This is trivial.
Set up your DNS:
www.yourdomain.com - IP address in California
ftp.yourdomain.com - IP address in California
vpn.yourdomain.com - IP address in Illinois
ichat.yourdomain.com - IP address in Illinois
See, It's just DNS - setup your DNS to give each service its own hostname, with an address that maps to the appropriate location. There's no relationship between DNS/hostnames and physical location. Unless I'm missing something...?
I'm not sure what you're saying... these are not subdomains. They are simple hostnames within the 'yourdomain.com' domain.
A subdomain would be something like 'california.mydomain.com' where you could have hostnames such as 'www.california.subdomain.com', 'ftp.california.subdomain.com', etc.
If you're saying you don't even want to use hostnames, well, then, yes you have a problem. You can't have specific services on the same hostname go to two different places. The only thing you might be able to do is have all the traffic to go one site and proxy it, or route it over some internal network to the other site, but that adds a layer of complexity that you might not want to deal with.
or route it over some internal network to the other site, but that adds a layer of complexity that you might not want to deal with.
I am setting up two servers as well, but both will be in the same office, and I was thinking of doing the latter: having one box on the internet and the other internal, and have them be able to talk and see each other with things like Open Directory... but now I am starting to think that's not so smart as it appears to me Lion is DNS driven. But have you heard of folks doing this? And if so, can I get that blueprint ?
I'm not sure why you think this setup is a) difficult, or b) relates to the original post. It seems like a completely different setup to me... in fact it just sounds like a perfectly normal situation with multiple servers in a LAN, only some of which are exposed to external traffic. What do you think is difficult about that?