Contrary to what many company owners think, a small business doesn’t need a server that’s fresh from the manufacturer. Purchasing new hardware can be quite expensive, and the new equipment has to be configured to the company’s needs, which will require additional resources.And though a new server features newer components, this doesn’t necessarily mean a boost in real performance. In fact, most companies won’t even notice the difference between new equipment and hardware that has been thoroughly refurbished. That is, as long as the refurbished hardware is sold by a trusted dealer.
What should a small business look for in server technology?
It all depends on what the company requires, and how large it is. A very small company (as in one that operates fewer than 10 computers at once) can likely get by without a tower, rack, or blade system for a while, but as soon as the company expands beyond 10 workspaces, it will likely need to consider an upgrade. Without dedicated hardware, the company will lose money on stifled productivity and error, so purchasing hardware should be considered a much needed investment. A company should also consider an upgrade when they need to manage a quickly growing database, customer management software, or memory intensive programs, like design or editing software. The extra memory boost can speed up workflow significantly, and make it possible to juggle advanced production software without loss of performance.
So which option is best for a small business? A tower server represents the most common transition from desktop servers to dedicated hardware. In fact, a rack looks like a high-end desktop PC, though it uses a completely different operating system. Several manufacturers put out tower systems, though HP and Dell are the most popular among them. Both can outfit a single tower system with up to 192 GB of RAM, hundreds of GB of internal storage, and lightning quick Xeon processors. Tower systems are compact, relatively quiet, and don’t require powerful cooling systems to operate. This makes them a popular option for a company that needs an entry level option, or for companies that aren’t projecting a lot of near-term growth.
For companies that expect persistent growth, they need a scalable solution. Rack and blade systems are designed for more heavy duty operations, and can be added onto as the company’s needs grow. Rack and blade systems are plugged in to a large chassis to keep them organized, but because several pieces of hardware are used in close proximity to one another, they need more room to operate and require additional cooling. A lot of companies dedicate a room to them for this reason. However, the extra accommodation is worth it, as these systems can feature more than a TB of RAM, and plenty of TBs of storage. This makes them the ideal choice for companies that maintain hundreds of workspaces and resource heavy applications.
No matter what system a company chooses, they should consider a refurbished system that is a generation or two old. This will provide a deep discount to the IT department and allow a company to manage their resources better without paying a small fortune.