As your business grows, your computing needs grow, and at some point, you’ll be faced with acquiring a server to provide computing power and central storage. Choosing a server for your company is a critical, but a sometimes confusing process.
There are many vendors and different types of configurations. You can use servers that you maintain in your location and you can use the cloud.
Here’s what you need to know to make the right decision.
Decide What Your Server Will Do
Servers sometimes look like a CPU module for a desktop computer, but they work quite differently. A server is designed to run an operating system that is optimized to serve multiple users. Servers can provide additional computing power and central storage.
Servers also support a number of different applications, based on size and configuration. The first step in choosing a server is to decide what you need it to do. Those things can include:
- Email hosting
- Website hosting
- Hosting applications that need centralized access such as a CRM or collaboration software
- Data backup
- Central file storage for collaboration
Decide Which Operating System You Want to Use
Most servers use one of two operating systems: Linux or Windows. Linux is used most often because advanced system administrators prefer its features and it can support a long list of high-quality open source software.
Related: 5 Ways to Back Up Your Data
However, Linux is also more of a challenge for non-technical users because of the length of the learning curve. If you prefer to use a more familiar interface, then Windows may be your best choice.
Decide if You Want the Server On-Premise
With the popularity of cloud servers, small businesses now have a choice. You can acquire a server that is located in your office and that your staff maintains, or you can select a vendor to provide the same capabilities in the cloud.
If you want complete control over your server, you’ll need to locate it in a secured space in your office that has a cooling system appropriate for keeping the server running smoothly. You’ll also need staff that is experienced in maintaining a server. If you don’t have either of these, you may be better off using a cloud server.
The other consideration is the speed with which your computing needs will change. One advantage of using a cloud server is that it’s easy to scale. If you start a big project that will require additional computing power, you can make that change quickly and easily in the cloud.
It would take much longer to acquire more hardware yourself, and then train or hire the staff you need to manage it. Consider how fast your company is growing, whether you have seasonal needs, and how quickly you need to respond to changing requirements.
The other alternative is to use a hybrid system, where you have a server on premise, but you also use the cloud. For example, you may want to keep sensitive information on your local server, but move applications that require a great deal of storage or computing power to the cloud.
Support Your Company’s Growth Using Central Servers
It’s good news when your company needs to acquire a server to support productivity and growth. You shouldn’t acquire expensive computing power that breaks the budget, but you also don’t want to acquire a server that will stunt your company’s growth. Careful planning will ensure that you have the computing power you need to launch your company into the future.
If you’re wondering what the right call is for your organization, reach out to us. We’re here to advise you on your best course of action, based on the needs of your company.