A small server might not look different to a high-end desktop PC, but they are designed for very different tasks. A desktop computer is designed for one person who needs a user-friendly operating system to run desktop applications such as word processor, a spreadsheet, an email client and a web browser. What a server does is run a specialised operating system designed to support many users.
Which server does your business need?
If you have a small to medium-size business the question isn’t whether you need a server, but rather which type of server you need.
The best server to choose for your business depends on the applications you intend to run on it. For file sharing, automated client backup and light-duty remote access for PC’s (normally ten or less), consider a NAS or even a Windows Home Server machine. If your business has more than ten employees using computers, if you need to operate an email or print server, manage a complex database, or run sophisticated server-based applications or have very large storage requirements, you’ll want a more vigorous option such as tower, rack or blade server.
One of the first things to consider is whether to purchase a physical server for your office or to opt for one offsite which is accessed via the cloud. A big factor in this decision is the cost.
Space for servers can be very expensive, as is the security needed to protect them. The cloud can save your business money in that regard. However, the ongoing monthly cost of a cloud server might be even higher.
There are many advantages to having a physical server in your office as well. You can be in control of the hardware and the applications you have running on it gives you the option to customise it and have 24/7 access in case anything needs reconfiguring.
A forecast from Cisco predicts that by 2020, 92 percent of workloads will be processed by cloud data centres. However, that doesn’t mean it is necessarily the right option for your business. It is important to understand your business needs in terms of security, cost-saving, and other factors, in order to make the right choice.