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Cloud Computing Migration

I was recently asked to help a fledgling small office with some IT issues.    It turns out that their small office server is dell power edge that is leaning against the wall of a dusty closet. Their network switch is also propped up against the power edge.  They did put a UPS along side the server and and switch.  The closet is too small to put any of this equipment onto a rack.   The closet is only 20" deep.  The office staff are are not IT savvy and they would prefer not to have any servers in the office if at possible.    (Mostly because the servers get the way of their coats and boots.)

This Power Edge Server runs Windows Server 2003 has 3 functions:  
    Active directory credential management
    FileMaker License Server
    Backup Manager.

My question to the Experts is the following:    Is it possible to migrate this server and all its functionality on to a cloud such as Amazon EC2?   If so, How?  

How can you attach and configure an EC2 cloud machine in order to make it appear to be a local server?
   
Their ISP is CenturyLink but they do not know what small business package or features they have.   They are willing to adjust their package if needed.   What needs  to be configured at CenturyLink to make this work?

Any advice is appreciated?
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tmonteit
Asked:
tmonteit
1 Solution
 
Will LovingPresidentCommented:
I don't know about EC2, but the FileMaker Server function could be handled by getting a virtual or dedicated server from Rackspace, 1and1 or the like, usually starting at $50/month for a virtual server. Install the FileMaker Server on the VS, upload the FileMaker files and then users can connect from their desktop using FileMaker Pro (as they do now) except that they use Open Remote... and specify the IP Address (you can save it as a Favorite as well for future connects).

The only downside of this arrangement is that there is a speed penalty. If they are used to the database being based on a local LAN server, connecting to a virtual server across the internet will feel notable slower. But, it does get the server out of the office and makes hardware maintenance someone else's business.

If the WAN/Remote connection feels too slow, the most common solution is to add Terminal Services or Citrix to the offsite server so they are opening FileMaker Pro and connecting to FileMaker Server (still using Open REmote) within the remote/TS Window rather than pulling all the database data across the internet.
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