Friday, September 10, 2010

What is a Server?

The biggest selling point in making the jump to a server is really the most simple - peace of mind. To know that every precaution has been taken to ensure the security and reliability of your data assets.

How is a server different from a desktop? The answer to this key question is more straightforward than you might imagine. A server is a system specifically designed to hold, manage, send, and process data. The technology behind servers:
  • Makes them more reliable than desktop systems
  • Helps them process data faster and more efficiently
  • Can be extended to support data backup and security
  • Reduces data bottlenecks so information flows more freely and quickly
  • Is designed to scale as your needs scale
In short, a server is much more than a supercharged desktop system, and can't be replaced by one. Desktop systems are optimized to run user-friendly operating systems, desktop applications, and facilitate other "desktop" tasks. Even if a desktop sports the same processor speed, memory, and hard disk space as a server, they aren't the same because the technologies behind them are engineered for different usage.

Do you need a server?
Server technology and benefits notwithstanding, you don't want to make technology purchases that won't benefit your bottom line, facilitate key business processes, or otherwise make your life easier. While there is no single litmus test that you can use to determine if you need a server, some general guidelines do apply.

If your office only has three or four staff members who share files across networked computers, surf the Web, or send e-mail, you may not need a server at all. However, once you have five or more employees working together on a network, a server can provide a central location for your important files, shared applications, and other resources you regularly use, like project documents and even an image library. In addition, if you want to implement any of the following systems or applications you'll need a server:
  • File and print server
  • Microsoft Exchange system or other e-mail server
  • Firewall or other security system
  • Web site or company intranet
  • Database
  • ERP or CRM solution
  • E-commerce solution
And these are just the tip of the iceberg. In general, if you need to put a computer system in place that processes, shares, or otherwise manages data, you'll need a server.



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