What to buy for a small business with multiple sites

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by megamouse, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. megamouse macrumors member

    Sep 7, 2008
    Xserver + iMacs or Dell Desktops ??

    Dear members of the great forum, I need your advice on a IT purchase.

    The company I work for owns server small size hotels in London, and they all have standard ADSL internet connections with BT, i.e. Site A, Site B and C

    Site A has a static IP address and is the main office for daily operation.

    The database I am building for the company, is based on Filemaker 9 Pro Advanced.

    My boss now wants to replace SOME of the computers on all sites, and he and I are both Mac users. so the question is:

    We need to run Filemaker Database on site A. Site B and C need to access the database. Will Macs do the job? or should we follow the crowd and get Windows.

    Option 1. Buy a Mac Pro for site A to store the database, buy a few iMacs for staff to access it. Then no Active Directory, but easier to maintain I hope (i.e. less viruses etc, safer OS, no?).

    Option 2. Buy a bunch of cheap Dells, and use one for database storage.

    Q: If we have Windows Server, can I run Active Directory on it? Will ADSL connection fast enough for that?

    Option 3. Rent a BT server and convert the Filemaker DB into a MySQL one, all PCs and Macs on ALL sites can access it through web interface.

    My internet speed:


    What would you do?

    I am a Mac guy but I was told by a friend who works in a big IT consultancy firm that, small or medium business RARELY use Mac network, except the one in media business.

    I appreciate all your inputs. Thanks
  2. iFan macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2007

    Are you near an Apple Store? If so, schedule a business consultation (No pressure to buy, just information if you want.) They should have a business partner who can work with you and may even give you a small discount if the purchase is over a certain amount. As for your actual question, that is outside my expertise, but I thought you should know about the above service. Best of luck!
  3. kastenbrust macrumors 68030


    Dec 26, 2008
    North Korea
    Rather than a Mac Pro why dont you look into a Mac Server rack? that should sort your needs better, and then you could purchase Mac Minis + Cheap Dell LCD screens for each mac mini for the staff to acess the server. That would save you a lot of money. iMacs are rather a lot for staff in a hotel to access a database. In addition i would advise the main site with the static IP to upgrade its ADSL package to a 12MB line as 202kbps isnt going to suffice if more than a couple of computers are accesing the central database.

    I assume your basically running this over a VPN?
  4. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    I hope that's not the internet you plan to run the server on... Anyways, have you considered professional webhosts?
  5. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    I think one reason why so many small/medium sized companies go with Microsoft is they really don't come into contact with Mac capable consultants/IT Professionals. For every 20 Windows IT Specialists, there may be one "MAC" Guy.

    I have been a consultant for twelve years. I originally focused on IT and even earned an MCSE certificate/and an MBA. Now, I consult small/medium sized businesses on everything from IT to management and leadership. Five years ago, I would have recommended going the Microsoft route to every business I came into contact with. A lot has changed since then... I have seen rooms full of Mac Minis as servers, xServer being used in fantastic ways, and Mac Pros being the champion of the term lowering "Total Cost of Ownership." I have learned from what I have seen, and that is that the Mac is truly an amazing technology that should be used by many more businesses. I often disagree with what Apple does, and I think its biggest failure is not capitalizing on the business market.

    I would recommend you find someone who can look at ALL of your IT needs, and determine a series of solutions and recommendations that all of the decision-makers can use to determine the right solution for your particular situation.

    Sorry to be vague, but I want to emphasize that no real consultant is going to tell you, from the information you have given, the "right" way to go about developing/designing your correct IT path (especially not on a Mac focused forum). If you really enjoy dealing with the Mac, and you are a party responsible for the decision, find a consultant with "Mac" experience.

    Best wishes.
  6. megamouse thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 7, 2008
    Thank you so much guys, been really busy at work building up the database. I even have to design new business logo/card/website etc. Guess it's part of excitement working with small business - you gotta do everything.

    I realise that the existing ADSL upload speed is not gonna support the server, and BT's web hosting package allows MySQL hosting. So, even I really want to play with a Xserver, I might have to leave it to BT's safe hand.

    Anyway, I will definitely talk to a Mac guy on regent street.

    Really appreciate guys, i thought this topic was going to sink to the bottom.

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