Revision [2502]

Last edited on 2013-01-14 04:19:27 by PhilDaintree
Additions:
Against that - setting up a dedicated server is now ridiculously easy and "Superb Mini Server" is a pre build linux server distribution containing all the server software any business would ever need and webERP comes preinstalled!! http://sms.it-ccs.com/
Deletions:
Against that - setting up a dedicated server is now ridiculously easy and "Superb Mini Server" contains all the server software any business would ever need and webERP comes preinstalled http://sms.it-ccs.com/


Revision [2501]

Edited on 2013-01-14 04:18:18 by PhilDaintree
Additions:
Against that - setting up a dedicated server is now ridiculously easy and "Superb Mini Server" contains all the server software any business would ever need and webERP comes preinstalled http://sms.it-ccs.com/


Revision [1863]

Edited on 2010-07-19 16:58:01 by DaleScott [edited for clarity and presentation]
Additions:
The IT infrastructure for a business often includes:
~- Internet connection and basic network services (e.g., firewall, NAT routing, wireless access point, DHCP server, LDAP server, web server, etc.)
~- E-mail Server (possibly with spam filtering and virus protection, with IMAP, POP3 mailboxes and even a web-based e-mail mail client)
~- File Sharing (often simply ad-hoc "network folders", but possibly some other form of collaborative work space, even including a document vault or repository with check-out/modify/submit workflow)
~- ERP System (the financial transaction and reporting system, including such functions as purchasing, sales, and manufacturing, and possibly providing suport for project management and budgeting)
~- Issue Tracking (often company departments will each have their own issue tracking list or spreadsheet, but there is much more value when everyone collaborates using a shared tool (e.g., customer and vendor issues and complaints, Return Material Authorization investigation, ISO Non-Conformance system, etc.).
~- Collaborative Knowledge Base (a collection of searchable documents, perhaps in a Wiki, containing, for example, company policies and procedure, answers to frequency asked questions, etc.)
~- Database Server (for WebERP and other applications or purposes)
~- File Backup (typically an automated periodic procedure, storing backup data on a disk or tape drive, preferably either off-site or immediately stored off-site)
When designing IT infrastructure, the following should be considered:
~- Purchase or capital cost of hardware and proprietary software (primary server, backup server, uninteruptable power supply, switches and equipment racks, fire prevention equipment, etc.).
~- Implementation labor source and cost for planning, customizing and configuring the server and business applications such as WebERP, including data conversion and importing applications such as webERP.
~- Operations cost, the on-going cost to the business associated with using applications such as webERP, hosted server costs, backup material costs, cost of internal staff or consultants to maintain the server and applications on it, such as WebERP, new feature implementation as needs arise, periodic security and disaster recovery reviews, etc.
~- Quality and Reliability, often difficult to quantify issues but important to consider. Does the server and backend IT need an uninterruptable power supply? Does there need to be a documented and tested disaster recovery process to follow in the event of a server power supply or disk drives failure, how quickly must the replacement server be on line, and how recent must the data be on the replacement server be?
When dedicated servers in purpose-built data centres (including hot standby servers and automated fail-over mechanisms, and electrical generators for uninterruptable power supply), some reasons for a company to manage its own server include:
~- High traffic between servers or between servers and workstation clients. This is often the case when the business needs require both very large files and a large number of files (e.g., mechanical CAD files, large spreadsheets, still image and video files, etc.).
~- Poor, unreliable or slow connectivity between business operation sites to the data centre.
~- Physical security of information (generally the fewer access points the better, but also management often dictates that business data must be stored within the walls of the business).
WebERP itself is well suited to a hosted server solution. WebERP has almost no client server load and minimal network traffic, typically needing only a reliable 2 MByte/second connection to the internet. If on-site file hosting is required, a dedicated NAS or Network Attached Storage device can often provide the solution (even when local servers are required for e-mail or and web application host, an applicance NAS device - often simply a Unix-like computer configured as a file server - is often still the best solution).
While the cost of setting up an on-site Unix-like server can seem deceptively low, factors to be considered when looking at hosted solutions include:
~- Expertise. Without in-house expertise, an SME bears the risk associated with outsourcing a critical aspect of its business and the necessary expertise can be expensive and difficult to retain. Leased-server data centres have sufficient technical staff to provide backup for each other, and have a collective knowledge and experience that a typical SME would be unlikely to need - or able to afford. A viable option may also be a support agreement with a local IT shop.
~- Security and Reliability. Should a level of security and reliability be required (or desired) that would involve backup electrical generators, fire safety and security measures, physical security measures, etc., a leased-server data centre will most certainly be a more economical solution (conversely, without putting these measures in place, an on-site server will be generally less reliable, less physically secure and have a greater risk of fire damage)
~- The often-forgotten on-going maintenance of a server is effectively contracted out when using a leased server in a data centre.
Deletions:
The IT infrastructure for a typical SME-type business often includes the following features:
* Email (e.g., spam/virus protection, IMAP/POP3/web client services, ...)
* File Sharing (e.g., ad-hoc shared folders, collaborative work spaces, check in/out/modify document workflow, ...)
* ERP System (e.g., purchasing, sales, project management, manufacturing, budgeting, reporting, ...)
* Issue Tracking (e.g., customer service tickets, RMA investigation, FRACAS, ISO Non-Conformance System, ...)
* Collaborative Knowledge Base (e.g. accounting procedures, field service procedures, department policies and procedures, ...)
* Internet Connectivity (e.g., firewall, wireless and/or wired connection, routing, NAT, DHCP server, LDAP server, web server, ...)
* Database Serving (e.g., for specific applications such as webERP and also for ad-hoc purposes)
* File Backup (e.g., automated, manual, tape, disk, ...)
In addition, the following issues should also be considered:
* Purchase cost (e.g., hardware, software)
* Implementation cost (e.g., labour for planning, configuration and setup of webERP, data conversion from old format and import into webERP, ...)
* Ongoing Operations cost (e.g., labour cost associated with using webERP in the running of the SME)
* Administration and Support cost (e.g., cost of consultants to update version, implement custom features, supervise backup recovery test, ...)
* Reliability (e.g., data integrity, hardware reliability)
Dedicated servers in purpose built data centres with generator backups can be easily leased or rented, so why would an SME invest the effort to manage its own on-site server? Some reasons are:
* Large files (or large numbers of files) being stored and manipulated (e.g., mechanical CAD files and 3D models, large analysis spreadsheets, ...)
* High levels of traffic between an ERP system or other database and local clients
* Poor, unreliable or slow connectivity from business operation sites to the data centre
* Security of information (e.g., a philosophy of not allowing data outside the SME's LAN)
If an SME cannot justify an on-site server for these reasons, there is little reason operationally to have one. webERP has almost no client server load and minimal network traffic. If a reliable 2 MByte/second connection to the internet is available, often the only justification for an on-site server is for hosting large files. In this case, a dedicated NAS (network attached storage) device will likely solve the problem (in fact, even when a local server is required for email, virus/spam protection, web-application hosting, etc., a NAS appliance device is often the best solution for file serving - and may be simply a UNIX-like computer configured as a file server).
Finally, although the low cost of setting up an on-site UNIX-like server is attractive (and can have a very high level of reliability), other factors to consider include:
* On-site expertise is often needed and at a potentially significant cost (possibly through probably a support agreement with a local IT shop). Without its own in-house expertise, an SME bears the risk associated with outsourcing a critical aspect of its business to a single source.
* Should a level of security and reliability be required (or desired) that would involve backup electrical generators, fire safety and security measures, physical security measures, etc., a leased-server data centre will most certainly be a more economical solution (conversely, without putting these measures in place, an on-site server will be generally less reliable, less physically secure and have a greater risk of fire damage)
* Leased-server data centres have sufficient technical staff to provide backup for each other, and have a collective knowledge and experience that a typical SME would be unlikely to need - or able to afford
* The often-forgotten on-going maintenance of a server is effectively contracted out when using a leased server in a data centre


Revision [1613]

Edited on 2009-09-17 15:52:24 by DaleScott [clarifications and typo corrections]
Additions:
The IT infrastructure for a typical SME-type business often includes the following features:
* Email (e.g., spam/virus protection, IMAP/POP3/web client services, ...)
* File Sharing (e.g., ad-hoc shared folders, collaborative work spaces, check in/out/modify document workflow, ...)
* ERP System (e.g., purchasing, sales, project management, manufacturing, budgeting, reporting, ...)
* Issue Tracking (e.g., customer service tickets, RMA investigation, FRACAS, ISO Non-Conformance System, ...)
* Collaborative Knowledge Base (e.g. accounting procedures, field service procedures, department policies and procedures, ...)
* Internet Connectivity (e.g., firewall, wireless and/or wired connection, routing, NAT, DHCP server, LDAP server, web server, ...)
* Database Serving (e.g., for specific applications such as webERP and also for ad-hoc purposes)
* File Backup (e.g., automated, manual, tape, disk, ...)

In addition, the following issues should also be considered:
* Purchase cost (e.g., hardware, software)
* Implementation cost (e.g., labour for planning, configuration and setup of webERP, data conversion from old format and import into webERP, ...)
* Ongoing Operations cost (e.g., labour cost associated with using webERP in the running of the SME)
* Administration and Support cost (e.g., cost of consultants to update version, implement custom features, supervise backup recovery test, ...)
* Reliability (e.g., data integrity, hardware reliability)
Dedicated servers in purpose built data centres with generator backups can be easily leased or rented, so why would an SME invest the effort to manage its own on-site server? Some reasons are:
* Large files (or large numbers of files) being stored and manipulated (e.g., mechanical CAD files and 3D models, large analysis spreadsheets, ...)
* High levels of traffic between an ERP system or other database and local clients
* Poor, unreliable or slow connectivity from business operation sites to the data centre
* Security of information (e.g., a philosophy of not allowing data outside the SME's LAN)
If an SME cannot justify an on-site server for these reasons, there is little reason operationally to have one. webERP has almost no client server load and minimal network traffic. If a reliable 2 MByte/second connection to the internet is available, often the only justification for an on-site server is for hosting large files. In this case, a dedicated NAS (network attached storage) device will likely solve the problem (in fact, even when a local server is required for email, virus/spam protection, web-application hosting, etc., a NAS appliance device is often the best solution for file serving - and may be simply a UNIX-like computer configured as a file server).
Finally, although the low cost of setting up an on-site UNIX-like server is attractive (and can have a very high level of reliability), other factors to consider include:
* On-site expertise is often needed and at a potentially significant cost (possibly through probably a support agreement with a local IT shop). Without its own in-house expertise, an SME bears the risk associated with outsourcing a critical aspect of its business to a single source.
* Should a level of security and reliability be required (or desired) that would involve backup electrical generators, fire safety and security measures, physical security measures, etc., a leased-server data centre will most certainly be a more economical solution (conversely, without putting these measures in place, an on-site server will be generally less reliable, less physically secure and have a greater risk of fire damage)
* Leased-server data centres have sufficient technical staff to provide backup for each other, and have a collective knowledge and experience that a typical SME would be unlikely to need - or able to afford
* The often-forgotten on-going maintenance of a server is effectively contracted out when using a leased server in a data centre
Deletions:
I am interested in feedback on the rationale of the scenario I propose here ... would appreciate any educated/experienced thoughts.
I considered the infrastructure required by a typical SME business:
Requirements
* Email - with spam/virus protection
* File Sharing
* File Backup
* Internet Access
* ERP System
* Minimal cost
* Staff cost to administer
* Reliability
I wonder with the rental of a dedicated server maintained with generator backup in a purpose built data centre why a business need's their own server on site at all? A solid state router/cable modem putting out DHCP leases and managing the internet connection with a firewall could handle up to 100 machines on a LAN - that is a reasonable size business covering most SMEs.
The reasons why a local server might be required on the LAN are:
* Large files - CAD/Spreadsheets etc that need to be manipulated locally.
* Poor connectivity unreliable and/or slow from businesses main sites to the data centre
* The business uses a client server ERP system that has heavy data requirements of LAN
* Security - the business may worry about access to the data centre servers (this is possibly a little paranoid)
Using webERP there is no client server load and minimal WLAN/LAN traffic.
Assuming that reasonable - reliable 2Meg data connection to the internet the major obsticle then is the requirement for large files to be manipulated over the LAN. The solution to this might be a dedicated NAS storage devices - even when a local server is required for email, virus/spam protection and web-application hosting a NAS or SAN device is probably best for file serving (most likely a linux server under the hood?)
Although a linux server can be configured at minimal cost with very high reliability:
* Occassionaly, on-site expertise is required this costs big $ i.e. us and probably a support agreement with a local IT shop. The business is exposed by just one point of contact for issues. To balance the argument from the stand point of the business we need to justify the expense. Why should the business pay for us and/or an IT shop when the infrastructure can be rented cheaply off-site with support and backup all built into the lease.
* There is a ongoing maintenance requirement that is effectively contracted out with a leased server in a data centre
* The business is unlikely to be able to afford to invest in backup generators, fire secuirty measures and physcial security measures that a dedicated data centre has - so an on-site server is arguably less reliable, less physically secure and more exposed to fire risk.
* Dedicated data centre technical staff have backup for each other and experience that a single business is unlikely to need or afford to pay for. However, facilities and support offered by the data centre are likely to exceed what would be available at reasonable cost to a single business without specific IT expertise.
What am I missing?


Revision [1492]

Edited on 2009-05-14 15:55:33 by PhilDaintree [clarifications and typo corrections]
Additions:
Using webERP there is no client server load and minimal WLAN/LAN traffic.
Assuming that reasonable - reliable 2Meg data connection to the internet the major obsticle then is the requirement for large files to be manipulated over the LAN. The solution to this might be a dedicated NAS storage devices - even when a local server is required for email, virus/spam protection and web-application hosting a NAS or SAN device is probably best for file serving (most likely a linux server under the hood?)
* Occassionaly, on-site expertise is required this costs big $ i.e. us and probably a support agreement with a local IT shop. The business is exposed by just one point of contact for issues. To balance the argument from the stand point of the business we need to justify the expense. Why should the business pay for us and/or an IT shop when the infrastructure can be rented cheaply off-site with support and backup all built into the lease.
* The business is unlikely to be able to afford to invest in backup generators, fire secuirty measures and physcial security measures that a dedicated data centre has - so an on-site server is arguably less reliable, less physically secure and more exposed to fire risk.
Deletions:
Using webERP there is no client server load and minimal WLAN/LAN traffic assuming reasonable - reliable 2Meg data connection to the internet the major obsticle then is the requirement for large files to be manipulated over the LAN - I think dedicated NAS storage devices cover this requirement quite nicely - even when a local server is required for email, virus/spam protection and web-application hosting.
* Occassionaly, on-site expertise is required this costs big $ i.e. us - and the business is exposed by just one point of contact for issues. To balance the argument from the stand point of the business we need to justify the expense. Why should the business pay for us when the infrastructure can be rented cheaply off-site.
* The business is unlikely to be able to afford to invest in backup generators, fire secuirty measures and physcial security measures that a dedicated data centre has.


Revision [1491]

Edited on 2009-05-14 15:29:26 by PhilDaintree [clarifications and typo corrections]
Additions:
* Security - the business may worry about access to the data centre servers (this is possibly a little paranoid)
Although a linux server can be configured at minimal cost with very high reliability:
* Occassionaly, on-site expertise is required this costs big $ i.e. us - and the business is exposed by just one point of contact for issues. To balance the argument from the stand point of the business we need to justify the expense. Why should the business pay for us when the infrastructure can be rented cheaply off-site.
* There is a ongoing maintenance requirement that is effectively contracted out with a leased server in a data centre
* The business is unlikely to be able to afford to invest in backup generators, fire secuirty measures and physcial security measures that a dedicated data centre has.
* Dedicated data centre technical staff have backup for each other and experience that a single business is unlikely to need or afford to pay for. However, facilities and support offered by the data centre are likely to exceed what would be available at reasonable cost to a single business without specific IT expertise.


Revision [1490]

Edited on 2009-05-14 15:03:42 by PhilDaintree [clarifications and typo corrections]
Additions:
Requirements
* Email - with spam/virus protection
* Reliability
Using webERP there is no client server load and minimal WLAN/LAN traffic assuming reasonable - reliable 2Meg data connection to the internet the major obsticle then is the requirement for large files to be manipulated over the LAN - I think dedicated NAS storage devices cover this requirement quite nicely - even when a local server is required for email, virus/spam protection and web-application hosting.
What am I missing?
Deletions:
#|
||Requirements|Considerations||
|| * Email - with spam/virus protection
* Reliability of the above|An on-site server has a number of issues ||
|#
Using web-based ERP software and assuming reasonable - reliable 2Meg data connection to the internet the major obsticle then is the requirement for large files to be manipulated over the LAN - I think dedicated NAS storage devices cover this requirement quite nicely - even when a local server is required for email, virus/spam protection and web-application hosting.


Revision [1489]

The oldest known version of this page was created on 2009-05-14 14:58:37 by PhilDaintree [clarifications and typo corrections]
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