Some advice on 'cloud' or VPS for a non-IT manager PLEASE!
You advice on this forum would be much appreciated. I am not an IT manager, but a director of a small and growing business (under 10 consultants) whose employees work remotely most of the time. Please forgive me if my questions are naive.
I am not sure if I am looking for 'cloud hosting', or VPS or something else, but here is what we are after.
1. A VPN connection to a 'shared' desktop, where we can access, upload and download files and run certain shared programmes, such as a client database/microsoft access etc. It occurs to me that I am not looking for a server necessarily, but rather a something like a normal PC that is accessible to all. I dont know if this is possible or not!
2. A sustainable solution that is able to add more users. The bandwidth requirements at this stage would be fairly low i.e. the transfer of files etc. Other things important to us are security, and of course, price.
3. We currently have webhosting and email hosted seperately. Your advice on whether we should integrate webhosting and email into the same service would be welcome. (Obviously I would need a server at this point). Or whether its worthwhile to leave these seperate.
Part of the problem is that I dont know what is out there, so any advice on who or where or what would be very appreciated.
It really comes down to your preference on what flavour you would like too. Everything you have mentioned can be done very easily with a Windows VPS seeing as you're asking for microsoft access, or would you be fine using MySQL for example? Or does it have to be MS-SQL?
If I was you, to save further expenses (if prices is a key to the product) I would integrate the web hosting and mail server to the new server/VPS. However, if you would like to be utilizing 2 different networks for redundancy reasons - I would keep the web hosting/email to one network and the VPS/server on another.
So in short, it sounds like you really just need a Windows VPS with Plesk control panel possibly?
1. You could take a small instance on a cloud/cluster, which could run your specific application as well as serve as a file storage destination. You could us MS Access on a Windows cloud instance, probably.
2. As your resource - computing as well as storage - needs increase, you could scale this cloud instance without disturbing your application or data. This will help you keep costs low initially. In this regard a scalable (cloud) solution will make sense.
3. If you have a server or an instance, you could migrate your email and hosting to this server. If you want, you could ask your provider to install a hosting control panel over it to make your email/site management tasks easier.
In terms of vendors, I am not sure this is a forum for such exchange of info. but what you should probably look for in your case is a provider who will offer managed services as against a pure unmanaged server/instance provider.
@ITTelligent, thanks for your comment. The Windows VPS with Plesk looks pretty good actually. Can you recommend any service providers who can manage what you've suggested? We are based in Europe actually.
@ sam9. Likewise, thank you. The scalability makes a lot of sense - but just to clarify - are you suggesting that I 'rent' part of a cloud, rather than a dedicated or partial server?
@j4ck Hi. You are welcome. It appeared to me that a. you are not sure you need an entire 1/2GB server for your needs. & b. your needs will grow as your users are expected to grow.
Therefore my suggestion would be to take a cloud option, with the smallest possible instance. This could be as low as 1/5th your cost of a server. Then as you feel the need for more resources, you can upgrade. A cloud scenario will allow you to upgrade in real time in minutes.
Also, a cloud instance will guarantee you the minimum resources whereas a shared server may not.