Identifying the Right Server for Your Business

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Whether your business has just a few PCs or hundreds, they all need to be able to communicate with each other; be that to access shared documents, print wirelessly, or to collaborate in any other way. While it is possible to share data directly between PCs in an organisation, beyond a relatively low number of workstations it becomes much more efficient to employ a dedicated server for these tasks. A server will connect up your network and manage your network’s resources by holding, managing, and processing data – thereby streamlining your computing system and setting you up for success.

Starting Out

Before investing in a server, take some time to think how your business would make use of the server – will you just need it to do basics tasks such as filing and printing, or would it need to provide a shared database and handle email? If the former then you can keep it relatively basic and low spec. Many business owners think introducing a server means significant expense, but if you’ve only got a small number of PCs to connect then that really isn’t the case and will require only a small financial investment. If, however, you’re going to be running more advanced software and using your server for more advanced tasks such as running your database application and your mail server then it’s well worth investing in a machine that’s the highest spec you can afford to ensure maximum possible reliability. Server reliability is crucial because in a client-server network, if the server goes down, the clients (i.e. the PC workstations) may find it difficult to get any work done at all! The more your business relies on the server for day-to-day work, the more robust and powerful it needs to be. Check out Pinnacle Data for a massive range of servers to suit the needs of any business, large or small. Don’t forget that the server hardware is just half of the picture – you’ll also need suitable server software as well and this is typically purchased separately.

Server Types

There are several types of servers, some of which are dedicated to a single function. These are increasingly popular with small business owners as they can be more cost effective than a more all round machine. They come in four main types: file servers, mail servers, print servers, and collaborative workspace servers.

File servers are pretty self-explanatory and allow documents and data files to be shared, secured and backed up from one place. If you’re looking into investing in your first server (for a small network) then this is the one for you.

Print servers link all of the workstations on your network to a single printer – useful but limited.

Mail servers move and store your business’s emails; these have decreased in popularity as single function machines – as almost all multi-function servers will manage email as standard.

Collaborative workspace servers allow your staff to share work more freely, but again these have decreased in popularity due to more small businesses making use of cloud computing.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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