The Start Up Blog

Selecting a Server for Your Small Business

CloudServerEven the smallest business needs computers to survive. The question is what does your company need to survive and prosper. At a minimum, if you are more than a one person office, you need a server so your individual computers can be linked together. There are several ways to accomplish this.

Personal Computer vs Server

Servers and personal computers may look similar but they operate in very different ways. Personal computers are designed to support one user. PCs support advanced graphical user interfaces, word processing, spreadsheets and email software. They can also, if needed, function as a server. However, dedicated servers are different from PCs because they are created to support many users.  Servers let companies run a host of multi user applications including; calendars, databases and enterprise resource planning software.  They also offer a level of benefits that PCs cannot approach, including making it possible to collaborate and share data (documents, images and contacts) from one location. Servers also allow companies to automatically backup desktops and laptops and also set-up intranet systems.

Cloud:

One popular option to help businesses is the cloud. Services like Microsoft Windows Azure, Rackspace Cloud Hosting and Amazon Web Services all make it possible for small business to use the cloud. There are several major benefits for businesses which use the cloud. First, there is no IT staff to manage. These companies provide support when there is an issue with your server. Second, there is no need to invest in equipment. These companies provide hardware so there is no need to worry about software becoming obsolete.

Virtualization

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Virtualization is the process by which a virtual machine is created to act like a like a real computer with an operating system. This makes it possible for one computer to act like many computers at the same time. Hypervision software lets users operate the various virtual machines on the server.

The biggest benefit of having multiple virtual machines is potential to use more of your hardware’s capabilities.  Servers are designed to support peak loads not average loads.  This means they typically operate between 1-15% of their full capacity. Virtualization makes it possible to increase the amount of the server being used any given moment. Prior to virtualization companies would need to dedicate one machine to email, one machine for office intranet, etc. Now it is possible to perform all those operation using one computer. This means that a server can operate at 60-80%. Using one (or fewer) servers to perform the same function as many servers reduces cost on power and cooling as well as reduce the amount of physical space being used.

Small vs Large server

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Small servers make it possible for a business to share files and automate system backups. Small servers can also support limited remote access to a small number of employees personal computers.

Large servers support all the same features of a small server and also offer several more features. Large servers support email/printer software for an office, help manage complex databases and support large storage requirements.

Check in later for part two of this article

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2 Comments

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Mike Hartman 03-06-2013, 10:49

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