View Full Version : Provisioning Vs Pricing vs Cost.

Michael Mullan
2-May-2015, 08:42 PM
I'm looking at setting up a two location install of a DF18.0 app with MSSQL as the back end. I'm trying to balance useful speed & uptime, vs Monthly running cost. The application is your standard Order Entry / Point Of Sale Kind of thing. with a total of 10 users.


1. Put the whole thing on an AWS EC2 instance cost roughly:

$70/mo for a windows t2.Medium
$1,000 for 10 Server 2012 CALs
or $350/mo for 10 Amazon Workspaces

2. Put a server in each location, with local workstations, No shared data:

2xServer $4,000 (Dell basic model)

3. Put a server in ONE location, and connect the remote site with RDP over the VPN to the other store.

1xServer $2,000,
5xCAL $550

4. Put a local (small) server in each store, but keep the data on an AWS RDP server.

- Chuck already nixed this one, the remote database is just too slow.

5. Put in two servers, and use M$ Replication to sync the databases, (I really don't like this one, because I'm not sure how replication will affect my app.)

Servers $3,500

Laid out like this, the $1100 for M$ CAL's to get to the Amazon server doesn't look too bad.

I need to put this into a more formal proposition for the client. Anybody got anything to add? Anything I forgot?

Garret Mott
2-May-2015, 09:54 PM
Key thing as I see it is how their internet is. Many of my clients simply cannot consider a remote server - as they would potentially have too much downtime.

That being said, another client has been running everything off a server in Manhattan with offices in Florida & Colorado & TS. Been fine for 15 years or more. Both locations have backup internet (main = cable, backup = dsl).

Michael Mullan
2-May-2015, 10:04 PM
These guys are based in Philly, and uptime shouldn't be a problem. I recommended a "Freedompop" access point as their emergency backup.

3-May-2015, 03:22 AM
I'd probably go to option 3, as it seems like the easiest to set up. Your remote server doesn't need to be a $2000 server. You're not really pushing it with 5 users, so you might get away with a smaller less powerful machine.

On the "Amazon Workspaces" front. Microsoft Azure provide remoteApp pricing that may be better for you. Provisioning a user costs 18c an hour, and as long as you can ensure that users are shutting the app down when they don't need it - you're gold.

10 users, using the app for 7 hours a day, 20 days a week gives you a cost of about $252 dollars a month. Not all users will be using the app all the time though, so you may get cheaper than this.


3-May-2015, 05:59 AM
It may or may not be important but AWS is called a Windows 7 desktop "experience" this is because there is no cloud licence model for W7. If it really was W7 it would be breaking the MS licence model and they would be on them faster than a ferret down a rabbit hole. So what are they doing ? It's W2008 server with a W7 skin on

Stephen W. Meeley
3-May-2015, 09:20 AM

Perhaps the most important questions are how technically capable they are and how important shared data is. If the answers are a) not very - I'm gonna have to hold their hands for almost everything and b) very important - and the more real-time the better then a single cloud server with everyone (regardless of location) accessing it through RDC seems like the easiest to manage and most flexible. There is also much less reliance on integrating their current computers (almost anything can run RDC) and will also give their management the most flexible access. At a max of 10 users you should be able to use a single instance (including the SQL server) but pay attention to the memory available under their peak load (OS + SQL + 10 users running apps).

I'm not focused so much on the initial and ongoing hard costs (hardware and licensing) because it's the soft costs (setup, training and handholding, performance, customer satisfaction) that are the most variable.

Lastly, with a central EC2 instance (all 10 users accessing through RDC) then using Amazon RDS may come back into play (because all the communication between the apps and the server remains in the cloud - only the RDC communications involve the local connections. Again, check with Chuck about this.

Michael Mullan
3-May-2015, 09:55 AM
I'm not focused so much on the initial and ongoing hard costs (hardware and licensing) because it's the soft costs (setup, training and handholding, performance, customer satisfaction) that are the most variable.
This may be, indeed probably is, a true statement. However when trying to get the foot in a new door, the initial hard costs are basically all the client sees. AFTER all is said and done, and bills are due, then the customer notices the speed, performance, etc.

Small business owners IMHO look very hard at the "tangible" upfront costs. How much $$ for new hardware, 3rd party Licences, etc etc.

I've reached out to a m$ licencing pro to see if there is a better way to buy licences that I don'e know about... then I'll decide.

Also, I'm probably going to go the route of "Published app" rather than full desktop, then I can lock down the internet inside the stores at the firewall, and not stress about them messing on the server.

3-May-2015, 02:39 PM
lastly, with a central ec2 instance (all 10 users accessing through rdc) then using amazon rds may come back into play (because all the communication between the apps and the server remains in the cloud - only the rdc communications involve the local connections. Again, check with chuck about this.

Yes that is indeed true. RDP is very efficient and it's basically just keyboard/mouse and display (which is compressed in transit).

I agree with MM about published app vs. Full desktop. From a user perspective they may not even know it's running in the cloud.

Raphael Theiler
4-May-2015, 01:52 AM
It requires a reliable internet connection though. It depends a bit on the company involved, since working offline often is impossible anyway.

Michael Mullan
4-May-2015, 06:32 AM
It's a shop in Philadelphia PA, so internet is reliable, and a backup is available.


8-May-2015, 08:47 AM
Just make sure that there is no 3rd party access to the service .. eg Your customer has a couple of external customers that access that service.
If so, you have to use SPLA licensing for Windows and SQL (meaning paying a monthly fee to Microsoft)

Michael Mullan
8-May-2015, 12:54 PM
Not a problem for me. Customers staff only.

20-May-2015, 02:22 PM
one of our clients works like that

main office is in Alabama, remote office is in Fresno, California. Currently we have servers in Alabama and workstations in Alabama are directly connected to the server via LAN. Fresno is connected via high speed connection and VPN and uses remote desktop.

Works fine but we are just moving the complete system to Azure to get all the servers out of the building.