Some context first: I've been maintaining a Windows server for an SME for the last 10 years; the company has changed size and shape over time (5 people in 1 office, then 10 people in 2 offices, now 15 people scattered around the world), leading to decreasing usage of our Win server:
- Exchange: we started with our own Exchange server (ouch), and moved to a hosted Exchange solution (intermedia.net) 5 years ago (such a good idea)
- File sharing: as the team spread (and most of us are frequently travelling), the use of a VPN to connect to our server became more and more painful, so we started using Dropbox as a complement 3 years ago. Now, I am thinking of moving the whole team to Dropbox for Business which has pretty compelling features (and some drawbacks).
However, our server still has some uses:
- AD/authentification: it's not 100% essential, but keeping admin power away from users helps guaranteeing that all machines satisfy some specs (Antivirus ON, backup ON, login password ON etc.)
- Network: basically DHCP and DNS for our LAN
- Large file dump: I'm not sure DB (even with 1TB of data allocation) is adequate to store large (> 1GB) files such as: Outlook archives (PST), backups, ISOs (Win, Office...), HD movies.
So the question is: how can I (should I) completely get rid of my server and move everything "to the cloud"?
Now, I realise the very same question has been asked and answered here, but the question dates back to 2010 and the most recent answer to 2012, and much has changed in the Server vs. Cloud battle since then.
How would you approach the problem in 2014? More specifically, how would you handle these 2 problems (DNS and DHCP can be provided by my firewall device or a small Mac mini server):
- Compliance with specs: I need all laptops to comply with a minimal set of rules at all time: use a strong login password, have our antivirus soft installed and running, have dropbox installed and running...
- Large file dump: I would still need to have some NAS-like solution in our HQ office for a limited number of large files.
I'm looking for opinions based on experience mostly.