edited the original question above. Our hardware is maintained by the hosting company, but they don't offer software level support. So were looking for remote emergency (after hours) support. –  Nick Feb 25 '10 at 17:52

Have you considered outsourcing your IT infrastructure that specializes in management? There are several Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) hosting companies that provide 24x7x365 server management and support. I personally recommend NetDepot (www.netdepot.com) and have used them for over 3 years. They have on-site technical support engineers and provide network and uptime, hardware replacement, and other SLA's that you simply can't get with a consulting company.

Overall, your company will reduce IT costs and overhead by outsourcing your server infrastructure and having it managed by a team of engineers who are available and on-site 24x7x365. NetDepot also provides phone support so you can always call them no matter what time of day or night. Their data center is PCI compliant and recently became SAS 70 type II certified.

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protected by Michael Hampton Jan 21 '13 at 23:06

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