Poll: Do you prefer externally hosted software or internally hosted?

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General Chat Thread, Survey - Do you prefer externally hosted or internally hosted services? in General; I'm just doing a bit of research to figure out a future business plan for myself, when I eventually start ...
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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Survey - Do you prefer externally hosted or internally hosted services?

    I'm just doing a bit of research to figure out a future business plan for myself, when I eventually start selling some of the large software packages I've been writing.

    So, when you're out buying into software, do you prefer software to be hosted externally, in the cloud, or do you prefer to install it on your local servers?

    Any responses much appreciated!

    EDIT: If you choose Other, please explain why. It doesn't make much sense without an explanation.
    Last edited by localzuk; 23rd August 2010 at 06:42 PM.

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    I prefer to keep things in house but having Live@Edu and SIMS hosted at county has been a blessing.

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    webman's Avatar
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    In-house. Gives us greater flexibility and will still work even when our internet doesn't.

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    In-house currently. We prefer the flexibility and the fact we're not reliant on our internet connection. I can see a day in the future when externally hosted apps would be fine, but until we have multiple redundant links through multiple providers going in different physical directions to different physical POPs then in house it is

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    maniac's Avatar
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    It does depend on the system. Things like our learning platform I made the decision to host externally, mainly because once you'd factored in the cost of the server, plus keeping it running, maintained and replacing it every 3 years plus our time spent applying upgrades, troubleshooting it if it didn't work etc. it worked out better value. Generally thou, I do prefer to keep things in house.

    The service level agreement from the supplier, their previous reliability record and how critical the system is factor heavily into the decision making process, as does the reliability of our internet connection - ours is exceedingly good, one thing I cannot fault Kent LEA for in the slightest, we've only had a tiny portion of proper downtime in the 2 years at my current school.

    Mike.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    It really depends ... it depends on your available bandwidth and the reliability of it (including the reliability of the filters / firewalls sat in between) ... it depends on whether you expect to having a lot of home use to it, whether it needs to be a *very* resilient system, the sort of which you know you can technically supply but just can't afford to keep running.

    For secondary schools I tend to favour in-house for a lot of things, on your RBC WAN for things you need to have more resiliency on and can't afford (both in cash, staff time or training requirements) to do in-house and then on the cloud for certain *reliable* resources (Live@Edu, GApps, Learning Platforms) ... and if you are going to use external hosting services then make sure you know what you are getting and be prepared to accept that if you push for cheap then you might be sacrificing quality (YMMV).

    For primary schools I tend to favour RBC WAN, Cloud, external and then in-house ... mainly for the need for support for whatever is hosted when the tech (if not employed full time) is not available due to supporting other schools.

    My main metric for measuring this is what is the impact if something goes down and how efficiently can it be brought back without sacrificing other things (YMMV).

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Internally Because:
    • If the internet is not working you can still use the software internally.
    • Prevents the use of bandwidth at busy periods.
    • You have more control.
    • I have piece of mind the data is secure on site.
    • When hosting external services i like to keep the URLS consistent. Some software that is hosted externally such as university you can get random URLs.
    • Cheaper.
    • Everyone knows the Edugeek Fast host story, i would rather know that if the server dies with the software i use allot i can get it up quickly.
    Last edited by FN-GM; 23rd August 2010 at 10:12 PM.

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    It depends what it is. Often that's a question of whether it's more important that we can access it when external connectivity goes down or whether other people can.

    So Moodle, the school website, initial mail filtering/caching and a few other bits and pieces are external, as is Student Reporting. But all the other stuff is internal because well... (river valley, bad rural power feed, floods, lightning, zombies*) ....and we need the stuff available internally even if the outside world has been backhoed.

    It also depends on "do I have access to people at the providers who can Get Stuff Done or do I have to wade through a slurry of helldesk drones and engage nuclear options before stuff gets moving?" I'd much rather fix it by RTFM than wait around without an effective means of making an outsourced provider get their arse in gear when it goes pear-shaped.

    *may not be zombies.

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