[ic] CSP (Commerce Solutions Provider)

Brian Bisaillon bbisaillon@pmail.net
Mon, 5 Feb 2001 21:19:42 -0500

Me and some friends were thinking on setting up a business here in Canada.
We'll be hosting local (or remote) businesses' websites on our servers. We
are probably going to go with a High Speed DSL solution (equivalent to a
fractional T1) from Bell. We would get 32 static ips, DNS, a Cisco router,
etc. with that. It's only going to cost us just less than 1/3 of the cost of
a full T1 in this area (here it costs 2200$/month canadian). We as students
just finishing up at college don't want to spend too much but we would
really like to provide more than just a simple website for local (or remote)
businesses. We want to provide some EBusiness/ECommerce solutions as well.
I've been searching and searching for hours and days looking for cheap
solutions or some way to implement this. I came across some link on the
Internet that pointed me to Red Hat's site and I read about Interbase. I was
amazed! I recently made my own Linux distribution that will basically just
run purely as a server. I'm going to compile the Interbase code on it and
see what it can do. I already have the latest versions of Apache, MySQL,
OpenSSL and PHP installed and working on my distribution. I compiled them
from scratch. I also have the latest version of Perl sitting on my system
here. I haven't programmed in Perl before but I've done stuff in various
other programming languages. Basically, small useful utilities I coded. The
biggest thing I probably coded was my own chat server (very basic one but it
didn't support message relaying yet or a database system) in Erlang. I'm not
in college to learn programming. I pretty much do it on my own. I'm in my
3rd year of Computer Network Technology and after this I'll have two
diplomas come April/2001. Anyways, back on topic. I wanted to know if any
other sites are using Interchange right now? How stable is it? What are some
things I should consider when setting this up? I suppose I'll find a lot of
answers in the documentation when I read it and set it up tomorrow. However,
I'm interested in knowing how stable this is and if it's worthit for us to
go ahead with this. The best part is that this software is FREE and I mean
we are college students that don't have a whole lot of money. Therefore, if
we can set this thing up on our Linux servers it'd be great for us! Plus,
any outside customers on the Internet such as U.S. customers would benefit
from our services because to U.S. customers, canadian pricing is much
cheaper. For example, if I roll out some services for say 24.95$/mth + GST
(7%) it would cost U.S. customers peanuts. We'd be raking in the cash as
well once we get a good customer base. We are planning on providing fault
tolerance using RAID and we're going to talk to Bell about fault tolerance
involving the routers. We still have a lot of background work to do on legal
issues that might be involved with our business. However, if we can get this
thing off the ground we'll definitely be sitting pretty! If Interchange is
going to be rolled out on a large scale (maybe it's already really popular
but I'm not sure) then I don't see why I wouldn't want to get more in depth
training on it unless of course I can figure this stuff out on my own.

Basically, do you all think this is a good idea? We have all the machines
already, we have the operating system and the software (including
Interchange), we'd get bandwidth provided by Bell for a reasonable cost
(449$/mth canadian) and all we'd really have to worry about is Marketing
etc. However, in this city no one has done what we plan to do. We can really
get the ball rolling and really compete effectively with local businesses
here. Most businesses here are providing dial-up accounts etc. and Bell is
charging them an arm and a leg for reselling bandwidth. We decided if you
can't compete with Bell run with them and the result would be much cheaper.
We will be running this out of my friend's home as well. He has a bunch of
security setup there and all we really need now is some UPS' and make sure
that everything is insured. As for important data we'll be backing it up and
putting it in a safe place (perhaps a safe or something? maybe even look
into some security service). For example, if our server went down we don't
want to lose all of the financial information related to the businesses we
host otherwise we'd be in big trouble. Anyways, you can sort of see what
we've been thinking of here. We were also thinking on establishing our
customer base first (and that won't be a problem because we already have
people waiting for us to get up and running! they're eager!) and of course
on the Internet we can also establish an international clientele.

All in all, if anyone on this list can provide me with more information to
help me along please do so. I'm kinda fuzzy on the whole digital certificate
thing too! I guess we'd have to signup for a digital certificate with some
sort of service? Also, I was thinking about SSL and all the services that
currently don't support it and I was thinking of using stunnel to pipe my
services through it for more security. Is that also a good idea? I know it's
not related to Interchange but I guess it could be.

Thank you in advance all for your replies! I'm sure I'll get some...