Do you need a server?

At some stage your business may outgrow it's current IT.

Typically, a small business with 1 or 2 PC's can share information and work together by sharing files and folders using XP's networking. However, as a business grows, this type of networking does not scale up very well - if you have one PC which is used to store and share files and this PC is also used for day to day office work, one activity can easily compromise the performance of the other. 

A basic rule of thumb is to move to a dedicated server when you have more than 2 PC's accessing shared data.

Other reasons for moving to a server include:

  • improvements to data security
  • access to server based applications such as email or a database
  • centralised administration
  • higher levels of availability and data protection

Ok, but what is a server?
In it's most basic form, a server is just a more robust version of your PC, but instead of running Windows XP or Vista it runs a specialised operating system designed specifically for high performance, resilience and security.

The components that make up the server are designed to run 24 x 7 and to endure more stress than a normal PC. Typically, the server box will allow the use of standby (or redundant) parts which can be configured to provide protection from hardware failure. And in some cases, hardware such as disks, can be taken out and replaced without requiring a shutdown or any downtime. This can be very important factor for some businesses.

Other things to consider
If all your data is on a server, you need to protect it. You MUST install anti-virus software and you MUST have a backup plan. You should also use a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) to protect the server from electrical power spikes, fluctuations and outages, which can be the cause of hardware failures and data corruption. A UPS is an inexpensive device that 'cleans' the power going into the server and provides a battery backup that allows the connected equipment to continue to operate through short power cuts and to give you time to shut everything down in a controlled manner.

And lastly, think about support and maintenance. You need to know that you are getting the most from your server investment, that everything is operating as expected and that if something is wrong, it is identified and resolved quickly, with minimal impact to your business.        

itflex specialise in supply and installation of small business class servers from Dell and HP and are happy to discuss your requirements. Please call us on 01708 209 924 or contact us by email at info@itflex.co.uk