Serving your needs

Servers are an essential part of any business. Yet, what server is best for your needs? We surveyed 6 top server vendors to help you determine the server that will do the job for your business.

Servers are an essential part of any business. No company that wishes to remain competitive can truly afford to neglect this area.

Many companies use servers in a specific role or function. Yet, what server is best for your needs? We surveyed 6 top server vendors to help you determine the server that will do the job for your business.

Pre-selection criteria

All the vendors agree on what is important: Keep in mind why you decided to get a server in the first place and know what you plan to use the server for.

A file server has different requirements from a web server. The choice of application is also an important determinant in the selection process. Always ask yourself exactly how critical the application to the business and will it justify the cost involved?

If the application is critical to the operations of the company, the more important High Availability (HA) features such as redundant fans, power supplies, etc, in a server specification will be selected. Also, is the company planning to use a new application or an expansion of an existing one? Will the application be a one-off or a high volume application?

Once this has been done, it is important to look at the server and its expected requirements. If the application is I/O intensive, then the disk sub-system of the server needs to be configured accordingly. Alternatively, if the application is memory intensive, has enough memory been configured? Other things that need to be considered are the possibility of using open standards, price/performance, expandability etc.

Also remember to keep storage in mind. Although storage isn’t a front-end item, it should not be a case of ‘out-of-sight, out-of-mind’. If you are an Internet Data Company (IDC) or Application Service Provider (ASP), storage is especially important. Vast amounts of data are being created on a daily basis and all need to be kept somewhere. Decisions regarding the type of storage have to be made. Are tape drives sufficient for your needs? If so, do you wan to go with LTO or Super DLT? Do you outsource to a third-party to store your data in a SAN? Or would it simply be easier and cheaper to go the RAID way?

Finally, determine the cost involved to own and maintain the server i.e. the cost of management, cost of downtime, and maintenance costs are all addressed by in-built software management of servers, and must be a criterion for selection. Can the company utilize server capacity as a resource pool, and manage the resource pool in a more efficient and effective manner? What resources can the company provide and what must be outsourced?

Also keep the future well in mind. A server will stay with you as long as you need it. Hopefully, as your business grows, so does your staffing levels and thus, so will your server needs. Will your current server configuration be able to accommodate further growth in both users and applications? You also need to ensure that the server platform has some form of upgrade path that represents minimal disruption if and when an upgrade occurs.

Read more about Servers R Us.