Is Server different from a Desktop PC?
A small business might be tempted to save money by simply running a server operating system on a desktop computer -- but this isn't a replacement for real server hardware. Continue reading to gain a better understanding of the difference between a network server and a desktop computer, and learn about the core technologies behind them.
While implementing a network is not a trivial or inexpensive undertaking, the benefits you gain by adding a server to your small business computing environment outweigh any shortcomings. A small business might be tempted to save time and money by simply running a server operating system on a desktop computer, but this isn't a replacement for a real server.
Many people mistakenly believe that a server is no different from a typical desktop computer. This couldn't be further from the truth. While almost any computer that meets the minimum hardware requirements can run a server operating system that alone does not make a desktop computer a true server. Even if the desktop computer had similar processor speeds, memory and storage capacity compared to a server, it still isn't a replacement for a real server. The technologies behind them are engineered for different purposes.
A desktop computer system typically runs a user-friendly operating system and desktop applications to facilitate desktop-oriented tasks. In contrast, a server manages all network resources. Servers are often dedicated (meaning it performs no other task besides server tasks). Because a server is engineered to manage, store, send and process data 24-hours a day it has to be more reliable than a desktop computer and offers a variety of features and hardware not typically used in the average desktop computer.
One of the best choices for a small business is a dedicated server built from the ground up as a file server to provide features and expansion options that a desktop computer lacks. Some server hardware decisions you will need to make include the following:
1. Form Factor: For small businesses, the best choice is a dedicated entry-level server in a tower configuration.
2. Processor: Choose a server-specific processor to boost performance and data throughput.
3. Memory: Buy as much memory as you can afford and look for expansion slots for future upgrades.
4. Storage: Look for SATA or SCSI hard disks, not IDE.
Server Operating System
The operating system (OS) is the software platform on top of which other programs will run. Choosing a server operating system is no easy task. The specific operating system you go with will depend on what the server is going to be mainly used for. For basic file servers a small business should choose an operating system that staff will be the most comfortable with. Another issue to consider is if you have any application that is best-suited to a particular operating system.
Additional Server Considerations
For the average home user looking for a basic, infrequently used server a built from an old desktop computer could work. For the small business owner, however, the question to ask is: Do you really want to trust your business data and processes to just any old hardware? Most small businesses will be far happier with a computer that is ready-made to be a dedicated server than with one that began life as a standard desktop computer. If your company's data is at all important to you, it is the only way to go.
Choosing the Right Server: Before investing in server hardware, you need to consider applications, storage, processor, form factor, and more to help you choose wisely.
Congratulations! Now that you understand the difference between a desktop computer and a server you can look for a server that meets your specific needs!
Although it is almost impossible to keep up with the pace of ongoing product releases, here are three recent highlights in the flash data storage... Read More »15 Important Big Data Facts for IT Professionals
Keeping track of big data trends, research and statistics gives IT professionals a solid foundation to plan big data projects. Here are 15... Read More »Enterprise Storage Vendors
There's a number of vendors that sell enterprise storage hardware or offer cloud-based enterprise storage. View Webopedia's Enterprise storage... Read More »
- Check out eWeek's new Research Center, a central and comprehensive library of whitepapers, eBooks, eseminars, webcasts, and more from top industry brands and independent tech journalists »
- Watch Datamation's editor James Maguire moderate roundtable discussions with tech experts from companies such as Accenture, Dell, Blue Jeans Network, Microsoft and more »
If hackers get their hands on your company's data, they can wreak havoc on customer relationships and cause tremendous damage to your brand and... Read More »Windows XP: Move Along, There's Nothing to See Here
After more than 12 years of holding the title of most popular operating system in the world, Windows XP is taking center stage for its final... Read More »Report: The Role of Big Data in the Marketing Industry
According to a new study from Infogroup Targeting Solutions, we can expect to see companies spend heavily on big data marketing initiatives in... Read More »