BusinessNovember 2014

Choosing a Server for Small Business

JoeMany start-ups and small businesses store and share their business data across a handful of PCs. Although this kind of ad-hoc system is enough for a while, it’s inefficient, unwieldy, and unsecure. The best way to maximize the availability and security of your business data is to consolidate it onto a server.”

Many factors such as availability, affordability, brand, os, physical size, scalability and remote support will affect the choice of server. Three major considerations for buying the server are as below.

1. Server type:
The most basic ones are tower servers. They look like workstation-and typically used by businesses with 25 or fewer employees. The advantages are easier cooling, low component density and scalability.

2. Hardware configuration:
A server uses enhanced hardware features compared to desktop computer such as: Multiple multi-core processors, Faster memory options, Multiple hard drives, Specialized networking cards , and redundant Power Supply.

Processor and Memory: For a basic server, a good processor, such as an Intel Core or AMD A or FX series is adequate, though the most powerful servers are driven by ‘server grade’ processors such as the Intel Xeon or AMD Opteron. More memory is good for better performance; 16GB is not a bad place to start.

Server storage: Since you will be storing all your business programs and data using the server, at least minimum of 2 TB is recommended for a start. Servers are built to take multiple hard drives to cater for future growth in data. When it comes to hard drives, SATA drives are good for normal operations and for higher performance SCSI or SAS drives are available. Also, for additional data protection, hard disks can be configured in RAID1, 5, 6 and 10. It is essential that your server has a reliable data backup capability.

Right ports for your server: All servers will come with at least one network port and USB 2.0 ports or 3.0 ports. If you’re going to back up a lot of data to an external drive, look for an eSATA port – these can offer 6Gbps bandwidth considerably speeding up backup tasks.

Network Attached Storage as an alternative to a server: Network Attached Storage or NAS, is an external hard drive with a network interface. The latest versions of NAS come with relatively sophisticated server software and offer functionality of heavy-duty servers at a fraction of the cost.

3. Choosing an operating system for your server: Windows and Linux
Many small business servers run a Windows operating system. Linux is extremely capable and essentially free software, and is growing its presence in the business sphere. Windows can run on a number of hardware from different vendors. Most businesses seem to consider Windows Server 2012 standard or essential.
Cloud computing is an alternative to in house server (e.g. office 365, sky drive, ). Virtualization reduces the physical server requirements and offer efficiency.

If all of this sounds baffling, then there are professionals available at Hallmark Computer who can help you. We are just a phone call away.

Mr.Joe Aung
Server Specialist
and Team Leader