A Small Business Guide to Small Business Servers

A business server can be a wise thing for a company to purchase. Instead of relying on others, you have the power to utilise your own server and all that goes with it. Here’s a good guide on the subject.

Server Basics

While small server may look quite similar to a high-end desktop computer, the machines are designed for really different tasks. A desktop computer is designed for an individual who needs a user-friendly system to run desktop applications – say, a spreadsheet, a word processor, an web browser or an e-mail client. A server on the other hand, runs a specialized operating system which is designed to support a large quantity of users. It’s capable of running multiuser applications such as messaging, print and email servers; shared calendar applications, databases, as well as customer relationship management and resource planning software.

Servers can also make it very easy for employees to share data with one another and collaborate through other means, since it works as a central repository for images, contacts, documents and other important files. It is capable of hosting a company intranet, which allows you to share information with employees in a quick, inexpensive way. Just set yourself up a virtual private network, and you as well as any employee will be able to remotely access data from anywhere with internet access. Servers can also automatically back up data in laptop and desktop systems, so you don’t run the risk of accidentally losing important data should one of the machine fail or even get lost or stolen via a breach like this. Servers are made to be secure, reliable, and fault-tolerant, featuring a variety of redundant storage choices. If you believe your business is going to expand eventually, you can pick one that’s scalable, so it’ll grow with you.

If you’re operating a small to medium sized business, the question is not “Do I need a server” – it’s “What sort of server do I need”. Before getting into that, of course, we need to address the number one alternative to keeping an on-site server, which is getting one from the cloud.

The Cloud Alternative

Services like Amazon Web Services, Rackspace Cloud Hosting and Microsoft’s Windows Azure offer a wide array of benefits. For example, they do not require a significant capital outlay, and you don’t need an IT staff in order to manage the server. You don’t have to worry that your software or equipment will become obsolete or outdated, either. At a time when business would rely on big-iron mainframes, this sort of strategy was named “time sharing”. The cloud is burdened with many limitations similar to that model’s.

Choosing A Server For Your Small Business

The reliability and stability of the service provider you pick is your first concern, and the most important one. If that firm experiences a disaster or goes belly-up, your business could potentially grind to a halt. You could even lose access to all your data, temporarily or permanently. If you lose your Internet connection for a while, you’ll also be cut off from data and applications, and your employees will be unable to share files. You would practically have no hope of managing your business until the connection is restored. If your business uses large files, and you don’t have a fast broadband connection, your productivity will definitely suffer.

Storing data on equipment outside your control brings up security and privacy concerns, too. And while you’re not directly paying for ongoing maintenance, an IT staff, and investments in new equipment, you’re indirectly incurring a share of the costs, reflected in the fees you pay to the provider. Keep in mind that the cloud isn’t a cure-all.

Pick The Right Server For Your Needs

Big names in the market are Fujitsu, Dell, IBM, HP, Oracle and Lenovo. Getting the right server will depend on various factors – particularly on the sort of application you’re intending to run on it. If you need simple things such as automated client backup, file sharing, and light-duty PC remote access (for around ten or fewer), go for a NAS or a Windows Home Server Machine. You could go for Netgear, HP, Seagate, Synology or QNAP, the biggest players in this particular arena.

If you work in a heavier industry then you should consider purchasing a heavy duty server. Industrial servers are ideal if you think your server may have a tougher time. Team this up with industrial laptops and displays like here and you’re doubling up against adversity.

If you have a larger business with over ten employees that use computers, and you need to operate a print or e-mail server, manage complex databases or run more sophisticated applications such as CRM or ERP, if you require lots of storage or large-scale capabilities for virtualization, you’ll need a more robust option such as a rack, blade, or tower server.

Topics: Business Development and Getting Started
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