By KYLE HENKE
The overall success of your DAM solution will be influenced by how you choose to host it. Let’s simplify things and help you understand the pros and cons of your different options. There are several things to consider: scalability, security, flexibility, and accessibility. Ultimately, your choice should reflect the priorities of your teams and your stakeholders.
Ways to host your digital asset management
There are four primary ways to host your DAM:
- Hybrid-hosting (a combo of the above)
Self-hosting is an internal model that gives you direct control of your DAM. In this model, your organization is responsible for managing and maintaining every component of your DAM—hardware, software, security, upgrades, etc. You’ll need a team that’s active in every aspect and can manage, support, and upgrade the system. Internal resources and technical expertise are essential in a self-hosted system.
Self-hosting requires a significant investment upfront, but it will set up your organization’s technical infrastructure for the future. Self-hosting won’t incur subscription costs, which can help free up future budgets.
Direct connectivity to your network can benefit your system's speed and user experience, providing fast and consistent access and delivery of assets internally, provided you have the team to manage it.
If your organization employs technical staff capable of implementing and maintaining your DAM and has existing infrastructure or can build the infrastructure you need, self-hosting is a great option.
Cloud-hosting places your DAM system on remote servers hosted by a third party, accessible via the internet. The infrastructure for a cloud-hosting option is a subscription service - you don’t own the resources managing your DAM. Instead, you pay for them in an ongoing agreement with a third party.
Cloud-hosting has become easier to implement and manage, enabling quick integration and innovative use of your media assets. Cloud-hosting frees up technical staff requirements and infrastructure needs, allowing you to focus on developing and implementing your DAM strategy where it counts: the end-users.
A significant benefit of cloud-hosting is easy scalability. You can increase your bandwidth or add processing, memory, and storage as your organization grows. Additionally, this model allows your teams to access media from any geographic location.
However, if your organization hopes to develop tools or technologies around the DAM, a host may limit those capabilities. You don’t have complete control over your DAM’s back-end infrastructure, which can limit custom development, API access, and more.
A significant downside to cloud-hosting, particularly for large DAMs focused on video content, is the fees you’ll pay for ingress and egress. Many cloud-hosting companies charge for downloading and uploading content from their network based on bandwidth usage. This means video and large file format content can incur hefty fees in addition to your subscription costs. Be aware of the agreement you have with the hosting company. It’s important to have an exit strategy for your media.
Hybrid-hosting combines self-hosting and cloud-hosting to maximize the advantages while minimizing drawbacks. The method involves self-hosting the primary servers and storage while utilizing the cloud for your system, distribution, backup, and archive. A hybrid model gives you local as well as remote access, flexible management, and automated backups/archives.
The benefits of hybrid-hosting are performance, control, and accessibility. You can add time-saving automation and other custom functionality by combining on-premise hardware with cloud technologies, opening up new opportunities for your team.
Paying for both on-site servers and a cloud-based subscription can prove more costly than the other options, although this can vary widely depending on your needs. Provided you have the in-house technical expertise to manage your DAM, a hybrid model can be extremely versatile.
Managed-hosting, sometimes referred to as SaaS (Software as a Service), is a service option for organizations that need a partner to help build and maintain their DAM.
Managed-hosting models are supported on dedicated, high-performance hardware hosted at a service provider's data center, leveraging their infrastructure and technical support to manage and maintain your system. This is often a hybrid model, using traditional servers and storage with off-site cloud components, giving you stability as well as constant access.
DAM hosting providers offer knowledge and experience, allowing more flexibility and opportunities to customize and optimize your DAM based on unique workflows and external system integrations. Managed hosting may include additional support services like taxonomy design, metadata cataloging, and system optimization to accelerate implementation and adoption - increasing your return on investment.
Some DAM software companies may offer to host and can be a beneficial solution if your production environment is already utilizing their ecosystem. However, more robust system integrations may encounter customization limitations or lack the ability to move outside a specific software ecosystem. If you don’t have the internal IT personnel to support your DAM, managed hosting may be the right choice for you.
Which DAM hosting model is best for you?
Which model of DAM hosting best leverages your organizational resources? These systems are constantly evolving to suit your needs and effectively house your media. Different organizations with different goals will need different things from their DAM solution. We hope the information we’ve provided here can guide your first steps toward finding the DAM hosting model that’s best for you.