I have numerous data analysis programs written in VB4/5 that I would like to put on a server for server-based data analysis. It would require uploading data files from the client (through a browser), then performing data analysis based on user requirements, then downloading data and generating plots for paper-based plotting. My questions is: what are the limitations if I try to use an ISP (such as Hiway.com), or must I use a dedicated II server?
A lot depends on the flexibility of the Internet Service Provider (ISP). If you get broad enough access to the ISP's system you should be able to install and register your components. The ISP may want to run your applications in a separate memory space just in case they crash. That precaution would avoid bringing down the rest of their Web sites.
One solution, which is half-way between running on the ISP's common server and setting up your own Web server, would be to co-locate. That way, you'd have a dedicated server at the ISP's site. You wouldn't need to worry about the hassle of connecting to the Internet, and you would have greater control of the machine. Also, if you co-locate, the ISP wouldn't have to worry about the security and integrity of the remainder of their system.