Feeds

Servers: My place or yours?

Home and Away fixtures

Business security measures using SSL

It’s practically easier to have your DC in your basement, but strategically silly. If you don’t need physical servers, it’s time to decide if it’s better to locate the virtual servers outside your building.

From a practical standpoint, locating servers in your own data centres and offices would seem to be a good idea. You know exactly where your servers are, how they’re configured, the applications they’re running and how to get them fixed when things go wrong.

They’re also very clearly yours and under your direct control with no ifs or buts when it comes to who owns, not just the hardware and software, but the data and the intellectual property therein.

Strategically, in-house servers make less sense. You have to find and pay for the floor space, and also source and run the servers and all that goes with them - everything from power supplies and air conditioning plant to fast backbone switches, storage, management tools and the staff needed to keep it all going.

You also have to provide for backup and disaster recovery with the end result a very expensive operation that can account for a large chunk of your IT budget.

But does it really have to be that way and, in this age of mass virtualisation, does it really matter where your servers are located?

Maybe, maybe not. Let’s consider some of the options, starting with co-location.

Going co-lo

Co-location or “colo” entails siting your servers in someone else’s data centre, in effect, renting rack space. This retains many of the advantages of in-house deployment, in that the servers, storage and data are still clearly yours.

And you don’t have to worry about building and running the data centre, with all that entails in terms of supplying power, cooling and the like.

Ready availability of fat internet pipes plus, with many, off-site disaster recovery facilities are other co-location advantages On the downside, you still have to buy and maintain server hardware and software, and employ staff to look after it unless you also opt to out-source its management.

Packet racket

Another option is to rent servers as well as rack space from a hositing provider such as Rackspace, Zen Internet and many others.

Here you can opt for dedicated servers, typically from Tier 1 vendors such as HP and Dell, configured to your specification but sourced and installed in the provider’s data centres, delivering all the advantages of co-location and more.

Clearly this approach takes away yet more of the hassle of running a data centre. However, care is needed as you’re then much more reliant on third parties to keep your systems running.

Choosing a reliable provider and establishing a good working relationship becomes essential, backed up by solid service level agreements (SLAs) and a clear understanding of who’s responsible for what.

Equally, it’s important that ownership is clear, especially of the data and intellectual property in the applications involved.

Fluffy loveliness

Such concerns become even more important if you decide to go from dedicated physical to virtual servers hosted on hardware likely to be shared with others.

And it's essential if you choose to sign up for a cloud-based computing solution, such as the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, or Microsoft’s Azure where you rent processing heft rather than servers which, in theory, could be hosted anywhere in the world.

In many ways the cloud could be viewed as the ultimate in server outsourcing enabling companies to reduce overheads but still have access to the infrastructure they want when they need it.

The security and legal implications are immense and you need to be fully aware of what’s involved, and properly protected, before going down this route. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch
For decades Hollywood actually binned its 4K files. Doh!
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
DARPA-backed jetpack prototype built to make soldiers run faster
4 Minute Mile project hatched to speed up tired troops
Hey, Mac fanbois. HGST wants you drooling over its HUGE desktop RACK
What vast digital media repository could possibly need 64 TERABYTES?
Apple's Watch is basically electric perfume
It isn't just me-too Apple that's lost its lustre: Gadget mania is over
In a spin: Samsung accuses LG exec of washing machine SABOTAGE
Rival electronic giant tries to iron out allegations
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.