Managed cloud hosting
Our cloud hosting service focuses on hosting business applications and infrastructure (like database servers) as a cost-effective alternative to hosting those applications and services on your own hardware. We do not offer basic website hosting; there are thousands of companies who can provide somewhere out in the cloud to host a simple website, much more cheaply than we could. On the other hand, if you need to host mission-critical applications or websites, and you take things like availability and backups seriously, then you should be considering our hosting offerings.
We can host Linux or Windows servers, and we can provide everything from tiny development and testing servers with 512MB of RAM, up to powerhouse servers with 16+ cores and 64GB or more of RAM. Because the servers are virtual cloud machines, they can be resized on demand and new ones can be created in a matter of minutes. We can create whole networks of virtual cloud servers, all on a shared private LAN using VPN technology to ensure that communication is secure as well as fast. And your servers are no longer physical machines, with moving parts and things that can overheat: they are now just binary images that can run on any hardware. Failing hardware is now somebody else's problem, and disaster recovery is just a matter of spinning up a copy of your server(s) on some other hardware host.
We build our hosting services on cloud servers provided by two different global hosting companies. You could obviously just commission a cloud server directly from one of these hosting companies yourself - so why use LimeGreen? Put simply: for the value we add.
We can optionally manage your hosted servers. They are still your servers, but we take on some of the tasks normally handled by an IT department. Specifically, this means we:
For smaller companies with no IT department of their own, or for larger companies that wish to completely outsource the management of a particular server or servers, we also offer 100% managed servers. With these, we look after the servers like an IT department would - backup and restore, disaster recovery, operating system upgrades, and dealing with day-to-day issues with core server functions like file serving, FTP and firewalls. Note, this service does not include dealing with issues with non-core functions, such as email or HTTP servers; we can resolve such issues, but on an hourly-paid basis.
This service includes a webapp-based helpdesk where users can raise support tickets. Note, this only includes support queries relating to applications if they relate to an application for which we provide first-line support (see the Application support page); however, if we are providing first-line for an application, it is a natural and sensible extension to also opt for Complete Management on that server, so we are a single point of support for your users.
We use cloud servers provided by two different global providers, with the hardware located in secure, dedicated data centres in disparate physical locations. The data centres we primarily use for UK customers are in London, but both the cloud providers we use have several other data centres around the world. This use of multiple hosting companies, each of which has multiple data centres, each of which is a state-of-the-art facility offering at least a 99.9% uptime guarantee, is your assurance of robustness and high-availablity. Even a disaster on the scale of a city-wide flood or power outage cannot put your servers out of commission.
We take daily snapshots of your primary servers and copy them to the provider's other data centres, so if your primary suffers a disaster (failed hardware or a complete data centre failure), you can spin up recent images of all your servers in another data centre within minutes. As an additional option, we can sync your snapshots across hosting providers, not just within a single provider's data centres.
Depending on the database you use, we can arrange
for database updates to be automatically
replicated, so even in a disaster situation
you lose no data at all. This can be
arranged for most databases.
You can opt for the nightly images we take of your primary servers as your only backups. Or, we can run periodic snapshot backups to keep an even more recent image of your servers available for disaster recovery purposes. We can also run periodic incremental backups of filesystem contents, and we can arrange for continuous replication of databases.
In every case, machine images and backup files are copied to two other cloud locations, where they are retained for 7 days and are continuously available to you. We also retain copies on our own RAID-protected hardware in our offices in north-west England. These copies are retained for at least 14 days, and again, are continuously available to you via your account. As additional optional services, these copies can be retained for extended or even indefinite periods, and we can also burn DVD copies for permanent physical backup. Finally, we can also send copies to any FTP address you nominate, so you can retain your own backup copies.