Choosing a Server for Your Small Business

Your small business is now big enough to have its own server. Congratulations on your growth!

But all your business data is spread out on multiple computers and cloud services and you would like to move it all to a centralized spot you can control.

That’s the beauty of owning your own server.

We’re going to go over five essential features to look for so you can choose the best server for your business.

#1. A Physical Server vs. The Cloud 

A physical server can range from one computer in size to needing a whole room to store the server. A major consideration you will need to make as a business owner is whether you have the physical room for a server. If physical space is a challenge for you, then it will be best to use a cloud-based server. Apart from space considerations, another advantage of a cloud-based server is that is can be accessed anywhere there is an internet connection.

As a matter of fact, even with a physical server, it is possible to configure it so that it can be accessed remotely. However, it is important to remember that if you have a physical server and your business has to move locations, you will have to move the server as well. Depending on the size of your server this could be a daunting task. So if you even have a sliver of a thought that your business will one day relocate, a cloud-based server might serve you better. HP Helion, Amazon’s Web Service, and Windows Azure are great examples of cloud-based technologies you can use to host your server.

#2. How The Server Will Be Used

What type of server you finally decide on depends largely on the exact types of applications you will run off the server.

More than likely you will run one or more of the following on your server:

  • File Server – to store your company’s files/documents/data/in-house applications
  • Email Server – to run company email networks
  • Finance System
  • Printer Server – to connect your business computers and printers
  • Customer Management System

Deciding which one of these you will be setting up on your server should give you a good idea on how much storage and memory will be ideal for your business purposes.

#3. Storage and Memory Needed

Based on what you will be using the server for as discussed in the point above, you will now need to calculate how much memory and storage space you need.

This is where people can easily make mistakes when it comes to choosing the right server for their small business. Depending on your business size, you can either under-shoot and choose a small server which you will then have to upgrade later with even more servers (a little annoying), or you can over-shoot and have way too much storage and memory that uses up a lot of power. Choose one that has a little bit more than you need so you have some room to grow.

#4. Processors 

Once you have determined the amount of memory and storage you need and determined the applications you want to run on your servers, it is now time to choose an appropriate processor for your server.

A processor is just like the central processing unit (CPU) that comes with your desktop computer except these are usually more powerful. So for instance, you might have heard the terms “dual-core” (2 CPU’s working as one) or “quad-core” (4 CPU’s joined together) and so on.

The number of cores a processor has is essential in the decision-making process. If based on your above calculations (memory + storage + the type of applications you need to run), you decide that 10 cores will serve your business needs best, you will want to get a server with a slightly higher number of cores to give you enough room to maneuver. In this case, a 12-core or 16-core server might be just what you need.

Another major parameter you need to pay attention to when selecting a processor is something known as clock speed. Clock speed is the speed with which the processor executes a task. Every computer has an internal clock that manages the speed at which tasks are completed.The faster, the better. The more tasks it can execute, the more efficient the clock is. Clock speeds are measured in Gigahertz (GHZ). The higher this number is the faster and more efficiently your server will run.

#5. Operating System 

Different businesses prefer different server operating systems for different reasons. And at the base of it all, you can successfully run a server on Windows, Mac , Linux, or Ubuntu. However, if there is a particular feature you prefer in one operating system over the other then you can stick with it. If not, it is important to note that you can run highly efficient servers using any of these operating systems.

Recapping It All

So let’s recap. Choosing a server for your business requires you to consider whether you want a physical server or cloud-based server. You must also consider the features you want, such as clock speed, storage and memory space, applications needed, and the kind of operating system you prefer. Now that you’re armed with this information, you can choose the best type of server for your business.

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