Later on in this article I will describe how by using our economies of scale renting a Microsoft SQL license and SQL Server client access license CAL (Microsoft part numbers 359-05717, 228-09884, 359-01005, 228-04628 if you would like to research the costs of these) would take 48 months to recover compared to renting these licenses from us on a month by month basis.
We have had a few of our customers (resellers in particular) stating that our solution appears to be significantly cheaper than other quotations and they were questioning the specification of the solution from a competitor for example a Sage 200 solution required two servers with 12GB memory and 8GB memory respectively.
At first we were struggling to understand why the costs were so high and the specification, however we soon realised what was being offered. We also consider the resilience requirement of this solution further down this article.
In this case they were not being offered a true cloud computing solution. Cloud computing is designed to give you the benefits of scale that a provider (like YourOfficeAnyWhere has) and pass the cost savings associated with this onto the customer. What this particular customer was offered was exactly what they have in an “on premise solution” but moving this solution into a data centre or “the cloud!”. By doing this the customer is missing out on significant benefits and apart from providing easier access from remote locations what other benefits does this type of solution provide? In our view you are still having to provide all the components you would need in an on premise solution – antivirus, security patch updates, servers to provide authentication (active directory) – the list is endless.
The YourOfficeAnyWhere solution uses “shared” resources on multiple high performance Dell Servers each with 8 processors and 96GB of memory connected to EMC storage. Using shared resources we get benefits in terms of scale that we can pass onto our customers. These benefits include:-
Ultimate scalability in terms of what the customer may eventually need. We don’t have to provide a server with 12GB of memory to begin with or a SQL server dedicated to the customer. This is different from the competitor offering because we can specify how much memory we believe will be required initially from our real world experience of running these solutions and let the customer know what any additional memory costs will be over and above this per month, and the same applies to processing power. We will actively monitor the servers for performance and if memory is an issue upgrade the memory (a five minute shutdown and restart will give the memory to the server) having confirmed with the customer. Initially there is no cost for the memory upgrade until the customer has confirmed that the additional resources have improved performance. Additional memory or CPU is not as expensive as you may think – 1GB memory is (at the time of writing this article) £17.50 and the cost for an additional processor is also the same at £17.50
The solution provides enough spare capacity within our server cluster to ensure that should a physical server fail there is enough capacity available to bring the customers server(s) up on different hardware within a matter of minutes. Think about the additional cost that would be required for an on premise solution or a solution where it was just moved to the “cloud”– effectively in the scenario above you would need 4 servers not 2 (a Sage remote desktop server and a separate SQL server) to provide resilience.
By sharing hardware with other “customers” (which we ensure does not affect individual servers on the host) the customer also gets the benefits of scale associated with Microsoft licensing. We can use our scale to purchase the correct types of licenses for our customers and pass this onto them in terms of significant savings. For example to purchase a SQL Server license under the a Microsoft Open License program equivalent to the license we provide would cost (at the time of writing) £1041.85 for the SQL Server License (Microsoft part number 228-04628) and £238.18 (Microsoft part number 359-01005) for each user that connects these require a SQL Server Client Access License (CAL). YourOfficeAnyWhere can rent these particular licenses for just £7.00 per month which includes both the server and the client access license. For a 10 user SQL Server to recover these upfront (CAPEX) costs would take almost 49 months compared to our license fees and our solution is declared as an OPEX cost for accounting purposes and this saving is just the cost for the SQL Server. This doesn’t include the license fee for the Windows Server at £1050.00 (see below). If we factor this in the time to recover these licenses is 63 months.
Although we have singled out a particular example here by declaring the correct licenses via our Microsoft agreement means for example that the customer doesn’t need to pay for
- A Windows Server License (£1050.00) just a license for the users who connect
- A SQL Server license (as described above)
- Additional hardware to fail over to in case of server failure
Using our economies of scale ensures that YourOfficeAnyWhere will provide you with the most cost effective solution in terms of Microsoft Licensing and server hardware utilisation that you will struggle to find anywhere else in the UK.
This is experience we have gained by implementing these type of solutions for companies such as Northumbrian Water Ltd.