In this tutorial we will clarify key points that will help you to determine what type of server is the best solution for small business and give a price range for typical server models.
Although a small server can’t be different from the modern desktop computer, both machines are designed for completely different tasks. Desktop is designed for use by one person, who needs a friendly operating system for desktop applications such as a word processing, accounting software, email client and web browser. On the server a special server operating system is installed, which provides more functionality for users. It is tuned to work of multi-user applications such as mail, messaging, print servers, services for event planning, database, ERP and CRM systems.
In addition, the server allows your employees to share information and interact with each other. It act as a central repository for all your documents, pictures, contacts and other important files. It can be placed on Intranet portal and because of that employees can quickly share information without delay. After the VPN gateway installed, your employees and you will be able to have remote access to information stored on the server. You can do it from anywhere in the world where the internet connection exist. In addition, the server can automatically make a backup of user data, so you never lose important information if one of the computers fails or you lose it. If you plan to expand your business, choose the server that can be scaled and which will grow with your business.
Functional purpose of the server
Servers originally configured by the manufacturer taking into account the characteristics of the resources needed to perform a specific range of tasks:
- Database Server (storage and processing of large amounts of information, network access to the data)
- File Server (storage and organization of network access to shared files and folders)
- Application Server (organization simultaneous access by multiple users to a resource-intensive application)
- Mail server (the server for the organization of corporate e-mail) Web-server (server hosting or providing access to a wide range of data users over the Internet)
Cloud Server Solutions
One of the most popular of today options — location of servers in the cloud. Services like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google Cloud Hosting can offer some advantages:
- Do not requires serious investment and recruitment IT professionals to manage the server
- You cannot worry about the hardware and software, which will eventually become obsolete and go out of order
But do not forget about the disadvantages:
- The service provider may go bankrupt, so there is a risk of temporarily or permanently lose access to all your data
- If there is no access to the Internet, you will cut off from your applications and data
- If your company has a slow internet connection, your employees use large files, the performance drops significantly
- Storing information on the equipment, which is located outside of your direct control, focuses on the issue of privacy and security
It is necessary to remember, that you don’t pay for IT service and for maintenance of equipment, and not directly invest in the purchase of new equipment — you pay only the cloud service provider. In some cases these costs will be greater than the costs for purchasing own server.
Popular Types of Small Business Server
In case if:
- Your company has more than 10 employees that using computers
- Your employees need to use e-mail or print server
- You are planning to work with complex database or to work in the specialized server applications (such as ERP or CRM)
- You have requirements for large data storage or if you need opportunities for large-scale virtualization
In this case, you’d better buy one of the following types of servers:
- Rack Servers
Tower type servers can be easily confused with an ordinary computer. They can be installed on the floor, on a table or mount in a rack after small changes. Tower Servers quieter that other types of server equipment. They don’t require powerful fans for cooling. Most popular tower servers with a productive processor, lots of RAM and hard disk drives can even be used for virtualization.
- Hot swap capabilities
- Advanced remote management functionality
- Bad scalability
In case you need more than one server in the future, consider purchasing rack-mounted servers. This type of server has a standard width (suitable for 19-inch rack) and standard height (multiple of 1.75 inches or 1 unit, 42 standard rack units in height). Rack servers can accommodate a relatively small area, typically they have a system of cables needed for the connection.
Rack servers on the hardware equipment does not differ from many tower servers: they are equipped with sockets for multiple processors, large number of slots for RAM and more space to store data. Rack systems are highly scalable. By purchasing a rack, you don’t need any additional space on the floor for the installation of additional servers as long as the rack is filled.
Rack servers need more active cooling than the servers with on-floor design because they work in close proximity to each other. Coolers in these servers can be quite loud, climate control system is required to cool the entire rack. For this reason, many companies prefer to set rack servers in a specially equipped room.
- High performance and reliability
- High noise level
The main difference between rack servers and blades is that the last one is installed in chassis. Adding a new server is as simple as inserting a new blade in the chassis. You can install network components such as Ethernet-switches, firewalls and load balancers, along with servers, all mounted in a rack. Since the chassis provides power, cooling, input-output and operation for all components inside the chassis, you will not have to look for new cables when you have to add new server. Blade servers are compact and can use more computing resources than any other server ecosystem. But the cost of investment is much higher, because you will need to purchase additional infrastructure.
Blade servers have their drawbacks. Usually they provide a few opportunities for expansion, because they are not equipped with such a large number of PCIe slots and baskets for the drives as Tower-servers or Rackmount. On the other hand, companies that are deploying blade servers, usually have already installed system for storing data, to ensure the correct work of the blade system (in some blade enclosures can be placed SAN directly with the servers). As you may guess, the location of all of these components in such close proximity to each other generates a lot of heat. Blade systems, as well as rack-mounted servers, require active cooling.
- High performance
- High initial cost for the purchase of equipment and its further maintenance
So, we looked at various options for servers that can be purchased by your company. The spread is very large, so you should follow this:
- Determine the tasks that will decide the server;
- Evaluate the conditions of use of the server (number of employees, location of the server installation and expected applications);
- Identify the characteristics of the server should have;
- Compare prices on new equipment and second hand.