How to Choose a Server for your Small Business
It’s a good sign that your small business is growing when you decide it’s time to purchase a server. Don’t let this computing choice slow down your growth. Find the server that will meet your needs and gives you room to grow into it.
What a Server Does For You
Your server provides a way to store and share data, print, send email, and share various databases to support your business. It is a way for you and your staff to share resources and collaborate on projects. Unlike a desktop computer, your server runs several applications on it, frequently unattended. Once configured for your business, there may be little to do but monitor it and perform routine maintenance activities.
Selecting the right server requires knowing what you will be doing with it. For example, if you just want to store and backup files, your needs are different than a company that has many databases to access. Also consider how reliable your server must be. For example, if your business stands to lose thousands of dollars each hour the server is down, you’ll want to invest in maximum reliability.
Server Types to Choose From
Depending on what you want to do with the server, you could buy one that is focused on a single function, such as email or file storage. If it will be used for several business functions, a more powerful server capable of doing multiple tasks is needed.
A tower server is the typical entry point for a small business. Think of this as a “souped up” desktop computer. They can be set on a desk or table or installed in a rack. For a business that is experiencing rapid growth and will need more servers in the near future, a blade server is preferred. These are installed in a special rack and can be upgraded easily to support more servers.
Memory and Storage
Get more memory and storage than you think you may need and grow into it. Don’t suffer with slow response and shuffling files to make room for more when the server should make life easier for you and your staff. Start out with 4GB to 8GB of memory and a minimum of 500GB of storage. Disk drives are easy to add to a server, or run in standalone enclosures.
The Cloud Can Affect Your Choice
Small businesses are using the cloud as an alternative to onsite servers and storage. If your business is using the cloud for any functions, then your requirements for a server will be reduced. For example, if you’re using cloud-based CRM and bookkeeping systems, you will need far less capacity in a server, perhaps only to store a few files.