4 Steps on how to choose a server

A server can either help your business to become more efficient or be a potential bottleneck. Here’s how to choose a server and make sure you have access to enough storage (no more traffic jams) without overpaying.

1. What do you need a server for?

The intended use is what matters most. Knowing what you need and why will help you avoid overpaying or purchasing hardware that falls short of your expectations.

Email or exchange servers require moderately powerful systems with server-grade processors for stability and reliability. Choose a mid-range option with room for several storage drives and a quad-core processor.

File server options vary according to the scale of your business. If you’re a small business with fewer than 20 users, you can choose a smaller option, called networked attached storage to save on cost. If you’re a larger business or you need automatic backup and VPN access, a file server is what you need.

Virtualisation is for businesses that already have several servers and want to reduce their server management and maintenance requirements. It can offer fantastic efficiency savings for businesses with multiple physical machines, but for many small businesses it’s overkill—a file server or exchange server will do the trick.

2. Consider the cloud

It’s worth asking yourself whether your business really needs a server in your actual office. If you’re short on space or you don’t have much in the way of IT infrastructure, the cloud could be your best option. For expanding companies with straightforward IT needs, it’s affordable, flexible and takes up no space at all.

3. Build or buy

There are some limitations to what you can do with cloud-based servers. If you have more complex requirements and decide the cloud can’t meet your needs, you need to either buy a pre-built server, or have one tailor made for your business. Buying a server off the shelf can be a great value option, even though their upfront costs may be higher: you get product support, bundled software, and a warranty. A custom build gives you more configurability and a greater ability to resolve issues in-house; but it can also lead to over diversification and you won’t have any support from the manufacturer.

4. Choose your operating system

If you’ve selected a prebuilt server, you’ll need to buy your software separately. Most businesses choose a Windows Server, but a Linux distribution is also worth investigating. It really does depend on your business, so do your research – or ask an expert for advice.

If you or your business is thinking about investing in new hardware, you can ask an expert for advice. Our techies can guide you through your options and answer any questions you may have. After all, it’s what we do.

Major projects

Yes, we can help you with one-off major infrastructure and migration projects too. If you want to find out more on our Technology risk management, Managed It Services, Medical IT, Technology strategy and Data integrity

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