Local vs Hosted Servers

By Dan Ballard, in , posted: 12-Aug-2008 16:18

When dealing with IT companies especially the smaller ones, most of them recommend getting a local server.  Why is that?  Well the short answer is because they make a-lot of money out of it.  When quoting all they show is the purchase costs and maybe the setup costs.  Left out of the pricing is hardware and software upgrades every 2-3 years, electricity, backup costs and the killer is on-going support. 

Cost Generally Not Included In Server Quotes

·         Server replacement every 3 years or so
·         Operating system upgrades – purchased every year or two
·         Technical time required to update operating system service patches
·         Hardware failure “fixes” for PCs and servers
·         Antivirus software updates – purchased every year
·         Technical time to update antivirus software
·         Technical time to manage the removal of viruses caught by antivirus software
·         Managing changes to the setup/physical location/profiles of PCs
·         Technical time to manage spy ware – load software, clear files
·         Technical time to perform backups, remove tapes off site
·         Disaster recovery plan implementation
·         Air conditioning & UPS to manage the server
·         Data corruption repairs
·         Electricity for onsite servers

I am not against having a local server as at times it is the ideal solution however for a lot of small to medium enterprises a hosted solution is far more beneficial and cost effective.  Hosted server services have the benefit of fixing your IT expenditure, back up is automated and you get additional benefits like being able to access your software and files from anywhere with a PC and a broadband connection. 

Also covered with a hosted server solution is disaster recovery and business continuity protecting your data from earthquake and fire to accidently deleting that file that you really need. 

An Information Week article states "The security company unveiled a study this past April showing that 33% of respondents said they believe a major data-loss incident involving accidental or malicious distribution of confidential data could put them out of business. The study, called Datagate, is based on a survey of more than 1,400 IT professionals at companies with at least 250 employees in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Australia."

With a hosted solution you have tighter controls on your data, reducing the risk of theft or a malicious attack.

The flip side of having a hosted terminal services solution is that if you have a slow internet connection there can be a delay from when clicking and something happening, which can be frustrating at times and the biggest risk is not being able to access your files and software at all if the internet connection goes down, however these risks can be mitigated with redundancies.  Although these risks exist, a lot of businesses are seeing the benefits outweighing the risks and moving to hosted solutions.

Dan Ballard

More information

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Dan Ballard
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