Friday, May 29, 2009

Managing Servers

Today I want to write about my server management policy and philosophy. This is one cost area that doesn't offer a competitive advantage for us, so it's best to go with the cheapest options and minimize expenses.

My company's policy on server management is that anything production-capable will be managed by someone else. That is, we host everything with a professional provider. We're in the business of consulting and data management, not hardware providers. I don't feel like we can adequately procure and maintain the hardware as well as a company that is dedicated to this task. The inspiration for this decision was David Ricardo, a famous British economist who is most commonly known for the theory of comparative advantage. That theory goes like this: if China is best at making clothes and the United States is best at making computers, then China should make clothes and trade them to the United States for computers. That's a very simple way to describe it, but we all know what we're best at and I want to focus the business on consulting and not hardware management, so we outsource that area.

Hosted servers are expensive on a month-to-month basis but much cheaper in the long run versus buying hardware, paying for a COLO setup, and buying software licenses. I'm certain that the costs will continue to go down with the introduction of Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008. Durable Impact works with both Unix and Windows-based environments, but our hosted servers are running Windows Server 2003. At some point we will move to Windows Server 2008, but only once our hosts do.

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