Do I Need More Than One Server?
When using a server for your small business, one benefit you'll realize is that a server can be customized and configured to meet your specific needs and budget. Many file and print servers (the most common type of server for small business needs) will not cost much more than a high-end desktop (see How is a Server Different from a Desktop?).
Proper planning will ensure you purchase a server with enough power. The number of servers required depends on how much server processing power you need to support your number of users and applications you run.
To ensure your server meets your business needs you must first understand server processing power and know exactly how you want to use your server. The role of a server is to manage network resources. There are many different types of servers, such as a file, print or database server. These are the most common types of servers a small business will need to invest in.
Choosing a Server
At a certain point, it makes sense to relieve the burden of an individual user's computer by having a dedicated server that is capable of providing file storage and print services – or any other services that may be required – to all the users in the organization. Before investing in a server and choosing the right server hardware, you need to consider many things, including the applications you will run, storage, processor, form factor, and more.
To determine the type and number of servers you need, the first step is to determine how the server will be used and who it will be used by. The following checklist will help you determine how much server processing power your business will need:
1. What problems are you trying to solve by using a server?
2. How many employees will access and use the server?
3. What software will the server need to run?
4. How fast do you need the server to process data?
5. What type of server do you need?
6. How much memory and disk space will you require?
7. Do you plan to upgrade in the future?
Research Server Options
Once you have a good idea what you are looking for in a server, a reseller or consultant can help you translate your needs into server specifications. Today’s server technology allows many small businesses to buy a single heavy-duty server that packs a punch. As your organization grows, so will the number of servers you require the time and skills needed to manage them. Keeping a single server running efficiently is a very different matter to managing a large number of servers.
A good rule of thumb when buying a small business server is to look for a small business section on the vendor websites to see what processing power, memory and storage space is offered at different price points.
Congratulations! Now you understand how to determine if your small business needs more than one server.
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