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Planning your ideal server design

Posted In Domain - Hosting - By Techtiplib on Friday, December 5th, 2014 With No Comments »

There comes a time in every business’ existence where data storage needs outstrip your existing infrastructure. Obviously you could add a ‘dumb’ network attached storage (NAS) unit to provide some additional space, but many growing businesses choose to buy a server because of the additional flexibility and functionality provided.

So how do you choose a server that will help your business get ahead now and provide a stable platform for future growth?

server design

Choose an operating system

To put it crudely, the operating system is the software that makes your server work – just like your PCs and laptops. Choosing the right operating system depends entirely on your specific business needs. Windows Server is the operating system of choice for many small businesses thanks to the additional tools available to boost productivity (email, databases, shared data access etc).

For Windows-based PCs and laptops, Windows server is probably the smartest choice. Likewise OS X Server is the best match if all your computers are Apple Macs. Alternatively, if you are particularly technical, or have limited requirements for functionality beyond data storage, Linux is particularly cost-effective.

Pick a specification

The more processing power, RAM and disk space included with your new server, the longer it will last. Buying the best that you can afford will provide the best return on investment over the lifetime of the machine.

Always choose the fastest processor, the most RAM and the largest hard drive capacity you can afford. You should also carefully consider your growth plans – if you intend to expand your workforce, the machine will need to be able to cope with increased demands on its resources.

Choose a disk technology

Not all disk technologies are equal. Budget servers are often only supplied with a single, large hard drive. Although the capacity is handy, a single drive is not the best set up for protecting your data in the event of a failure.

Instead you should choose a system that has been built with a RAID5 or RAID 10 disk array that will help improve performance and protect you against data loss. For the least hassle in managing your server, avoid the other RAID variants – RAID recovery is quite difficult to master in the event of a disk failure.

Don’t forget backup provisions

As well as storing more data, you will also need to protect it too. This means saving some of your budget for a suitable backup system that can take a full copy of your data on a regular basis. Most modern backup systems use inexpensive external hard drives to automate the process. Make sure you choose a backup solution that provides sufficient capacity and is easy to use, otherwise you may have to wrestle with the complexities of RAID recovery – not a fun process!

Your perfect server will be different to that of your competitor, and with hundreds of different combinations and configurations, you should be able to find one that meets your needs perfectly. Applying these suggestions, you will be able to narrow down the field of options significantly, making the choice much easier. Good luck!

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