Bridging your first server to the Cloud


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Should you buy, manage and maintain your own small business server? Or is it better to try to get the same functionality by subscribing to a portfolio.

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Bridging your first server to the Cloud

  1. 1. Bridging Your First Server to the Cloud By Paul Rubens Tech Briefan Tech Brief. © 2011,, a division of QuinStreet, Inc.
  2. 2. Bridging Your First Server to the Cloud If you run a small business you may well be evaluating the benefits of purchasing your first server to support the other computers on your network. A small business server can provide file storage, backup capabilities, email and calendaring services, access to printers, document sharing and many more services that can make staff more productive and your business more efficient. You’re probably also hearing a lot of talk about “cloud computing,” which offers many of these same services through a cloud service provider and delivers them over the Internet from ongoing maintenance costs • Ability to switch service providers a remote data center and paid for • Requires staff with at least some may be limited on a subscription basis, usually as a knowledge of server maintenance monthly fee. and administration The good news is that there is a third strategy that gives you the best of The problem you might be facing is Subscribing to cloud computing both worlds: a hybrid server/cloud how to determine which strategy to services is an approach with its own approach that enables you to get the pursue. Should you buy, manage and benefits and drawbacks. The benefits benefits of owning your own server maintain your own small business include: and the benefits of subscribing to server? Or is it better to try to get • Almost limitless scalability cloud services. the same functionality by subscribing • Predictable monthly costs with no to a portfolio of cloud computing initial outlay Applications on Your Server and services? • Pay only for the capacity that you in the Cloud require with the ability to scale up The benefits of buying your own or down as the need arises One of the key benefits of owning and server are: • No need for skilled IT staff to running your own small business server • Fast, local access to your data and administer, patch and upgrade your is that it gives you complete control backups server and applications over the applications that run on it. • Keep control over the security of That means you can choose any of the your data The drawbacks of cloud computing hundreds of thousands of business • Customize and run any applications services include: applications already developed and you choose • Internet links make accessing data available, you can customize many in the cloud slow of them to your exact requirements The drawbacks of buying your own • Limited choice of applications, and and you can even have your own server are: little or no scope for customization proprietary applications developed • Moderate initial capital outlay plus • Data is controlled by a third party from scratch if you require Tech Brief. © 2011,, a division of QuinStreet, Inc. 1
  3. 3. Bridging Your First Server to the Cloud It is almost certainly the case that SharePoint server in-house involves, capacity, so a small business server on some of the applications that you making the server ideal for businesses premise provides you with the perfect may want to run — for example, with access to little or no IT expertise. place to centrally store documents and those that provide email, customer data files of all types. Employees can relationship management (CRM) and The benefits of adopting a hybrid then access these files quickly and easily salesforce automation — require no server/cloud approach to applications over your company’s local network. customization. Yet these applications include: can be expensive for a small business • Running any business- Many organizations, however, find that to buy, and they require a great deal of specific applications with any the volume of data that they need time and effort to administer, maintain customizations you require on your to store grows very rapidly, in part and update. server thanks to regulatory requirements • Hassle-free provisioning of that mean data has to be retained for It can therefore make perfect business applications like email and CRM many years even though it is rarely, sense to use your own small business from the cloud, paying only for the if ever, accessed. Storage capacity server to run business-specific and number of users you require with can be increased with the purchase proprietary applications, while using limitless scalability of additional storage infrastructure cloud services for the provision of • Using the cloud to provision such as direct attached storage (DAS), more generic applications such as generic applications frees up IT network attached storage (NAS) and CRM or email on a per-user basis. staff’s time to concentrate on more storage area network (SAN) devices, productive projects but this type of equipment can be One way that this can be achieved expensive and purchasing it often is with a product like Microsoft’s File Storage involves specifying excess capacity Small Business Server code name that may never be used. Aurora, which will run your business Servers are equipped with a large applications, and will also include the amount of internal data storage Cloud storage provides a solution to file and print services, backup, remote access and identity management services that you would expect on a first server. Unlike Microsoft Small Business Server, however, the Aurora product will not include standard applications like Microsoft’s Exchange Server for email or SharePoint for document sharing and collaboration. These applications are instead provided by Microsoft from the cloud. By using these cloud services small businesses can eliminate the maintenance and administrative tasks that running an Exchange Tech Brief. © 2011,, a division of QuinStreet, Inc. 2
  4. 4. Bridging Your First Server to the Cloud this problem, enabling you that this data is usually to store remotely as much or duplicated to a secondary as little data as you require data center by the service at any given time, paying provider). In the event of a only for what you need. This disaster your data can be data is usually encrypted restored from the cloud to before it leaves your a replacement server so you premises to ensure that it can continue running your is completely secure. If you business as usual. later decide your storage requirements are enough The benefits of adopting to justify the purchase of a hybrid server/cloud additional storage capacity approach for backup for your server you can your server’s internal storage, either on include: easily bring some or all the data you a dedicated backup appliance or on a • Quick access to locally backed up have stored in the cloud back in- storage device such as a NAS device. data house. This works extremely well, as data can • Data is secure and available even in be backed up very quickly over the the event of a disaster that disables The benefits of adopting a hybrid network, and in the event that data is the server and locally stored server/cloud approach for storage accidentally deleted or lost it can be backups include: restored over the network from local • Very fast access to data stored storage very quickly as well. Conclusion locally • More efficient use of local storage, But in the event of a fire, flood or There is a lot of talk in IT circles as you can ensure it is fully utilized other disaster it is possible that about cloud computing, but small • Additional storage capacity your server and backup storage businesses planning to make available whenever you need it device could be damaged or even investments in IT should ensure they without any capital outlays destroyed, so most organizations understand the pros and cons when • Pay only for the additional storage also store backup data at a separate weighing on-premise servers and that you require location. For large enterprises this can cloud-based services. involve copying backup data over the Backups corporate network to a secondary data A hybrid IT approach that bridges center, but for small businesses this is on-premise servers and cloud-based Storing your company’s data centrally not an option. services is a model with a number on a small business server makes of benefits for small businesses that it easy to back up, and most server A good alternative is to use a cloud need help with backup, file storage operating systems come with a backup service in addition to your or everyday applications they want to backup application to ensure that primary local server backup. This deploy without devoting significant IT backups are carried out according to ensures that a second copy of your resources. a schedule that meets your business’s backup data is stored securely offsite operating requirements. Backed up “in the cloud” at a backup provider’s data is usually stored separately from data center (with the additional Tech Brief. © 2011,, a division of QuinStreet, Inc. 3