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We have a hosted dedicated server, and we're looking at adding another one. We think our current provider is a touch expensive, so I'm also gathering quotes from other providers. I was asked if we should leave our original machine with the original provider and get a new machine with a new provider -- the idea being a kind of risk management.

My impulse is to say no, because then you've got two bills to pay and two admin consoles to use. Plus, there are services on the first machine (database, webservices) that we'll want to call out to from the second, not to mention copying large files back and forth occasionally.

Is there any argument for splitting machines across providers, apart from the convenience factor of not having to reconstruct the original machine at the new site?

  • Are you looking for redundancy/load balancing or something to have live in case of a disaster at your primary hosting company? – Techie Joe Oct 29 '13 at 18:21
  • For these purposes, we're actually just looking for a second machine to separate out production vs. dev usage -- more space for production team to run the application, and isolation so developers can test software upgrades without any chance of impacting production. The addition of a second machine was just an opportunity to examine the question of where these servers should live. – Michael H. Oct 29 '13 at 21:20
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    That's really important detail that should have been in your question. – mfinni Oct 29 '13 at 22:43
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/Edit - the answer below assumes that we're talking about a production application.

It entirely depends on your application. From what you're asking, the answer for you is "no." The answer for other applications may be different.

If your architecture can't seamlessly handle being active in two locations, then don't try. You're not managing any risk if the second site is dependent on the first, you're merely adding additional points of failure.

  • Hi there - well, I really was asking about the general case, because if there's never any benefit to splitting across providers, then there's definitely no benefit in my particular case, so I think your original answer covered that well. Thank you! – Michael H. Oct 30 '13 at 2:51
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Given the additional parameters added after you posted your initial question it would not benefit you to split apart your dev and production servers across two hosting companies. Hosting companies seem to have different settings and environments literally for each company. If you want to simulate your production environment then leverage the same hosting company as your production environment. If the current cost is too much you can always go down a level for both production and development environments.

  • In this case, I don't need to mirror environments in that precise a manner; these are internal tools for data analysis, not busy web servers where the details can make or break the user experience. But, thank you for the advice from that perspective. – Michael H. Oct 30 '13 at 3:03

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