The Right Computer Servers For Your Business

As your business grows, your computer needs will also grow.  One of the best ways to keep up with the demand on your computer systems is to have computer servers.  However, most people are overwhelmed with the options when they look at buying computer servers.  It is important that you know what to look for in computer servers and understand the terminology that will be used.

Computer Server Terminology You Need To Know

When you buy any technical products, it is important that you understand what the terminology used means.  If you do not understand the terminology then you will not be able to determine if the server is right for you.  The key terminology that you need to know in regards to computer servers is rack and towers as well as hot-swappable parts.

If you are going to be buying several servers then you need to decide between a tower and a rack-mounted server.  Towers have a similar appearance to a desktop computer.  However, a rack-mounted server will be designed to be held by a number of screws and mounted in a standard computer rack.

The tower server is recommended for small businesses that are just starting to expand their computer systems.  Towers are more cost effective and will provide you with the storage that you need.  However, if you know that your business will continue to grow then you should look at getting a rack-mounted server because it will take up less space and can be stored securely.

One of the factors that separate servers from normal computers is the fact that servers have a number of components that can be removed and replaced without having to turn the server off.  The primary components that this will affect are the power supplies and the disk drives.  These components are called hot-swappable parts.

Servers will generally have a number of hard drives which are configured to automatically write data in a number of places.  If one of the hard drives fails your data will still be stored on another and the faulty drive can be replaced.  Servers will also have multiple power supplies to ensure that they are always able to load.  Hot-swapping means that you will be able to change the faulty unit for one that works correctly.

What Your Business Needs

Once you understand the terminology being used for servers, you need to consider what your business needs from the server.  Many people find the calculation of memory and storage needs to be daunting.  However, there are certain points that you need to look at if you are going to have a server which carries out several functions.

If the server is going to be carrying out several functions you need to look at each function and what storage and memory you need for them.  Most businesses will need to have a file server, a print server, a finance system, an email server and a key customer management system.  Each of these systems will link to different parts of your business.

The file server will hold documents which are shared with people in the business and other files.  The print server will manage all of the networked printers and scanners in the office.  The email server will run all corporate mail clients while the key customer management system will be the main system that your business uses to run effectively.

For each of these functions, you will need to think about the storage, processor and memory that are needed.  The storage and memory needs will be the number of gigabits necessary for the server to function correctly.  The processor needs will be the number of processor cores the server needs to have.  Generally, most businesses will require 2 cores for all functions other than the print server which will only require one.

Operating Systems And Virtualization Options

Once you know your storage, memory and processor needs, you need to look at the operating systems on offer.  Most servers will have a single operating system and this is ideal for most businesses because they will only use one operating system.  However, it is possible to have more than one operating system on the server if necessary.

When looking at server options you have to look at virtualization.  This is not new technology, but has started to gain commercial acceptance in recent years.  To understand virtualization you need to understand how servers worked in the past.

In the past, each server would have a single function assigned to it.  This ensured that if a server went down you would not lose access to more than one of your functions.  Another reason for this is that the processing power was not available at the time so servers would not run multiple functions effectively.

Virtualization has changed this as it takes a single powerful computer and uses software to create multiple virtualized computers which are allocated their own piece of memory.  The software is called a hypervisor and is the bare bones of the operating system.  The only function of the hypervisor is to allocate the hardware to the virtual servers it has set up.

There are a number of points that you need to consider when you look at computer servers for your business.  You need to consider all of the terminologies which could be used and what it means for your business.  You should also look at all the functions that will run on the server and the amount of space and power they are going to need.