The IT environment of today is far different from that of two decades earlier. Technology conversations of today centre on the Cloud, Desktop Virtualization and Mobile apps, unlike two decades back when enterprise apps and Client-Server technologies ruled the roost. However, even in the age of Data Centers and Server Farms, standalone Servers are required at the workplace, so purchasing and deploying the right servers is an important IT decision.
Desktop applications may have become more powerful or sophisticated with time; nevertheless, servers are an important component of the IT Infrastructure. Servers are engineered to perform more functions than client desktops and are required to process data faster and more efficiently, support data backup and security, reduces data bottlenecks, and scale up as the business evolves. Any business with more than 5 employees will require one or more standalone Server(s) for sure.
You will need a server, if you need to implement/utilize any of these functions or solutions:
- File and print facility or server
- Emails: Microsoft Exchange system or other e-mail server
- Firewalls and other security systems
- Company Website or Intranet
- One or more databases
- ERP / CRM / SCM/ SFA or any enterprise application
- E-commerce solutions
Purchasing the right Server is often treated as a complex decision but is just based on the following parameters:
- Extent of Usage: Each business is unique, so it’s important to understand how many people in the organization will use their devices (desktops, laptops and handhelds) to connect to the server, how often will they do so during an average day, and for how long?! This has a direct impact on the storage, partitioning, I/O traffic, etc.
- Software applications: Next, one must assess the exact nature of applications that will be used. This will depend on the size of the organization, industry sector, offerings to their customer, and overall health of the business. This will decide the extent of printing and filing, as well as the processing power required.
- Processing power: What kind of chip to be used, how much of RAM to be deployed, the amount of hard-disk space to be used all depend on the above two parameters. Processing power depends on the kind of services do you need to support: email, instant messaging, contact management, enterprise applications that require a lot of processing. How fast does the server need to process data (i.e., processor speed) and how many processors you need (some solutions require two or more) are important considerations here.
- Data: How much data you will generate everyday and over the lifetime of your organization decides how much storage you will need. Making this calculation can be tricky, and historic data are useful to make projections for this.
- Performance: Depending on how many customer-facing applications connect to your server, and their extent of usage, performance of the server varies. One can then make a decision that is optimized for both cost and performance.
If you are contemplating buying a server, make a preliminary technical assessment from your side and then engage in a dialog with your vendor. This will unearth more information and due-diligence which will help you make an informed decision.