I have been managing all the IT for a small business (owned by a family member) of ~5 users for about 10 years. Since about 2 years the infrastructure is 100% virtual running on VMware vSphere on a single physical server (local storage) located at their office.
I would classify the users as light in terms of the applications (e.g. Excel, Word, PDFs, web, email) they use and the amount of data they produce. If I had to give an approximation of the current data I'd say less than 10 GB total.
In brief, I am planning on replacing the current setup with an improved one consisting of 2 vSphere hosts, shared storage etc. This setup will also be relocated to where I live because the business' office location will change next year and it is likely that users will not work in a central location, e.g. remote workers via VPN and home internet connections.
I have my hardware shopping list finalised and a conceptual plan for the new vSphere local setup ready to go!
HOWEVER, in the back of my mind I have entertained the thought of an alternative solution namely Amazon Web Services.
I do not have any experience with AWS apart from what I have been researching the last few days to get a better idea of how it works in practice. What I have noticed is that the majority of the AWS deployments involve web applications and services. I have not been able to find case studies and/ or stories of complete business IT infrastructure setups.
I have an understanding of the implications of using a IAAS provider in terms of data security, lack of control in terms of the underlying layers as opposed to 100% control in my local vSphere environment, the need for an internet connection to access the AWS resources. Nonetheless, before I spend a good amount of money on the new hardware and get going on setting up the vSphere environment I would like to know from any one who has direct experience with AWS and a similar sized small business whether AWS is a viable alternative.
By the way I believe that Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) is the product I would be using and without a doubt I would have the data backed up to a physical device in my possession and location besides any backups made in Amazon's network.
In terms of the virtual machines we would need to run in Amazon VPC they are more or less as follows:
- 1x AD/DNS/DHCP Windows Server 2012
- 1x RDS (Terminal Server) Windows Server 2012
- 1x File & Print Windows Server 2012
- 1x Zimbra Email Ubuntu Server
- 1x HylaFAX Ubuntu Server
- 1x Vyatta Core
- 1x Monitoring/ logging server
The only reason for needing Windows OS is due to the fact that core applications are Windows only!