Question about AWS



  • Hi guys,

    This is just getting your opinions.

    Our Director is asking me to check possibility of using AWS (perhaps Lightsail for easier billing) for our infrastructure. He said that it might help out in future-proofing our infra--just another option to an infra request I made which is focused on virtualization.

    Several questions pops out of my mind:

    • Will it be possible to spin-up Microsoft DC and have clients connect to it?

    • Another thing will be security, how will we limit that only certain locations (IPs) or road-warrior units will be able to connect to it? Same question but this time on Windows file server instance.

    • Will it be easy to make it redundant to another region. Not a requirement but may be an option for business continuity should a region be unreacheable.

    • is it right that Windows server licenses including CALs are also included in the pricing.

    • still torn if to migrate our AD (where it is still 2008..and still on the .local) or create a new one. How to go about these steps.

    Note that I am new to this and have no idea on what service to subscribe to. I may have missed something but I know you guys will point me to the right direction. I may be able to do some testing personally but creditcard is what I do not have...at the moment.

    I'm also aware (not knowledgeable) of the Azure and Google Compute Platform but I wanted to focus this moment on AWS.

    Thanks and regards,

    VhinzSanchez



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Question about AWS:

    Our Director is asking me to check possibility of using AWS (perhaps Lightsail for easier billing) for our infrastructure. He said that it might help out in future-proofing our infra--just another option to an infra request I made which is focused on virtualization.

    AWS isn't the "future". It's one vendor doing an IaaS solution. Doing this is has to be because it is "proper design". Approaching it this way can't work. If you want to "future proof", you do that best by doing good decision making, not buying trendy brand names.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Question about AWS:

    • Will it be possible to spin-up Microsoft DC and have clients connect to it?

    Of course. A server is a server. How it is hosted has no effect on this. This will be identical to any server hosting of any kind.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Question about AWS:

    Another thing will be security, how will we limit that only certain locations (IPs) or road-warrior units will be able to connect to it?

    You use your firewall, the way you always do. AWS is not something "special". It's just another place to put the server instances. Your use of connections, firewalls, settings, management don't change in any way.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Question about AWS:

    Will it be easy to make it redundant to another region. Not a requirement but may be an option for business continuity should a region be unreacheable.

    AD is already trivial to make redundant. Doing so to a different region is just as easy with AWS as it is any other way. That you are on AWS will have no bearing on this at all.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Question about AWS:

    is it right that Windows server licenses including CALs are also included in the pricing.

    That is correct. That is partially why the cost is so incredibly high.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Question about AWS:

    I'm also aware (not knowledgeable) of the Azure and Google Compute Platform but I wanted to focus this moment on AWS.

    These are really the list of services you should be avoiding. AWS is "good", but expensive and offering you nothing. AWS will just be harder to use than services more aimed at hour needs, like Vultr.

    Azure is terrible. Google I don't think handles your needs. AWS is not the "go to" solution for this, however. Your short list is not well suited to your needs.



  • There is one key use case for cloud computing - elastic capacity. And that is not at all something you have mentioned here and is not well suited to those workloads. AD and file serving are never elastic, which you need to make cloud make sense.

    Beyond that, file servers specifically are terrible use cases for cloud.

    Looking into cloud to learn more is good, everyone should know it and consider it. But seeing it as special or the future is totally wrong. Cloud is just one approach and one that sounds at an initial look extremely unlikely to make any sense for you.



  • In this case, it sounds like there is an emotional desire to go towards cloud. But no reasons for doing so have been mentioned. I suspect that someone is perceiving a false benefit and just assuming that it exists.

    So the question here would be "What itch is attempting to be scratched?"

    Or... what problem are you trying to solve?



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  • @vhinzsanchez said in Question about AWS:

    @scottalanmiller Thanks! I know it might not be suited (and time consuming on my part...hehehe) but I have to come up with a study to present to our Director.

    Do a simple study. Show how it costs more and makes no sense. Do a list of pros and cons. Show that the cons list is big, and the pros list is empty.

    In a case like this, the responsibility is on the director to explain why he thinks something that makes no obvious sense is even being considered, let alone put in a position for obvious solutions to have to "defend" against it.

    It is his job to show why cloud is good, not yours to show why it is bad.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Question about AWS:

    @vhinzsanchez said in Question about AWS:

    I'm also aware (not knowledgeable) of the Azure and Google Compute Platform but I wanted to focus this moment on AWS.

    These are really the list of services you should be avoiding. AWS is "good", but expensive and offering you nothing. AWS will just be harder to use than services more aimed at hour needs, like Vultr.

    Azure is terrible. Google I don't think handles your needs. AWS is not the "go to" solution for this, however. Your short list is not well suited to your needs.

    @scottalanmiller Thanks! I know it might not be suited (and time consuming on my part...hehehe) but I have to come up with a study to present to our Director.



  • Start with money. Price out five years of a workload on cloud versus on premises.



  • If we had a bigger view of what you are trying to do, it would be far easier to throw numbers at you to work with. But I will show a simple example.



  • Cost of an AD Server on LightSail...

    Assuming that you need a GUI and a minimum reasonable amount of RAM at 4GB (which is tiny, but should work) you are looking at $40/mo for one little VM. That is $480 a year. Over five years, that is $2,400.

    Now let's price a traditional server. Assuming you already have a place to put it in your office. A good server for a workload like this might be $800. That would be way more power than the AWS VM, but you can only go so cheap. Then you need a Windows license . Assume $1200 for Windows Standard plus Software Assurance. Your total is $2,000 over five years.

    That's $400 cheaper. But the on premises option is way faster, both because the VM would have way more resources, and also because the latency to your users would be a fraction of AWS' latency. And things like backups would normally be cheaper.

    If you continue to six years, the gap gets much larger.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Question about AWS:

    If we had a bigger view of what you are trying to do, it would be far easier to throw numbers at you to work with. But I will show a simple example.

    He said that it would actually be great if we use AWS as he sees more branches and road-warriors in the future. Another thing is that our (head)office will be for renovation and we will be transferring location and be back in a year or two.

    What triggered his curiosity is that a vendor took him for a spin of an instance where it seemed cheaper...because of the instance and not through a monthly payment by users (like O365 and GApps). Though that instance is for application not DC / AD.



  • Now let's add a file server. Let's assume that you need 300GB of file server.

    AWS will be $120/mo. That's $7200 in five years.

    Now let's compare the on premises. We can probably get by with the $800 server that we already bought in the example above, but just to be insanely conservative let's spend another $800 to upgrade the hardware. We don't need another license as our last one has an unused VM allotment for us.

    So in five years, this would cost a total of only the $800.

    So between a tiny AD server and a really tiny file server, the on premises is $6800 cheaper over five years. And a sixth year would be SO dramatically cheaper.

    And if you think AD on premises is faster than AWS, file servers don't work remotely well at all. You are easily looking at a file server that would be unusable on cloud and screaming fast on premises.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Question about AWS:

    He said that it would actually be great if we use AWS as he sees more branches and road-warriors in the future.

    How are those things affecting anything? Why is AWS better for branches or road warriors than your current premises? Do you have really bad Internet? If so, what will you do if your storage goes offline when your network isn't up?



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Question about AWS:

    What triggered his curiosity is that a vendor took him for a spin of an instance where it seemed cheaper

    Why would he let a vendor set him up to be tricked like that? That's a really bad idea.

    HOW did it "seem" cheaper? The simplest calculation shows that it has to cost SO much more.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Question about AWS:

    because of the instance and not through a monthly payment by users (like O365 and GApps). Though that instance is for application not DC / AD.

    Doesn't matter. On premises is cheaper unless your scale is just so ridiculously small that you can never justify the smallest of hardware. But just one AD DC is enough to push you over that limit.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Question about AWS:

    Now let's add a file server. Let's assume that you need 300GB of file server.

    AWS will be $120/mo. That's $7200 in five years.

    Now let's compare the on premises. We can probably get by with the $800 server that we already bought in the example above, but just to be insanely conservative let's spend another $800 to upgrade the hardware. We don't need another license as our last one has an unused VM allotment for us.

    So in five years, this would cost a total of only the $800.

    So between a tiny AD server and a really tiny file server, the on premises is $6800 cheaper over five years. And a sixth year would be SO dramatically cheaper.

    And if you think AD on premises is faster than AWS, file servers don't work remotely well at all. You are easily looking at a file server that would be unusable on cloud and screaming fast on premises.

    Thanks SAM, I would bring him the numbers then. 300GB is only 2 network folders. We are now reaching 6TB..hehehe.



  • I think the trick is math. It sounds like he's using emotions to look at this, and not money. Make him put the cost into real numbers.

    I use cloud all of the time, but that's because I'm doing things completely differently, don't have a premises at all, don't use Windows, etc.

    Windows alone is almost a guarantee that cloud is out of the question. Not always, but almost always. But Windows, file server, non-elastic workloads. This is like a text book example of when no one should even talk about cloud.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Question about AWS:

    Thanks SAM, I would bring him the numbers then. 300GB is only 2 network folders. We are now reaching 6TB..hehehe.

    Dear Lord! No normal service can handle that. LightSail and Vultr tap out below 500GB. The only way to do that is with traditional AWS which is a lot more work and anything about 300GB is really impossibly expensive. The cost of 6TB on cloud would be absurd. For something that would cost only $300 on premises, might cost you $1,000 per month on cloud.

    $300 vs. $60,000

    HAHAHAA



  • @scottalanmiller said in Question about AWS:

    @vhinzsanchez said in Question about AWS:

    He said that it would actually be great if we use AWS as he sees more branches and road-warriors in the future.

    How are those things affecting anything? Why is AWS better for branches or road warriors than your current premises? Do you have really bad Internet? If so, what will you do if your storage goes offline when your network isn't up?

    Yes we do have bad internet here in Philippines. We would be getting multiple vendors for these though. We already have 1 fiber and 2 dsl lines which we plan to upgrade. However, still, just 2 weeks ago, we experienced a fiber outage and 1 dsl line. We still made use of 1 slow dsl for 2 days.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Question about AWS:

    @scottalanmiller said in Question about AWS:

    @vhinzsanchez said in Question about AWS:

    He said that it would actually be great if we use AWS as he sees more branches and road-warriors in the future.

    How are those things affecting anything? Why is AWS better for branches or road warriors than your current premises? Do you have really bad Internet? If so, what will you do if your storage goes offline when your network isn't up?

    Yes we do have bad internet here in Philippines. We would be getting multiple vendors for these though. We already have 1 fiber and 2 dsl lines which we plan to upgrade. However, still, just 2 weeks ago, we experienced a fiber outage and 1 dsl line. We still made use of 1 slow dsl for 2 days.

    Does that make AWS better or worse? If you had AWS and your ISP went down, your office would be offline but your road warriors would still be working. If you had on premises and the Internet went down, your office would keep working but the road warriors would be offline.



  • I think some of the problems are probably more fundamental. Why are tools like AD and SMB file sharing being used in your situation? Those aren't appropriate tools or even platforms in your use case, from the sounds of it.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Question about AWS:

    @vhinzsanchez said in Question about AWS:

    @scottalanmiller said in Question about AWS:

    @vhinzsanchez said in Question about AWS:

    He said that it would actually be great if we use AWS as he sees more branches and road-warriors in the future.

    How are those things affecting anything? Why is AWS better for branches or road warriors than your current premises? Do you have really bad Internet? If so, what will you do if your storage goes offline when your network isn't up?

    Yes we do have bad internet here in Philippines. We would be getting multiple vendors for these though. We already have 1 fiber and 2 dsl lines which we plan to upgrade. However, still, just 2 weeks ago, we experienced a fiber outage and 1 dsl line. We still made use of 1 slow dsl for 2 days.

    Does that make AWS better or worse? If you had AWS and your ISP went down, your office would be offline but your road warriors would still be working. If you had on premises and the Internet went down, your office would keep working but the road warriors would be offline.

    Told him that but he said that with multiple ISPs including wireless 4Gs, we can survive. If submarine cables are the culprit, then no business country-wide.



  • @vhinzsanchez said in Question about AWS:

    @scottalanmiller said in Question about AWS:

    @vhinzsanchez said in Question about AWS:

    @scottalanmiller said in Question about AWS:

    @vhinzsanchez said in Question about AWS:

    He said that it would actually be great if we use AWS as he sees more branches and road-warriors in the future.

    How are those things affecting anything? Why is AWS better for branches or road warriors than your current premises? Do you have really bad Internet? If so, what will you do if your storage goes offline when your network isn't up?

    Yes we do have bad internet here in Philippines. We would be getting multiple vendors for these though. We already have 1 fiber and 2 dsl lines which we plan to upgrade. However, still, just 2 weeks ago, we experienced a fiber outage and 1 dsl line. We still made use of 1 slow dsl for 2 days.

    Does that make AWS better or worse? If you had AWS and your ISP went down, your office would be offline but your road warriors would still be working. If you had on premises and the Internet went down, your office would keep working but the road warriors would be offline.

    Told him that but he said that with multiple ISPs including wireless 4Gs, we can survive. If submarine cables are the culprit, then no business country-wide.

    You mean that he just avoided the question?



  • Even in the US with fast fiber, accessing 6TB over the Internet with SMB is ridiculously slow. Having to do it over DSL from another country.... impossible.

    His proposed solution is going to cost a fortune and it wont' even work.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Question about AWS:

    Even in the US with fast fiber, accessing 6TB over the Internet with SMB is ridiculously slow. Having to do it over DSL from another country.... impossible.

    His proposed solution is going to cost a fortune and it wont' even work.

    Sort of. In anycase, you have been most helpful in opening my eyes. I can now concentrate on the Virtual Infrastructure I had proposed.