Server Solutions for Small Businesses

Do You Replace Your Server Or Go To The Cloud? The Answer May
Cloud technologies have conquered vast IT territories and keep marching in all directions. How do cloud solutions compare to the old fashioned Server solution in small business environments? The simplest, most accurate answer is rather ambiguous: "it all depends". For some businesses, cloud technologies can play a very limited role, while others should embrace it at once in order to enjoy a savings, support simplicity, and longevity of a cloud solution.

First let's break down cloud types of interest and focus on each type individually.

IaaS - Infrastructure as a service | Cloud provides computers, as physical or more often as virtual machines. Such computers are located off-premises thus its maintenance is someone else's headache. Amazon, Rackspace are big players in this area.

SaaS - Software as a service | Software and corresponding data are located in the cloud. Users do their work via Web Browser essentially using their computers as a thin client. For example a user opens Word-processor online (displayed in a web browser) and once finished the document is stored already online and ready for sharing or access from other locations. Google Apps or Microsoft Office 365 are perfect examples of this type of a cloud.

STaas - Storage as a service |

On top of this classification we should mention Public and Private clouds. A Public cloud solution holds its users in one container so-to-speak and the boundaries are thin. A Private cloud is dedicated for consumption solely by a dedicated customer and therefore there's a lot fewer security concerns.

for a consumer

Let us start with IaaS and illustrate a route of migration from old-school dedicated servers to an IaaS cloud: we'd just use ourselves (Allora) as an example. Our Small Business houses its servers via IaaS in its own Private cloud in a co-location facility at CarolinaNET. In non-techy terms it means that instead of three physical computers running three dedicated servers we are running a dozen virtual computers in Allora Cloud with awesome features like scalability, redundancy, instant backups, etc. Of course, we have in-house engineers who made it happen. Let's say it's not the case and we had to use a firm like Rackspace to outsource such IaaS cloud scenario for us. The cost projections and tests result are utterly disappointing - no savings what-so-ever and performance is miserable compared to a dedicated server (or Allora Cloud) because major players hyper-optimize their resources, stretch it thin and it leads to very slow Input-Output performances. There are circumstances when IaaS cloud technology does make sense for a Small Business because its Upfront Cost is much lower than an equivalent "in-house" solution. Nevertheless we'd recommend that IaaS path should be taken with due caution from the perspective of a Small Business network owner.

Here's a quick comparison of IaaS Cloud Technology vs Dedicated Server solution which is fairly accurate except for the bottom pricing row ($200/month cloud cap is absurd, for instance: this self managed Small Business Server 2011 cloud hosting starts at ~$360 / month while the cost of server software is ~$800)

  1. most office computing revolves around basic Word-processing, Email, Web
  2. there is no need for specialty applications designed for server-based operations

Web-based applications are adequate for non-sophisticated jobs but its capabilities are not as powerful compared to its Desktop peers. It should be noted that once a user crosses a certain threshold of scale and complexity a Web Application might become very busy displaying "Loading..." sign rather than allowing a user to produce work. For instance a spread-sheet of 5, 000 rows with 50 columns presents zero troubles for a Desktop App while working online with such document might quickly get frustrating. Connection quality / speed and browser limitations are major negative factors for SaaS cloud technology. Office 365 deals with this by allowing both Desktop and Web applications, essentially bridging two worlds.


2003-12-15 13:50:04 by DIGITAL

Sybase

Sybase is the original easy to use database , in fact Microsoft bought it off Sybase and made MSSQL which is why they where pretty much the same for years.
Sybase also has a portable version of the database called Adaptive Server Anywhere , it's a flatfile based database and good for small businesses looking for affordable solutions.

2006-03-16 08:07:22 by shy_violet

What class is this for?

Is it a web class, or just a random business class of some sort that wants you to know this? Are you going to be actually building this store, or just submitting a proposal? Either way, the answer given below in thread (titled 'Answer') is good.
But if this is a class that has nothing to do with anything for the web (like a business class), I would be surprised that they expect you to know that sort of information. As a designer, I usually don't have clients coming to me to say "hello. I would like store built for me utilizing OSCommerce's open source software on a server running MySQL and PHP"

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