The next plausible upgrade question probably is, “what architecture deployment do we go with”. Well, there are several different options available and you may be unsure which best suits you. This article aims to act as a support tool in that decision.
The first deployment is the one which is most likely the most familiar one to you, buying a dedicated Server for the application, installing it in the server room and leaving it to run the site. Traditionally this was the only solution, and would lead to massive server rooms full of racks for dedicated tasks. The main appeal of this was that segregation assured that there was no chance of conflicts between applications; if one server failed it would only disrupt that process and everything else would continue as expected.
The act of running an application “on the metal” has become quite archaic now, wherein machines have gotten so powerful that it is impractical to dedicate the entire resource to a single task; that and the most common form of backup recovery is keeping an identical second machine available as some form of standby (be it Hot, Warm or Cold).
Hypervisor Virtual Machines
Servers nowadays are so powerful that they can feasibly run several different instances of Windows all doing a variety of tasks on a single machine. This has the main benefit of reducing the overall footprint in a server room whilst offering an easy backup mechanism.
Secondly, most modern Hypervisors have some form of redundancy wherein Virtual Machines can be seamlessly migrated across different hardware/networks to ensure that a failure would not result in downtime. Many companies have incorporated these for common functions (such as Mail Servers, or Domain Controllers) without realising that the power can be leveraged for their GENESIS servers as well if they wished.
Cloud Virtual Machines
Hosting your GENESIS64 server in the cloud has a number of different benefits and considerations, the primary benefit is that the data is now readily available for you regardless of where you are. Cloud can offer near 100% guaranteed up-time without the requirement for you to be on-site/corporate network to access it. This will allow different sites across the country/globe to share the data without any difficult network restrictions.
Hosting in the cloud removes any on-site requirements to host the hardware, so any disruptions on site would have no repercussions. There would be no hardware to maintain nor would there be any associated running/purchase costs, only a standard monthly cost for the usage required.
Software as a Service
All of the previous architectures revolve around the same principal, you are in control of your system and any modifications/maintenance will be undertaken by yourselves.
Depending on the data which you wish to present and how you wish to present it, there is the potential to replace your system with a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. A provider would maintain and run your system in the cloud on the proviso that the data was provided in a compatible/consistent format.
The primary advantage of Software as a Service is that it combines the benefits of a cloud based hosting solution whilst removing any continuous development/maintenance costs, for a standard monthly cost.
There are a number of caveats which would have to be considered in these deployments, firstly that control of the system is no longer yours. Any modifications will likely be charged for, and you will be responsible for ensuring that you provide the data you wish to see, when you wish to see it.
Each different architecture has its own advantages and disadvantages based on their use cases, for instance any locally installed hardware (either Physical or Hypervisor) would be beneficial to a site without a reliable internet connection or had restrictions on what data could be made available via the Internet.
Cloud based architectures have the added benefit of making the system available to the wider business/other offices without complex network setups, whilst maintaining the guaranteed uptime/security of the cloud. Also, SaaS solutions allow for the entire system to be reduced to a subscription based model, this would remove any maintenance costs which you would incur from the standard running of the system whilst ensuring it stays consistent and updated, all with the benefits mentioned in the cloud based architectures.