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Todd Terry
Computer Servers
on May 27, 2009 at 5:03:24 pm

Hey gang...

We're doing some computer revamping and upgrading here at our place and are considering some options...

We have always had our own servers here in our building (running Linux) which we use for a little bit of storage, through which all of our computers are funneled, handles all our email, and which hosts our website as well as a couple of others (we are definitely not in the hosting biz, but I basically allow a couple of friends/colleagues to park their sites on it just as a favor).

It was suggested by one of our guys here that we ditch that, and just use an outside company (probably our ISP, which is also a client of ours) to handle all the hosting duties.

Pros? Cons? What are you guys doing?

Thanks,


T2

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Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Franklin McMahon
Re: Computer Servers
on May 27, 2009 at 5:18:37 pm


If you outsource it, I have a recommendation...I had CiHost years ago and left them..not great service. Of course that was probably 8 years ago. I have been with 1and1.com since and the service has been great, great tech support and great prices.

I also have an account with Dreamhost.com, but have not done too much with it. They do allow unlimited bandwidth, which is great if you do video podcasts or shows and burn through a lot of bandwidth. But I would recommend 1&1 if you are looking for a good host. And you can do shared hosting through them if you want to host other people's sites.

Frank

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Chris Blair
Re: Computer Servers
on May 28, 2009 at 1:53:08 am

Todd,

We recently looked at setting up our own server and hosting our website... as well as doing some specialized video hosting for a couple of clients. Bottom line, it's way cheaper and much less of a headache to outsource. I don't have recommendations on ISPs, but there are dozens or good ones out there.

I do know that the large players like Limelight, Brightcove and some others were WAY out of our league price-wise...so we just went with one of our local ISPs and have been satisfied. Their service isn't all that good (I know more than most of their techs), but it's relatively fast and it's up pretty much 100% of the time.



Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Computer Servers
on May 28, 2009 at 4:15:02 am

[Chris Blair] "We recently looked at setting up our own server and hosting our website...Bottom line, it's way cheaper and much less of a headache to outsource."

Thanks Chris...

Yeah, I can appreciate that would be the situation if one were starting from the ground up. Right now though, it's not really costing us hardly anything. Our servers are already here and have been cooking 24/7 for quite a while... I must say they are pretty much trouble free, I think our IT guy has had to come in only maybe once or twice to tweak something, and that's over the last several years. By today's standards their processors aren't very fast and their drives aren't very big, but for simple hosting and handling email they are still more than adequate. But I just know that eventually (who knows when?) they will have to be replaced... and wondering if we should keep everything in-house or go to outside hosting.

If we go out of house we will probably go with our existing ISP. They are a fairly big outfit, and their server farms and data center is only about two blocks from our studio... plus they are a commercial client of ours... like to keep our clients happy, when possible.

I'm leaning toward keeping it all in house, provided it stays as cheap and trouble free as it has been in the past... although that seems unlikely.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Brendan Coots
Re: Computer Servers
on May 29, 2009 at 1:24:51 am

Everything is trouble-free until it isn't. Having your own servers is great, but if they do go down, everything goes down until your IT guy can get it fixed. Unless you have a specific email setup using third party relays, you will lose any emails that come in while the server is down, not to mention your site being down. If the server is hosed or the drives die, you're looking at significant downtime. if the power dies in the night due to a storm or something, you are either going in at 3am to fire everything back up or losing morning emails (assuming you don't have a setup that deals with that for you).

We had roughly the same setup as you for several years (using Xserves instread of Linux), but we were also using the same server/RAID system to serve files to all of our FCP suites etc. and it just got me worried that so much is riding on one system. Just one visit from an IT professional costs more 2-5 years of outside web hosting, so we decided to outsource that and use our servers strictly for in-house file serving etc.

Obviously it's a personal choice, but you definitely have to take the "if, not when" approach when deciding how to proceed.

Brendan Coots

Splitvision Digital

http://www.splitvisiondigital.com


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Todd Terry
Re: Computer Servers
on May 29, 2009 at 3:31:42 am

Thanks for the thoughts, Brendan... yes, something to think about...

[Brendan Coots] "Everything is trouble-free until it isn't."

Ain't that the truth.

[Brendan Coots] "Unless you have a specific email setup using third party relays, you will lose any emails that come in while the server is down"

Yeah, fortunately that is covered. Before stuff gets to us it actually funnels through our IT guy's nameservers back at his place... so in the instances that we've had the occasional power outage or problem with our ISP at least all the incoming emails are cached and flow back in as soon as we're back up and running. That's the one part that doesn't worry me much.

[Brendan Coots] "we were also using the same server/RAID system to serve files to all of our FCP suites etc."

Fortunately in our case we're not trying to do that... the servers are only used for minimal storage (Quickbooks backups, database backups, etc.). It's really only used for email and web hosting. Still....

[Brendan Coots] "Just one visit from an IT professional costs more 2-5 years of outside web hosting"

In a normal world, that's probably very true. Our IT guy happens to be a friend of our company and I don't think he has ever sent us a bill even once, even though I've begged him to. We're small potatoes to him, probably not worth invoicing. And he does tons of big boring corporate work, so I think when he comes here he feels like he's visiting one of the "glamour industries"... ha.

We're still mulling it over...


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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