Selecting the right server for your business can be quite difficult. As your company develops, you will see that its computing needs will increase as well. Sooner rather than later your IT department will ask you to invest in some equipment that will guarantee the well functioning of your company in the modern business world.
Because a server is a serious investment, it is important not to rush into any final decision without making some research beforehand and spend your company’s budget on something you don’t really need or that you’ll end up replacing pretty soon anyway. This buying guide is meant to help you make an informed purchase.
Should the server be cloud-based or physical?
If you’re running a small business and you don’t have a well-established IT infrastructure, leasing a cloud server might be what you need, but be aware there are some limitations.
The cloud-based solution is usually the most suitable alternative for startup companies. However, you need to be aware that once your business starts growing, as data grows, the costs will augment. Eventually, you will end up considering a physical version.
Physical servers have their advantages. First of all, you will be able to access it 24/7. Second, you will be in control of the applications your run and the hardware. And last, but not the least, a server in your office will give you a high level of customizability.
Of course, when deciding which type of server your company needs, keep in mind to carefully analyze and consider what you can afford, how can you save in the long run, and what is your security need.
A server that fits your office space
Physical solutions are of three types: tower, rackmount, and blade. Choosing one of them can be done with ease, as it depends on the size of your company.
- Tower – It resembles regular desktop computers and it comes in different sizes and shapes. It doesn’t require any additional mounting hardware and it offers a good deal of processing power. Be aware that the tower servers require a bit more space than blade or rackmount.
They are the best solution for small businesses (~15 employees) as they are the cheapest alternative. While the tower servers can last for a long time because they can be easily expanded and they support virtualization, once your company grows, you will need more powerful equipment. You can upgrade, then, to Rackmount.
- Rackmount – This type of servers occupy less space than the previously mentioned one, but it requires additional cooling equipment. Rackmount needs to be installed in rack chassis. This is a good solution for limited office spaces; a chassis can hold multiple servers, one on top of each other.
- Blade – Once your company starts growing, you will notice the need for more powerful Blade servers require a chassis as well and occupy less space than rackmount. Still, be aware that they need more cooling and your financial investment will be bigger, compared to the other two types of servers.
Buy or build it yourself?
According to the Newegg Business research, a premade server usually costs under $1.400, while building one from scratch is around $930 (only hardware). You need to keep in mind that if you chose a customized machine, you will not have any warranty or support, but the final product will more flexible and scalable.
In the end, it all depends on every business’s preferences
Should you virtualize?
Virtualization implies the use of a single server as a Hypervisor, thus it creates multiple virtual machines and it splits the storage capacity, memory, and processor power between them.
Opting for virtualization will give your IT responsible more flexibility, as a virtual server can be created in a matter of minutes.
With virtual servers, you will save yourself the effort of buying, finding the right space to place it, and installing the physical server. Moreover, you will most likely end up saving on energy- if you have fewer servers, then you will not need as many cooling systems.
What you need to keep in mind
- Make sure you know what needs to be run on the server.
- Measure how much memory, storage, and processor power you need.
- Estimate how much are you going to invest in the next year. Try to calculate how much your servers needs are likely to grow.
- Prepare for the unpredictable. Make a plan that covers how you will keep the system running if something goes wrong.