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Is it possible to move all server infrastructure to the cloud?

Posted on 2014-09-26
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We currently have 3 physical servers in our server room running DHCP, DNS, AD, file server, etc in windows environment. We are thinking to get rid of everything in our server room and put them in data center. I think this is possible if we could get a expensive dedicate line plus a backup line to data center. so end users will not see any difference while they are accessing files, join to the domain, etc. but in reality, is there anything I need to know in advance?  And is there any cheaper option? example, rackspace or the microsoft azure could also achieve this?
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Question by:okamon
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Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 40347231
It is possible, but pricey regardless of the option you choose. Personally, I'd keep AD and file services on premises.
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by:Mohammed Khawaja
ID: 40347474
Regardless of what you do, it is recommended to keep DNS, DHCP and AD local.  File services can be replaced with things such as Office 365.
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Expert Comment

by:shalomc
ID: 40348323
Depending on the size of the organization, DNS and DHCP may be handled locally by a $100 router.
As for AD - what do you use it for?
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by:okamon
ID: 40358699
Hi shalomc, what do you mean "for AD"? currently everything is on premise.
Has everyone had experience with Azure?
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shalomc earned 500 total points
ID: 40359084
There are 2 ways to deploy infrastructure for a small business: the dogmatic and the pragmatic.

The dogmatic says that there is a true blueprint that fits all: Everybody needs Active directory, DNS, DHCP, Exchange,
The pragmatic truth is that you don't necessarily need any of these technologies to run a business.

So what do you use Active Directory for? Like I said, it is easy to have decent replacements for DNS and DHCP.
Do you have Exchange? If you have Exchange and plan to continue using it, then AD is mandated and should be close to the Exchange server.
If you don't use Exchange, then probably AD is used only as a central login repo. Depending on the size of the business, it may be an overkill.

Going back to Azure and your original Q:
I tried using AD exclusively from Azure and from AWS. Performance was abysmal, but my location is in the middle east so your experience may differ.
File server was even worse. Turns out CIFS is a very chatty protocol and very sensitive to latency.
Be sure to POC everything, which is easy when you pay by the hour. I paid less than $100 with no commitment to finally realize that things don't work.

You will most certainly need a private connection to Azure. using Azure VPN.
http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/virtual-network/

If you look at AWS,  you have 2 options of dedicated line or VPN.

I think that you are looking for cost savings, so overall my recommendation is to keep basic services like AD and files on premises.
Really basic stuff like DNS and DHCP depends on the organization size. If less than 30 people, switch to a cheap hardware appliance.
Application like Exchange, Sharepoint, intranets etc are best run from the cloud, and Azure is better than most (though AWS is still best). Consider getting rid of servers and moving to a SaaS model, like Office365 or Google apps.
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