Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Q/ What makes I-BN different from AWS or Rackspace? 

A/ I-BN has been providing hosting since 1999 and specializes in the unique requirements for business management, accounting or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software for small to mid-size (SMB) companies. Our cloud was designed specifically for hosting SMB ERP with equipment, supporting applications and business processes designed for our target market. This specialization allows us to not only understand, but anticipate client needs and provide a premier service experience.

Q/ How long has I-Business Network been providing Cloud Services?

A/ I-BN began hosting in 1999 and was the first company authorized to host Sage Software (MAS 90) in a monthly payment format. We were also the first authorized hosting partners for Advanced Software (2000) and SAP Business One (2003) in North America.

Q/ Is the I-BN Cloud a “true” cloud? 

A/ Many companies have different definitions of cloud. When people refer to "true" cloud they usually refer to a browser based application. The I-BN Cloud supports an HTML 5 client that works with a small plugin on your local device including Windows, Apple and Google Chrome devices. I-BN also provides SAP Business One which has a “true” cloud client.

Q/ Does I-Business Network Support third party applications?

A/ I-BN supports a wide variety of third party applications and often can replace your in-house servers and desktops with a full outsourced solution. All the end user needs is a device able to access the Internet to use our cloud. For our ERP products, I-BN supports all certified third party applications as well as client specific enhancements.

Q/ What is the difference between private and public clouds? 

A/ A private cloud is a collection of one or more virtual servers dedicated to a single customer. Private clouds are the most customizable, allowing a company to utilize the infrastructure to meet their specific requirements.

A public cloud offers a standard solution offered to a homogeneous group of customers. Public clouds are typically single application or application suites designed for a broader audience with economies of scale to lower the end user cost. Office 365 is a great example of a public cloud. Each customer gets their own private space in the cloud, but many customers use that same infrastructure. I-BN currently offers both private and public clouds for SAP Business One.

Licensing

Q/ How does ERP licensing work on the I-BN Cloud? 

A/ I-BN provides cloud services for a large number of Sage, Microsoft and SAP Partners and supports a variety of licensing models. Many customers come to I-BN already owning their ERP systems and use our cloud as an outsourced services platform. Customers new to their application can buy or lease perpetual licenses or subscribe to software as a service.

Q/ Can I use my own Microsoft licenses in the I-BN Cloud? 

A/ I-BN is an authorized cloud service provider for Microsoft and must follow rules set by Microsoft. I-BN has a special License Mobility clause as part of its Microsoft Service Provider Licenses Agreement (SPLA). License Mobility allows organizations that have a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement with License Mobility rights to use those licenses in our cloud. Microsoft does not allow I-BN to use customer licenses in our cloud if they were purchased through the Microsoft open license program.

Security & Data

Q/ Is the I-BN Cloud secure? 

A/ The I-BN Cloud was designed with security as our first and top priority. I-BN provides standard multilayered security in both transmission and storage of the data. I-BN has historically maintained the highest security track record in our market and is certified by SAP for hosting services. Because internal employees are the #1 source of data breaches, our audit requirements insist that all customers must comply with high security standards. For example, I-BN only supports named users who are required to maintain complex passwords which expire every 90 days.

Q/ Where is your data center and what are its capabilities? 

A/ The data center is the core of any hosting service. What are the power systems, Internet connections, fire suppression and detection systems? Does it have 24 hour security? Consider visiting the data center or take a virtual tour.

Q/ What are the data ownership and usage policies at I-BN? 

A/ Customers retain ownership of any data stored on the I-BN Cloud. I-BN provides unfettered access to the data at all times and has no ownership or usage rights to data stored in our cloud. Customers maintain ownership of application security and access rights and I-BN will not access any data without express permission from the customer. No customer data is ever used for marketing or other purposes by I-BN.

What is your backup policy? 

I-BN provides a standard backup service which currently includes 10 days of server images including both programs and backups. These backups are replicated nightly so we can not only restore data to a point in time, but your server image to a point in time.

Q/ What happens in the event of a server crash? 

A/  I-BN utilizes Dell hardware with redundant and hot swappable parts to ensure reliability. In our 16+ years of service we have consistently exceeded 99.9% uptime. Other than our SAP HANA devices, all of our application servers are virtual servers running on pools of physical infrastructure further reducing the risk of hardware failure. Typically a “server crash” is caused by something in the application. Because our staff is experienced with the applications we host, recovery time is drastically reduced.

Q/ Can you use my old or newly purchased servers? 

A/ I-BN offers a managed service in public, hybrid and private clouds. Cloud computing refers to clusters of machine capacity (CPU, RAM and storage) that are scalable. As a result, we have standardized on specific, high capacity equipment and do not offer data center rental.

Q/ Does the monthly pricing include unlimited data usage? 

A/ I-BN utilizes Citrix for rich client hosting to minimize the amount of bandwidth and data transfer required. Our standard user bundle includes unlimited data usage for our core applications. If you have external integrations to our cloud, we include one integration method in our standard package. See integrations below.

Q/ Where is my ERP data stored? Can I access it offline? 

A/ The ERP database is stored in high performing storage arrays which allow us to efficiently replicate your data offsite. For certain applications, such as Point of Sale, offline synchronization is performed. For more information on offline synchronization, please contact us.

Integrations

Q/ What standard integrations does I-BN Offer? 

A/ I-BN offers a broad array of standard integrations for all its ERP packages. These include: 2SimpliConnect Magento or Shopify to Sage or SAP, Avalara Sales Tax, Concur, EDI, Various Warehouse Management systems, FedEx, UPS, etc. shipping and Remote location printing

Custom integrations are also available in our environment. One integration method is included in our standard service offerings and additional integrations are typically offered at a fixed fee per month.

Q/ How does I-BN work with add-ons for its ERP offerings? 

A/ ERP add-ons will work the same as they do in an on-premises environment.

Q/ Will Microsoft Outlook integrate with ERP in the Cloud? 

A/ Yes, I-BN can provide Office 365 for server based integration or provide a hosted Outlook client when applications require an Outlook based integration. Because I-BN values security in the cloud, we have created specific procedures when mail is hosted in our environment to protect your ERP data from viruses and other external threats.

Q/ Will I be able to print to my local or network printer? 

A/ Yes, both locally attached or network printers are supported. I-BN also provides a remote printing service to print to locations not connected to your local computer.

Q/ Can you use Microsoft Office with I-BN Hosted applications?

A/ Yes, I-BN includes some components of the Microsoft Office in the standard user fees and can provide any Microsoft applications in our hosted environment.

Q/ Will I be able to upload files from my computer? 

A/ Absolutely, I-BN maps your local hard drive and network drives as well as provides you a shared data repository in our cloud. Additionally, I-BN offers Citrix Sharefile service for secure large data transfer or mapped cloud drives.

Implementation

Q/ How long will it take to setup my environment in the I-BN Cloud? 

A/ The answer depends upon the applications to be hosted and whether you are:

  1. Migrating from on-premises to the cloud or you are starting the implementation of a new ERP system.
  2. Moving into a private or public cloud.
  3. Hosting a single application or outsourcing your entire desktop. In all circumstances, I-BN can have an environment provisioned, applications installed and testing of component parts within 72 hours of contracting. Going “live” will depend on your timetable of testing and transition.

Q/ How do I migrate from on-premises to the I-BN Cloud? 

A/ For a supported application, I-BN provisions a server to your exact application version and service pack or patch level for a straight migration so we can simply restore your database into our fully tested environment. However, many customers use the cloud as a platform for upgrade. In such cases, I-BN may provision one or more environments to support your migration and upgrade. The choice is always yours.

Q/ Once I move to the cloud, can I ever go back to on-premises? 

A/ Of course!! You own your data. I-BN has a 90 day initial commitment period and then provides our services on a month to month basis. If you are ever dissatisfied with our service, we will provide assistance to move you back on-premises or to an alternate cloud. Our short term commitment provides confidence to you and motivation to our team to provide the highest levels of service in the industry.

Q/ Who is responsible for server updates, patching, operating system errors/issues, etc.?

A/ I-BN provides all technical infrastructure support services which is included with the service. This would not include software application support.

Q/ Does I-BN perform all implementations in its cloud? 

A/ Absolutely not. I-BN does perform all initial installation of core ERP applications in private clouds to provide consistency and reliability of service. As part of the installation process we setup user and administrator profiles so the customer or its designated agent(s) can manage their applications and implementations. In public cloud environments, I-BN will install the applications and will provision your company databases (production and test are provided in standard package) from a blank database, a template, or restore the databases from a backup. Implementation services is performed by the customer or designated agent(s).

Q/ What features or functionality do I lose in the cloud? 

A/ At I-BN we believe that our cloud is better than an on-premises installation for many reasons. In addition to anytime, anywhere access from any device, I-BN utilizes the latest hardware on a 24-36 month replacement cycle. Additionally, we provide utilities that are custom tailored to keep your applications up and running smoothly in our cloud based upon our deep application experience.

Pricing

Q/ How much does this cloud offering cost? 

A/ I-BN bundles our service offering into a price per user per month. The price will vary based upon the base application(s) hosted and the number of users in a private cloud, or the features selected in one of our public clouds.

In private clouds we effectively have a three user minimum to meet a base monthly cost for the virtual servers and licenses utilized in our offering. As the number of users increase, your cost per user decreases. Some applications such as SAP Business One version 9.2 and Sage CRM offer browser based user access.

Q/ Why is your pricing so different than Amazon or Rackspace? 

A/ Amazon and Rackspace are infrastructure providers where I-Business Network is an Application Service Provider. Infrastructure providers typically have a base price for servers with an operating system and little else. Most small businesses will then need a consultant to figure out what enhancements are needed and craft the complete solution to come to a total cost of operations.

As a one stop shop, I-BN has a standard bundle of licenses necessary for the application already included in our monthly user fees. We don’t just provide the infrastructure we provide everything needed to run your application in our cloud.

What does your hosting price include?

Our all-inclusive price per user per month includes everything needed for the application(s) being hosted including:

  • Operating systems such as Windows or Suse Linux
  • Databases such as Microsoft SQL or SAP HANA
  • Server utilities such as anti-virus, backup, data replication, server monitoring
  • End user productivity tools such as Word and Excel

The bundle varies by application and are completely outlined in your proposal.

Support

Q/ What is included in I-BN Cloud Support? 

A/ Cloud support includes unlimited technical infrastructure support. Infrastructure support refers to the physical hosting environment, operating system and connecting to the I-BN Cloud.

I-BN provides private cloud hosted customers a 30 day development environment (one time per year) for upgrades, patches, development, or for any purpose at no charge. Extensions are available for standard infrastructure service rates. I-BN will install applications or provide a duplicate image of the server as part of this standard benefit. Application support such as, but not limited to, error messages within the software are not included in the unlimited infrastructure support. I-BN works with the partner community to provide additional comprehensive service packages which may include application support.

Public cloud customers receive application upgrade services as part of the infrastructure service. Application upgrades are provided to all customers within a public cloud service unit on a scheduled basis with a minimum of 30 days notice. Emergency application support may be required as directed by the application publisher.

Q/ Can I add or reduce the number of users? 

A/ Although many software companies have long term contracts for their subscription software, I-BN offers month to month pricing for the hosting component after your initial 90 day commitment. At any time you can increase or decrease the number of users for the subsequent month by having your authorized personnel contact our Cloud Support team.

SAP Business One HANA - FAQ

Q/ Is the SAP Business One HANA version available in the I-BN cloud? 

A/ Yes, the HANA version is available in public or private clouds at I-BN. I-BN currently has a standard public cloud and now have a distribution specific version for HANA with the new version 9.2 functionality!.

Q/ What is SAP HANA and why would I chose HANA over Microsoft SQL? 

A/ SAP HANA is a revolutionary in-memory computing platform that offers superior performance for reporting, complex calculation and greater scalability for SAP Business One than the version for Microsoft SQL Server. SAP has also developed reporting features and “extreme applications” for HANA that were not possible in a standard relational database.

Q/ How is the SAP Business One HANA Version different at I-BN from that of the AWS cloud? 

A/ AWS provides virtual HANA servers where I-BN uses Certified HANA Appliances. Although SAP HANA is certified for use on VMWare, the performance is not as good and the solution is not as scalable at the current time. Because HANA runs in memory, the virtualization layer only consumes resources without providing the same benefits as in standard application environments. Because I-BN has economies of scale for the virtual components and purchasing power with Dell for the HANA appliances, I-BN is the most cost effective method for deploying SAP Business One powered by HANA at almost any scale.

Q/ What are the minimum number of SAP Business One HANA version user licenses for an I-BN cloud deployment? 

A/ I-BN has public cloud customers with a single user!

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