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Costs of RemoteApp (cloud server) vs. local server

Costs of RemoteApp (cloud server) vs. local server

(OP)
Hello All,

We have been having a discussion (separate thread) about running my VFP/VFE app via RemoteApp to a cloud server. I have received a lot of great information and it is truly appreciated. My first "cloud" customer goes live August 15. I am in the middle of all sorts of conversions, imports and exports from and to external vendors, etc to get my app's database populated by the end of this week. This is all normal setup stuff for a new customer and at this point has nothing to do with running from the cloud. I guess I am just saying I have my hands full right now so I don't have much time for the subject of this thread/question, but it has come up and I was wanting to get some feedback from this forum.

We have hired a cloud hosting company to host the cloud server that will be the cloud server that contains my app. The users will have RemoteApp icons on their desktop to access the my app.

Before this, we purchased a server usually at a cost of about 5K and that server was attached to the local LAN and the users accessed my app via a drive letter mapped to a shared folder on that server. Pretty typical VFP app installation. The problem with that configuration has always been that OUR server was on someone else's domain and was subject to all the issues on that domain. When something went wrong you never knew if it was OUR issue or something on the LAN. Add to that, WE/ME did not have any real networking or server expertise. I am a software developer NOT a "network person" and as such my expertise was very limited when the server did not behave well. Add to that we had to use something like LogMeIn to access OUR server at all these customer sites, and we had to perform the backups of our server. That all has costs as well. I mention this because basically all that goes away. The hosting company will backup the cloud server and will be responsible for any "server" issues.

The hosting company is charging so much per user per month. I am trying to measure that against all the costs of having local servers at each customer site. On the one hand I believe this is the "future" so to speak, so it has to be possible for the costs of doing all this with a cloud server vs a local server, is efficient. On the other hand, with 15 users accessing my app, the cost of the cloud server comes to $525.00 per month. As you can see the short answer may be that is TOO high, because when I purchase a server they usually last about 6 years so 5K / 72 months is only $70.00 per month. That doesn't take into account paying for LogMeIn and backup software, etc, blah blah... but it could still be cost prohibitive to "move to the cloud". I feel the cost of "moving to the cloud" should be LESS that having all these local servers, but as yet am having a difficult time seeing how.

One thing I believe will have to happen, is the cloud hosting company may have to change the way they charge. For most apps, if you have 15 users they would all be doing some data entry at their workstation most days and would all truly be accessing my database. My app is different. For example, we may have 6 users that have access to the Point-of-Sale module in my app, but they all do so from 1 workstation so only one of them is ever working at the same time. Things like that are pretty common for other modules of my app. I feel the cloud hosting company is going to see that "actual usage" of my app (maybe a better term would be traffic) would be a fairer measurement on which to base their fees rather than the number of users. Doing so could make a huge difference in my costs.

I am really putting this whole conversation off until we see some usage measurements and the actual invoice from the hosting company at the end of the first month or 2. Then I believe we should know enough about the costs to have a more constructive conversation with the hosting company about how they charge us.

For now, I just wanted to put this out there and see if anyone on the forum has any comments. They are welcomed and appreciated.

John






RE: Costs of RemoteApp (cloud server) vs. local server

I realize that your question is primarily about the cost to run your app in the 2 environments, but I wanted to throw one thing out that applies to running any VFP application remotely - printing.

Maybe you have already ascertained that this is not a problem, and if so, great.

But for my client's many customers who are running the legacy VFP application remotely, printing to the local, in-house workstation's printer is generally a challenge.

Now, the Remote OS can make this easier. Win10 works pretty well and transparently, but other 'flavors' of Windows can be a pain.
Getting Print Drivers that exactly match the local in-house print drivers on the user's workstation can be a REAL challenge. Especially if a newer printer does not have a driver for older Windows OS's.

Again, I hope that you have already determined that his is a non-issue for you.
Otherwise its something to keep in mind.

Just a few thoughts in regards to your primary question...

Assuming that the Cloud vendor is supplying you with roll-over server support (when one goes down, the other automatically fires up and provides client service transparently), your customer's will gain the assurance of most likely 100% operation of their system.
And you gain the assurance that YOU never need to scramble to get their system up and running after a failure.
Quite often that alone, plus backups, is worth the possible added costs.

Quote:

When something went wrong you never knew if it was OUR issue or something on the LAN
Unfortunately that problem persists even with a Cloud vendor.
* Is the problem at the user's workstation?
* Is the problem on the user's in-house network?
* Is the problem with their internet access (the typical RemoteApp physical access path)
* Is the problem at the Cloud vendor?
* Is the problem your software?

Quote:

One thing I believe will have to happen, is the cloud hosting company may have to change the way they charge.
First of all, don't expect the Cloud provider to change the way they charge. You are just one of many customers.
Generally the Cloud vendors are looking for concurrent users and having to supply appropriate bandwidth to support them.

Quote:

they all do so from 1 workstation so only one of them is ever working at the same time
Generally that group of users would be 'seen' as a single concurrent user.

Another thing to think about is whether your various customer (who currently have their own separate server) will require separate Cloud servers - whether for Personally Identifiable Information (PII) reasons or for other reasons.

NOTE - unless you have changed things, your application architecture could possibly affect this.
i want each instance of my vfp app to create and use it's own temp folder
thread184-1778957: i want each instance of my vfp app to create and use it's own temp folder


If separate servers were required, that would typically escalate the costs.

Good Luck,
JRB-Bldr

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