A couple of months ago, I priced out moving our Windows 2008 Server to the cloud via managed hosting or a managed co-location. While there are many companies now offering this service, it's still prohibitively expensive. Then I had an epiphany. What if I started moving "server components" to the cloud instead of the entire server.
File Server - File Hosting Services (FHS) have come a long way in the last few years. Moving this functionality to the cloud is absolutely doable. (I'm confident many Experts-Exchange experts will disagree with me on this point.)
Antivirus with Server Console - Many of the antivirus companies now offer a web-based server console.
Exchange - We've been using Google Apps for several years and love it.
Backup and Recovery - There are lots of options associated with FHS.
CRM - The cloud is where it's at.
So what if I wanted to get rid of my Windows Server 2008 entirely? There are two big impediments to this:
Authentication - I'm not sure how I'd handle the Domain authentication w/o the Windows Server in-house or without a traditional cloud-based managed location or managed colo (which, as noted earlier, are prohibitively expensive).
Group Policy and Login Scripts - We use both pretty extensively in the office. Just like authentication, I think I'm stuck with an in-house server or a a traditional cloud-based solution.
I'll bet there are several experts out there who have some ideas. Feel free to suggest anything
. (For example, I'm not wedded to Windows. I'd be willing to consider a Linux solution.)