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    Server for HD pictures hosting associated to our website


    Hi,

    we have a webshop selling art photography, we are looking for solution for hosting HD pictures (50Mo) on a server separated from our web server (for security) in order for them to be accessible by our printing supplier when a client places an order on the site.

    We only need the server to be accessible by our webmaster (for uploding, managing the pictures) and our supplier (we are looking for a way for prestashop to send the supplier an email containing the link of the bought picture on the server). We need a good bandwidth so we can upload the pictures quickly and the supplier can download quickly.

    Can you please give us some advices on the best solution for this? Which type of server, of database?

    Thank you.
    Don't if this is the best forum for this: admin don't hesitate to move this elsewhere!
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    What is your budget, approximate order volume (a couple a day, dozens per day, hundreds per day, thousands per day), current number of HD pictures and approximate rate at which you add new HD pictures?

    Really you're looking for web hosting, not so much a database. You will probably want to go with either a dedicated server or a co-located server because your resource usage is going to be massively disk-spaced skewed. On a shared web host or a VPS the available packages usually balance all resources together (CPU, RAM, storage space, etc.), so to get a lot of storage space you end up paying for resources that you don't need in other areas.

    If you have someone who knows how to build and manage servers then co-location is your best bet because you'll be able to custom build your servers with large disk arrays and a relatively weak processor. If you don't, then look for high quality managed dedicated hosting (don't skimp on this because your business sounds like it depends on it).

    Before signing up with a web host ask them how much it costs to add new harddrives to your server. Make sure it's a reasonable cost and make sure they won't limit your expansion.

    The memory and processor in your server are not that important. What is important is your disk array. You should look for a host that offers you a hot swappable raid-5 or raid-6 array. This will allow you to expand easily with minimal downtime and minimal risk from drive crashes.

    For speed you should look for a server that offers at least 10Mbps in both directions. I recommend not getting an un-metered connection because speed is more important in your case and the quantity of data transferred will not be that large. A metered connection will allow you to get a faster connection for less. If you want faster you could look at 100Mbps connections, but of course be prepared to pay more.

    This should not be your only copy of the images though. You need an off-site backup as well. Even if that's just an external hard drive in your office that's fine.

    What I've described will probably run you around $500 / month depending on your exact configuration assuming you buy a managed server. If you have someone to manage the server for you then it will be less. If you co-locate your own server then it will be even less, although the initial setup cost will be much higher.
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    Originally Posted by E-Oreo
    What is your budget,
    Not sure about the budget, I have to check with the boss, but as a starting small business, I'd say around 100$ a month.

    approximate order volume
    a dozen per day is a good start.

    current number of HD pictures
    about 100

    and approximate rate at which you add new HD pictures
    we will add 10 pictures per week.

    Thank you for your answer. Indeed I need a lot of disk space. I will go for a dedicated server or a co-located server, as you advise, in order to avoid unnecessary other resources.
    I think I'll go for dedicated hosting because we don't have anyone able to build a server.

    Thanks for your tips about hard drives expansion, type of array, metered connection, off-site backup.

    Thank you very much for you precise and quick answer.
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    What I've described might be overkill for you right now then, it might be best for you to start with a VPS rather than a dedicated server because 5gb is well below the amount of space you'll get with most VPS's. You could start with a VPS, then migrate to a dedicated server once your disk space requirements grow significantly.

    Another option you might consider is Amazon S3 or Rackspace Cloud Files. They are basically just online storage services where you pay according to how much you use with almost no limits on the amount that you store. I'm not sure how fast they are, but I think they might work really well for your requirements assuming they are fast enough for you. You wouldn't need to worry about management at all. You'll need to keep a backup locally for sure, although these services do have pretty good reliability (much better than a single disk).

    For Cloud Files, it would cost you under $5/mo to store 10GB worth of pictures (~200), transfer 300 pictures per month out to the printer and add 40 pictures per month to the server. The price would increase by about 30-40 cents per month as you add pictures.
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    Yes indeed the VPS option may be well fitted for a start.

    Actually I was gonna ask you about thoses kind of websites, I didn't know about Amazon S3 or Rackspace Cloud Files, I am going have a look, it sounds a good solution too. Do you know about the pro solutions from Yousendit (they seem to offer large storage and fast transfer, but I am not with the security as our photo files must absolutely not be stolen)?

    With these solutions, do you think there is a way to integrate the uploading of a file to a page in the back-office of an e-commerce CMS (prestashop)...like a snippet of code or an API allowing to browse a file locally and send it to the server?


    Thank you again.

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