A server is a necessary component of any business’ IT infrastructure, as its job is to make sure that information and policies are distributed the way they need to be across a network. Once, servers had to be on-site in order to work, there is now the option to have a cloud-hosted virtualized server. Which of these is right for your needs? Surprisingly, it may boil down to your preference but depends highly on how your team uses your technology on a daily basis.

The Pros and Cons
Both options–the dedicated physical server that a business keeps in-house and the virtualized, cloud-hosted server–have advantages and disadvantages that you need to consider before opting for one or the other. This decision is truly based on your business’ particular circumstances. At ActiveCo, we thrive on learning how you see your business and how your team uses your technology to best impact your clients.

Cost
Think of those membership-based warehouse stores that almost exclusively sell their products in bulk. There are many parallels between this approach to purchasing goods and to virtualizing a server, in that they can make a lot of financial sense, but only if you actually use what you are paying for. Many small organizations may find that virtualization doesn’t work for them, perhaps the “membership fees” are too big of an investment to be worth it, or they just don’t need as much as this approach would deliver them. However, maintaining an in-house infrastructure may not seem to be the cheapest option, either.

All in all, your best move greatly depends on your need, preference and ease of use. If you need more advice, ActiveCo’s consultants are always here to help you make the better decision.

Security
Let’s face it, if your business’ data isn’t secure, you’re more than likely going to run into problems that will keep you from succeeding, let alone meeting Canadian compliance standards. Leveraging an in-house server means that you have greater control over it, enabling you to adjust it to meet any particular requirements that your business has. A virtualized server may not offer this level of optimization, sticking instead to a one-size-fits-all approach. In the end, you will want to make sure that you have the security solutions that will keep you secure in place.

Whether or not you want hands-on access and control of those security solutions will likely be a major factor in your decision. There are important business questions you’ll want your ActiveCo consultant to ask yourself before investing the time and money involved in your final decision.

Disaster Recovery
Due to its on-premise nature, a local server is at an immediate disadvantage to a hosted server when considering the business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities of each. As the local server will be located on-site, it will be at a direct risk of damage due to the disaster, whatever that disaster may be. Conversely, a virtual server is off-premises, and very likely isolated from the influence of whatever disaster may strike your business’ location. Of course, an offsite data center isn’t immune to disaster, but often a data center will store backups of their own at a secondary location to keep their customers’ data safe.

ActiveCo clients have their data backed up in two separate locations across Canada, as a best practice.

Scalability
While either physical or virtual servers are scalable to a point, the virtual server makes it much easier to adjust. This is because the cloud-based server can have additional resources added on, and removed as necessary. On the other hand, increasing or decreasing a physical server requires intense configuration and implementation, and that isn’t even considering the cost of acquiring a new server if necessary.

Of course, no two businesses are exactly alike, and your decision between an in-house and hosted server should reflect the needs of your business, nobody else’s. ActiveCo can help you weigh out your options and make the best choice for you. Give ActiveCo Technology Management a call at 604.931.3633 for more information.

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