The decision ultimately comes down to budgets and money, but what other factors do you consider? Time? Expertise? Integration with other systems?
Time and again, I've seen companies outsource their application hosting...and (implicitly) responsibility. That's when folks start only considering the marketed costs. This frequently leads to "Well, Sparkle Pony Systems, Ltd is hosting our servers, so if something goes wrong then they are to blame".
So, some due diligence is in order to ensure the application hosting company is up to the job. An on site visit or two is a must.
- Technical Staff
- Meet them, get their backgrounds, gauge their moods
- How long have they been there? Is there high turn over?
- Are they truly experienced in the platform you want to run on?
- Tour the server room
- Is it neat and organized? (No media and dust on servers, no unlabeled patch panels)
- Do they have spare parts and emergency kits readily available?
- How is the security? Are you left alone? Do they need keys to access everything?
- Is the colo well known in your area? (And not in the basement of the owner's parents house)
- Is everything redundant?
- Health of the business
- Do they have a respectable customer list, companies that desire stability in their vendors
- Are they financially sound? (Can be subjective and hard to accurately gauge.)
- Is their a ticketing system in place? 24h access to engineers?
Yeah, those are the things I look for in such companies. It is amazing how many mom-n-pop, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants companies there are out there that are in this biz.
I actually performed this type of due diligence about two years ago with a few companies and am pleased with our selection.