What Exactly IS Application Hosting? How to Tell the Difference

What Exactly IS Application Hosting? How to Tell the Difference

What exactly is application hosting, and how can you tell the difference between what you are looking for and all the various marketing terminologies and definitions that you scrolled past on Google? This article will seek to provide a more understandable, high-level answer that will enable you to uncover the best way to migrate your business software to the cloud, without having to go through link after link of web hosting services gaming SEO for your views. The type of resources needed to power a website server are well below what is needed to handle a system like an ERP or CRM, so finding the right partner is integral for a successful migration.

Here are the key points you need to know to be able to tell the difference between business-level application hosting and everything else:

Everything Hosted in the Cloud

Part of the confusion in precisely defining each level of service is that the cloud has allowed nearly every segment of a traditional IT deployment to be digitized and loaded in from a remote connection. Everything from the environment to develop the software to the resources to run it, to even the product itself can be managed through a datacenter located somewhere else in the world, and all of it from the same server. Coupled with the fact that network service expertise is not a monolith (there are various levels of proficiency depending on role), categorization has struggled to keep up with a technological evolution that outpaces existing definitions too quickly to record it.

Application Hosting VS Web Hosting

The broadest definition of application hosting includes almost every digital asset that can be loaded through from one piece of hardware into another. On the website hosting side, however, there is no requirement to deliver anything more complex than a HTTP/HTTPS protocol, and so web servers typically only have the capacity for that and to host the domain’s files. While programs that would have historically been desktop apps blur the hosting lines since they are loaded in a browser, there is still a world of difference between providers that only host webpages, like HostGator and those like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure.

Software Hosting VS App Hosting

Reiterating the above, everything that is an application can be hosted and deployed as SaaS (Software as a Service), but there are many levels between cloud service providers (CSP) that separate web hosting, SMB-level and enterprise-level partners. Even consumer-facing apps like Netflix that need room after room of server farms to serve their entire customer base have an entirely different degree of complexity at the user level than an ERP. More advanced systems have layers upon layers of coding, multiple modules and will often need to be integrated with external applications to perform comprehensive functions, all of which need to be managed by support resources.

ERP and Business Applications Hosted in the Cloud

Enterprise Resource Planning software and even smaller desktop accounting applications like QuickBooks have historically been regulated to static on-premise servers and analog connections to workstations. The cloud has allowed publishers and trusted CSPs to be able to deliver these systems to users digitally, while on the latter side it also enables those that are qualified managed service providers (MSPs) and product experts to be able to supply IT support for the hosted environment. This is also a key point for determining what is business-level application hosting versus glorified web hosting - more complex solutions require monitoring and maintenance that only experienced partners can provide consistently.

Small Business Hosting VS AWS or Azure

It may be tempting to treat searching for an application hosting service as you would many others by trying to track down the most affordable one, but not only does this present security dangers, there is only so much room for difference in pricing. Cloud hosting is pay-as-you-go (PAYG) and costs are based on resource usage levels that are scalable across the market, but where scalability becomes a challenge is support provisioning since smaller and bigger CSPs alike lack the personnel to dedicate consistently close management of your account. Finding a reliable hosting provider when you are too big for some and too small for the others can quickly become a Goldilocks Aesop, but the most cost-effective choice will be the partner that can provide the best over value to your technology stack.

Your Cloud-Hosted Environment and Plan Impacts Service

Definitions for the many variations and categories in cloud computing continue to change as functions cross lines that blur adjectives like “public” and “private” cloud, opening the possibilities for hosting Anything as a Service (XaaS). What this means for your business as a consumer, however, is that you must do your due diligence when approaching any potential provider to ensure their version of application hosting actually fits into your strategic objectives. How they define their service can make a big difference in the value they are able to return to you (if any), and a lack of transparency - or real technical expertise - could signal much pain later.

Learn More About Application Hosting from Secure Cloud Services

Secure Cloud Services is a certified CSP for all of the ERP and other software products we host, including with QuickBooks, Sage 50, Sage 100, Sage X3, Acumatica and more, from a datacenter designed to handle the specific support requirements of these solutions. Our technical consultants and network engineers have decades of combined experience with these solutions and are able to provide real-time support and more comprehensive education on everything you want to know about application hosting.

Contact SCS today to discover more about hosting any or all of your applications in the cloud with the experts in hosted ERP environments.






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  • Hector Bonilla