March 10, 2014
InfoShare™ 3.0 Provides Versatility in Hosting Options

CSI Technology Group Participates in Highlighted IJIS Project
Are you ready for the cloud? Or would you rather host InfoShare™ at your own data center? CSI understands that everybody’s situation is different, so with the upgrade to 3.0, we now offer choices when it comes to hosting your application. Another new feature CSI now provides our customers is multiple choices for hosting InfoShare™. Three models are now supported by our new InfoShare™ 3.0 platform:
  • >>> Locally hosted in your agency's data center or server room.
  • >>> Operated on a shared government (virtualized or cloud) platform
  • >>> Operated on a commercial cloud platform Each of these options has its own advantages, so read on to find out which may be best for you:
A locally and physically hosted system is operated and managed directly under your control, in your facility, on your physical servers. For an enterprise the size of a small to medium county, the cost of a set of servers (hardware, operating system, and database engine) runs from $30K - $60K, depending on your preferences or operational needs. For this discussion, let us assume $45K as your cost for several Intel servers, Windows Server operating system, and Microsoft SQL database engine. In general, there is an annual cost for all hardware and software procurements in the general range of 15% - 18%, which would roughly amount to $6K - $8K. Depending on staffing and IT support arrangements, there would also be indirect costs, including building/facilities, power and a small portion of a Server Administrator's time and resources.

Use of a virtualized and/or government cloud is a second option that is often available to a county agency, allowing you to run your InfoShare™ application on a county network of shared resources. Usually most state and county governments have either a shared physical server farm, or more recently, a robust virtualized enviroment where the server administrator(s) can provision several "virtual servers" running on a large, powerful mega-server or blade-server chassis. These virtual servers can have their own logins, IP addresses, application pool and databases. Your InfoShare™ application runs perfectly well on this environment, and a number of county and state (executive branch and judicial branch) InfoShare™ systems operate this way today. Some of these shared server environments are set up to actually operate as a "cloud” (see the next option for details of how a cloud operates). The many variants of this option, based on how your county/agency operates or charges for computing services, make it impractical to compute actual costs here.
The introduction of InfoShare™ 3.0 provides you the new option of commercial cloud-based computing. While the very term "cloud" raises debate across the IT industry as to the specific definition of "cloud computing," the essential concept is simple: your InfoShare™ software runs on computers that you do not have to ever worry about. You pay a monthly fee and the cloud platform provider (such as, Amazon Cloud, Microsoft's Azure Cloud, Dimension Data, etc.) manages everything else. Two cloud models that support this are known as IaaS and PaaS. Respectively, these stand for "Infrastructure-as-a-Service" and "Platform-as-a-Service." Your cloud provider will provision the hardware and provide your required amount of memory, disk space, Internet bandwidth and CPU processing power. CSI will install InfoShare™ on this cloud-hosted platform. Software and security updates, firewall upgrades, and hardware maintenance are all performed by your provider. The operational advantages are easy to see, as is the tremendous growth of cloud-hosted environments. For example, as of early 2014, Google Cloud Services, just one of dozens of cloud providers, currently hosts 4 million software applications (not 4 million users, that is 4 million applications). The costs for cloud hosting of these environments vary by several factors, and CSI can help you select the amount of processing power on the cloud that you will need. A very broad price range for a small to moderate sized agency might be $450 - $750 per month for a turn-key cloud platform. Several cloud providers have seen 80% - 90% growth in business over a 2 year period, some even greater. Cloud computing is not a 'maybe' nor is it going to take hold some time in the future. It is here now, it is tremendously successful and InfoShare™ is built to take advantage of it.
As you see, CSI has provided you with choices and we are happy to work with our customers in any of these operating configurations, as best fits you needs. Please contact us if you would like more information.