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Not referring to militaries or governments, but for other organizations or shops that needs an IT infrastructure (who doesn't nowadays). Similar to this question, but purely in regard to hardware and/or services, such as servers, storage, email services, etc.

I don't imagine it's cut and dry for every org, because every organization is different. Should they consider:

  • Size of the org and what resources are required

  • Whether or not the org has in house IT support

  • Recurring cost of replacing hardware vs. hardware 'subscription'

  • Of course there are security concerns, such as 'Is this service from <provider> compliant with <security standard>

  • If going with a hosted option, what's the exit strategy if all of a sudden the agreement can't go forward, for whatever reason.

  • Options for backups, with either choice.

There's of course more to consider than just cost. I ask this because you have small 1-2 employee shops that need services such as email or file services, all the way up to huge organizations, but those huge organizations aren't IT shops, their production may be basket-weaving or something, should they invest in a private infrastructure to host their basket-weaving drawings, documents and the like? How is that a value add for them?


Not necessarily cloud, colocation is an option as well.

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marked as duplicate by voretaq7 Feb 27 '14 at 16:52

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

There's literally no such thing as "an average organization." – mfinni Feb 21 '14 at 19:39
@mfinni good point, I'll update. – BigHomie Feb 21 '14 at 19:59
@MDMoore313 I've changed the closure reason for this question to point at a newer one about when a company should consider migrating off of cloud hosting. I think Katherine's answer below & TomTom's comment on knowing your use case covers the general (and non-cloud/colo-vs-in-house) cases pretty well too. – voretaq7 Feb 27 '14 at 16:56
up vote 7 down vote accepted
  • When they need it.
  • When it's cheaper to hire someone and buy stuff than it is to subscribe to a service.
  • When they want something that's not "off the rack."

I've heard of someone running a small business off an ipad. I've talked to someone else who's very interested in possibly colo-ing SQL for their one person company.

To answer your specific question: No, the basket weavers shouldn't buy a server to store their basket drawings. They should use a file cabinet.

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+1, although you're assuming they draw them by hand when everything is done in photoshop nowadays? – BigHomie Feb 21 '14 at 20:00
Not necessarily. They could be, but yes, I think they're probably using pencil and paper. In which case, their IT needs are backups for their desktop with the accounting software, if it exists and they don't outsource accounting, and maybe a web site and email. – Katherine Villyard Feb 21 '14 at 20:06
It also depends on what you do. I know a small 3 ppl shop running more than 20 servers at full CPU capacity day in and day out, crunching hundreds of gigabyte of data off a 10g intfrastructure. THe cost of that in the cloud would be higher - way higher - than the local machines. – TomTom Feb 24 '14 at 13:40

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