Do you have difficulties in accessing your workstations? Are you experiencing data loss due to malware? Do you have occasional problems accessing the Internet? These glitches suggest that you may need to get a client/server based network.
When you first started your business, you probably only had about five users on your network. However, beyond this point adding on new workstations to your peer-to-peer network as you hire more people is no longer a good idea. Your data is now less secure and resource sharing will be frustrating.
If you’ve been using Dell computers, then you’re already familiar with why company is considered one of the leading computer brands. And, if this is the case, then a Dell premier partner will help you choose the right server, install it for you, and provide technical support.
What is a Server?
Servers are complex. There are so many types from SQL servers to virtual private serversthat it’s easy to get confused. However, here are some server basics so that you can have an intelligent conversation with a computer business that sells servers:
1. A server is far more than a higher-grade desktop PC.
Although a small server may actually look like your desktop PC on the outside, it’s a different type of machine. A server is designed to perform a far different task than a regular personal computer.
A desktop PC is built for a single-user and makes it easy to run basic desktop applications, like, say, your Windows Office 10 operating system, your Microsoft Office Suite or your Chrome web browser.
In comparison, a server is designed to run a highly specialized operating system that supports many users and runs resource intensive programs.
2. A server runs “industrial strength” applications
A server handles resource hogging programs without any problems. For instance, it could run programs like customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), databases, shared calendars, print, messaging, and email.
3. A server improves data sharing and collaboration.
Think of your server as a central repository. It’s a place where employees can collaborate and share data on key business files, contacts, images, and documents.
4. A server can host an intranet.
One analogy for understanding an intranet is to think of it as your company’s own personal Internet. Once you set up your virtual private network, your employees can access data from outside the office. They can look up the data on your server from anywhere they can access the Internet. This means that they can work on company projects from overseas, too. Intranets make it easy to get the work done quickly, safely, and economically.
5. A server can help you backup all your data.
Since the loss of client lists, projects, statistics and financial data could cost your business millions, everything your employees do on their desktops and laptops must be periodically backed up to your server.
Should anything happen to any of your machines—say, a desktop won’t boot up or a laptop is stolen, your data is still safe.
Servers are used for data backups because they provide redundant storage, can tolerate faults, and are secure and reliable.
Types of Servers
When it’s obvious that your small or medium-sized business has exceeded the capacity and functionality of a peer-to-peer network, your question should not be, “Do I really need a server?” Instead, you should be asking, “What type of server do I need?
Here are four questions to ask to figure out what kind of server you need:
- 1. Do you need a server to improve file sharing? If you do, then buy a file sharing server.
- 2. Do you need a server primarily for email? If you do, then buy a mail server.
- 3. Do you need a server for my workforce to be able to connect from anywhere in the world? If you do, then buy a remote access server.
- 4. Do you need a server for data backups? If you do, then buy a backup server.
If you’re wondering how many servers you need, Rupert Davey provides a perfect answer in his article, How Many Servers Do I Need?: “And finally, you may follow the “one server per service” rule, which says that each network service has its own server. For example, files have their own server, antivirus management has its own server etc. This is fairly unlikely in a small business as although these services can be split out for scalability it’s often not necessary with low numbers of users.”