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I've seen offerings such as VPSs (Linode, Rackspace Cloud), which are very cheap but you're on your own, and managed hosting (Engine Yard, Rackspace), which are very expensive but they do all the system administration for you, in some cases even writing your deploy scripts.

Is there any kind of middle-ground option where I don't have to pay the huge flat rate for the management, but can still request specific sysadmin tasks to be carried out and pay on an hourly basis?

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My group does this. We have a fully managed server environment as well as basic management like security patches and updates for Windows Boxes.

Fully managed starts at $150 a month, pick and choose at $110 a month

Send us an e-mail with your exact needs and we may be able to help you out. We don't currently offer Linux management though.

http://www.pabstproductions.com

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If you get a VPS, there are people who can take care of the sysadmin tasks for you, for a price of course. They're often cheaper than the cost of full managed hosting from one of the big companies, and typically more flexible as well.

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Could you point me to some specific providers? Or at least keywords that describe this type of service so I can improve my (so far unsuccessful) google searches? Thanks! –  obvio171 May 11 '10 at 5:32
    
Well, I have a VPS at Slicehost (www.slicehost.com), and every so often there's someone on the community forum (forum.slicehost.com) advertising sysadmin services. So wherever you do get your VPS from (if you do), there's a decent chance that you can find people within that hosting community. (You can also consider this a little plug for Slicehost ;-) I'm not sure I could tell you anything to improve your Google searches, though; I just know that people are out there. –  David Z May 11 '10 at 21:30
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