Running your own webinar business can be exciting, rewarding and challenging. The latter being of great concern if you are not prepared because it can cost you time, money and resources you otherwise could have not exhausted. So, a little understanding goes a long way.
I suggest to customer that there are basically two ways to go. I explain these options below.
A common, and basically the only method up until the spawning of the cloud, was dedicated servers. When considering a dedicated server most people picture their computer/pc. And, they are correct.
A dedicated server is a computer that is totally in your control with nothing else on it that would otherwise compete for resources, like CPU and RAM. These are very important to a successful webinar business.
A dedicated server is a good place to start, especially if you are just breaking into the business and you don’t have an existing customer-base to plug into your service. A dedicated server allows you to grow your business while having a firm monthly cost for your server. Dedicated servers allow you to know your monthly cost with no surprises. However, as your business grows you will need to consider adding additional servers that will provide resources like CPU and RAM to ensure successful webinars.
Adding additional servers as your business grows still allows you to know your budget requirements but time can be lost in the process. If you don’t own your own data center (and most of us don’t) then you have to submit your request to your hosting company for additional servers when you need them and then you have to configure them for clustering. It is the method once used by all webinar providers.
To start off you will need:
- 64 bit Linux server with CentOS 6.3
- the latest Apache
- the latest PHP
- no less than 8 Gigs of RAM
- a minimum of an Intel Xeon 3220-Quad Core [2.4GHz]
This is basic and will get the job done, for sure. If you have a healthy budget to work with then consider adding more RAM. Webinar systems love RAM.
Some people do not use cPanel but we require it for install. If your server does NOT meet these specifications then we CANNOT guarantee a successful install and further charges may apply depending on the time it takes to install, setup and configure the system.
Please note: do not try and cut corners and save money by purchasing a virtual machine or virtual server as it is sometimes referred to. As demonstrated on the right, a virtual machine is partitioned into blocks to allow multiple people to share the cost of a server but to keep their files and resources separated from each other. This is ok for small projects but you don’t want this type of set up for a webinar business.
Since cloud computing came about it has become an awesome resource for many businesses and applications. Likewise, webinar platforms do well in the cloud. Let me take a minute to give a crash course.
Picture your server in an environment where anyone around the world can connect to it. Nothing new there if you understand servers. But, with cloud hosting, it makes it possible for people from around the world to access your information from areas closer to them.
So, people from North America might access your information from servers in the US for example and people in Australia may access your information from servers in Australia. This dramatically improves lag time and synchronization during webinars. But that’s only part of it.
Likewise, as your business grows, it is much easier to add resources when needed. With the click of a mouse you can easily add servers (instances) at peak times and then easily remove them when not needed. This ensures resources are quickly available without waiting on hosting companies to configure and add them for you. It also ensures you are not spending money unnecessarily on dedicated servers that you don’t need.
Let me reiterate, this is only a crash course, in layman’s terms, how cloud hosting can benefit your business. You need to examine your own business model and determine what is best for you.