The CIWire web server

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CIWire needs a web server to provide basic internet services. For setup we have three options: to get a hosting, to buy our own server and finally to rent a dedicated server. Every of these options has its pros and cons. After an evalutions of these we decided for the dedicated server solution.

A common hosting would be the cheapest solution, also the hardware problems wouldn’t matter to the server admin. Since we are hosting about 5 projects and rising, the price advantage would become smaller by the time and one day it would be more expensive than other solutions. One of the major disadvantages is the lack of full server access. The installation of custom packages, sharing files between project would be hardly possible.

An idea of own server was on our mind long before the company started. We would have complete access and monthly fees only for server connection. Custom built server is not an option, because you have to do the hardware repairs on your own. In case you are running business critical applications, every minute counts. We have a good experience with various Dell servers (Poweredge 850, 1950) and Fujitsu-Siemens (Primergy). Dell offers 3-year guarantee with various response times and FS offers life-time service on some models. Brand servers are quite expensive, and in a time of two, three years, they are considered old. Sure, you can use them for development, low-priority project, but still you have to pay large amount of money on purchase and their price is descending by time.

Considering these informations the solution of a dedicated/virtual server seems the best. You get full server access and other advantages that come with own server. And you save money on company start-up (you can lease own server, but at a high rate). We checked many offers using google, and decided for the Web4u company. At that time they offered a nice deal – SUN Fire X2100 M2 machine for the price of 2.500 CZK per month. If we remove the 1.000 for the server connection (its the lower offer price) and multiply the remaining money with three years, we get a server for 54.000 CZK with full on-site service. Another advantage is that we can change the provider any time.

After that order was made, the server was provided in two hours fully installed with Debian 4 x64 as ordered. The server was equiped with PHP 5, mySQL, postgreSQL and Qmail. That is a remarkable service and we also had the same experience in the past with a german provider Strato AG. By the time we send the first payment, we were online and working. If we don’t have the staff or time to manage the server, we can always use the service of Web4U crew in the future.

The virtual server is not much cheaper, and hold perils of computing power for the future, so this solution was also dumped.