Many organizations don’t realize that their processes and technology are having a negative impact on business operations until they start to grow. For example, manual data sharing practices involving email and USB sticks may have been adequate for a while, but the inefficiency and errors that often occur become magnified with growth. Operational bottlenecks caused by these and other issues are often best solved by technology investments.
At some point, it may make sense to simplify data access and management by investing in a server, which acts as a central hub from which IT services can be accessed by multiple users. There are four basic physical form factors of servers:
- A tower server is a standalone system that resembles a large desktop computer. It is generally the least expensive of the full-power systems but requires more space than other server setups, especially when more towers added.
- A rack-mounted server is installed on a mounting system that can hold multiple servers and other technology, including network and storage equipment, in a relatively small space. It is an efficient option for organizations that anticipate the need to add more equipment.
- A blade server is designed to fit into a chassis that holds multiple blades in a compact configuration. It requires more cooling than a rack server and tends to be more expensive.
- Micro servers are generally easy deploy and maintain, and come with preinstalled software, such as an operating system and email application. However, they tend to have less processing power, storage capacity and support than other servers.
The most important thing to consider in choosing a server is how it will be used. Do you need seamless file and data sharing? Does the server need to support email, customer relationship management and accounting systems? Do users need to be able to remotely connect to the server? What operating system do you plan to run? Each server function will require a certain amount of processing power, memory and storage. Account for what you need now, and what you expect to need five years from now.
For example, suppose a smaller business with fewer than 20 users is mainly looking for a way to share files. In this case, a network-attached storage (NAS) device rather than a dedicated file server might make sense. However, a file server would be the better choice for a larger organization that requires more advanced functionality. We’ll discuss these options in more detail in a future post.
A server is a significant investment that requires careful consideration and a strategic approach. Without alignment between business need and server capabilities, you risk overpaying for features and capabilities you don’t need, or missing out on the features and capabilities you do need. You could also end up exacerbating the operational bottlenecks that you were trying to eliminate.
That’s why it’s important to work closely with a technology partner who can assess your needs while considering factors such as availability and scalability. If you think it might be time for your organization to invest in server technology, let SSD help you determine what configuration makes the most sense, now and in the future.