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    • #16336
      Member Points: 149
      Rank: 2


      Been browsing 4sysops for a good while now and I really appreciate all the experience/knowledge coming from here.

      I guess IaaS has been around for a while, especially when it comes to webservers and other “standalone” systems of the sort, but I was wondering what opinions/experience people on 4sysops have of running whole ecosystems  in this fashion?

      Has anyone relied on azure or similar services for 24/7 connectivity to AD and similar services? Any words on uptime from a longer period of time? What’s your take on network-sensitive apps/services and how they possibly should integrate now or in the future?

      Any input is welcome!

    • #16350
      Timothy Warner
      Member Points: 1,400
      Rank: 3

      Hi Raine,

      I have some experience with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and am beginning a deep-dive into the Google Cloud Services; Google Compute Engine is their IaaS offering. I haven’t messed with Azure VMs yet…

      In my opinion, AWS is a pretty good service for public-facing stuff like Web, app, and FTP servers.

      Their ability to host an Active Directory forest is going to require a LOT of expertise on your part. From what I gather, Microsoft has a much better experience with cloud-based AD, and the reason why is obvious.

      The Amazon documentation on hosted AD DS isn’t very abundant and isn’t very clear, I’m afraid.

      How big is your shop? The combination of Windows InTune with Office 365 is very attractive for businesses with fewer than, say, 100 clients. InTune doesn’t give you the full AD experience, but it’s pretty good in terms of offering desktop and mobile device management, antimalware, etc.

      And O365 can include hosted Exchange, Lync, SharePoint, and Office Web Apps. A complete solution.

      Nevertheless, besides the huge learning curve involved, I would say your next two questions to ask yourself are:

      1. Uptime guarantee. In my experience, Office 365 and InTune aren’t very reliable. AWS, on the other hand, has been rock solid.

      2. Data sovereignty. These big cloud providers have data centers located all over the world. Do you trust your company’s private data with the provider? What if the local government asks to snoop your stuff?

      Hope this helps,


    • #16412
      Michael Pietroforte
      Member Points: 42,263
      Author of the year 2018
      Rank: 4

      I have several years’ experience with Amazon EC2 and Office 365, and I can’t complain about the availability. 4sysops was down a few months ago for 30 minutes or so because of a connectivity issue in one of Amazon’s data centers. However, I could have prepared for this by running a copy of my server in another Amazon data center, perhaps on another continent.

      I think, because of the flexibility and elasticity of the cloud, most organizations could significantly increase their uptime. All cloud providers offer service level agreements with uptimes that are hard to beat for any on-premises IT.

      It is also no big deal to move your IT infrastructure to different cloud providers. For instance, the 4sysops server runs on an EC2 instance in the US. The corresponding backup server runs on a server in Germany and is from a different provider. Every day, I transfer 1GB just for the 4sysops backup. So, if Amazon goes down, say because of a terrorist attack, I would still have all my data and would be back online in a short time. I am using the Office 365 version of Exchange, and Outlook just behaves as if the server is next door. And you must know that I am changing continents frequently. This is what I can say about running network-sensitive applications in the cloud.

      The other question is whether your Internet connection is reliable and fast enough to run all your servers in the cloud. Depending on the size of your network, you should have two or three different Internet service providers.

      I am managing my servers across continents, and I never noticed a difference compared to former times when I could just go down to the basement and check how my babies are doing. Of course, I miss all those nicely blinking servers and switches. But, well, you can’t have anything.

      I also remember the times when most admins were running their servers in their own office and how hard it was for them (and me) to move them to a dedicated server room. And you know what? One of the arguments was uptime. What if a network adapter malfunctions? If the server is in my office, I can replace it in a minute… How times change. 🙂

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