Revision [1492]

This is an old revision of ServerRequirements made by PhilDaintree on 2009-05-14 15:55:33.


SME Company IT Infrastructure and Server Requirements

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:

* 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?
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