Is your small business expanding? As the business scales up, you take more personnel or employees. Eventually, you’ll need a server to save files securely and run the business and office network smoothly.
However, it can be daunting to set up a dedicated on-premises server. The endless choice of servers, hardware or software, can confuse you without a professional IT team. Moreover, as the business grows, stacking more network appliances and hardware on a shelf or desk becomes a mess.
Not to mention, such equipment is exposed to physical tempering causing severe damages or accidents. In short, setting or installing a server system seems to be a complicated task. So you may be wondering where to start.
Don’t worry. This article will guide you through if you want to know how to setup a server for a small business. With some basic knowledge and proper equipment, it’s not a hard process for setting up your own server room.
What Is A Server?
In short, a server is used to store, send and receive data. It’s a part of computer software or hardware serving applications and information to your employees, customers and other computers.
Moreover, server hardware has various tasks. Generally, a server installation needs three types of hardware.
- Hard disk storage capacity.
- CPU size, including the number of cores and clock speed.
- RAM size.
So, with proper hardware components, servers are nothing more than a regular computer. However, it may or may not possible to use every type of server for a specific function.
Here are the following services that business servers offer to achieve a goal.
- 24/7 operation like Error Correction Code (ECC) memory server use in-built error-correction firmware to detect and correct any data corruption in the memory.
- File sharing.
- Cloud storage.
- Secure emailing.
- Host a website.
- Share resources over multiple servers.
- Backup and recover data facility.
- Store and organizing documents.
Why Do You Need A Server?
Before proceeding, let’s understand why you need a server in the business. When your business has more employees, you need more computers or remote access to the network. Eventually, you and your employees can access software, files or any important data from anywhere.
Additionally, it comes with a backup and recovery system offering network security for your business’s vital information. It has a central processor, redundant power supply and hot-swappable drive bays. So, even in device failure, you can access the data through backup.
Hence, in order to serve the business properly, it’s time to buy a server computer. Here is a few examples of servers.
- File servers are used to store and distribute files.
- Application servers run applications instead of client computers that run applications locally.
- Cloud servers are suitable for small businesses with IT resources and need limited space.
How To Setup a Server For A Small Business?
1. Buy from a well-known manufacturer
Depending on the business demand, you need to consider the server size. Determine where your business can reach in the future and purchase according to that. However, it’s better to rely on professionals and well-known manufacturers in order to get the right server.
2. Choose the server storage
Piling up all server networks randomly without a proper server case can become troublesome later. Do you want to end up in an unmanageable mess? If not, then choose the right storage for it.
- Rackmount server: It’s like a drawer, shelve or other hardware devices, particularly designed to mount on servers for easy access and safekeeping. Thus, you may avoid any accidents or network failure.
- Tower server: It’s like a regular computer with server components mounted inside. It has high processing power but requires more space to set up.
- Blade server: It’s a high-density server computer that needs a chassis to be installed. Additionally, it minimizes the power consumption and use of space. But proper cooling can be a problem here which needs additional investment.
3. Build a server room
Servers need an additional cooling system which may sound loud sometimes. Eventually, it’s distracting for everyone in the office. Hence, depending on the hardware and workspace, invest in a dedicated separate room to house the server. In case you have a limited place, set the server at a corner of the room where the noise is less.
4. Keep organized and labeled
Finally, make sure everything is well organized by labeling and documenting necessary things. You can even keep documents about the guidance or procedures on setting up the hardware or other equipment. Moreover, with proper cable management, you can avoid any problem when an individual wire required service.
Do You Think Cloud Is The Best Solution?
Do you have a limited workspace? Or maybe without dedicated IT professionals, you’re hesitating to set up the server. So, first, decide if you actually need a server physically in the office.
For this reason, most small businesses favor cloud-based servers. Cloud technology has immense value, especially when it comes to high computing power and storing data. That’s why sometimes, leasing cloud servers can be the best solution for some business models.
However, there are some misconceptions about using cloud servers. If you consider licensing, it’s not cheaper. The costing increases along with the headcount. Even also, as data storage grows, the monthly cost gets higher. Moreover, using dozens of applications in multi-cloud servers is not easier than using a single cloud application.
At this point, you may feel the need for an in-built server system. Without hampering the infrastructure, you can use a hybrid combination of the data architecture.
Hence, before setting up any server on-premises, decide if you want to purchase a pre-built or build an in-house server.
Which One Is Better- Building vs. Buying A Server?
As the server architecture is improvising, the system is getting simple, flexible and affordable for small to mid-sized businesses (SMB). Though currently, small businesses prefer buying server rather than building own.
At the same time, both come with benefits and drawbacks. Let’s have a quick look.
- Buying a pre-build server comes with manufacturer-backed support, warranty and tested software configuration. In contrast, building a server in-house has a lack of manufacturer guidance. Eventually, it may result in diversification.
- Meanwhile, building your own customized server is beneficial for the business. So, it can be compatible with the application you’re installing for.
- Buying high-end systems are also very expensive. In comparison, building and configuring a server costs much low.
However, you still need to configure the system physically after purchasing. Such as optical drives, hard drives or memory may not come with the SKU. Hence, to adjust and set the server, you need to install them in-house before.
What To Look For In A Server OS?
Depending on your business tasks, you need to choose a server operating system (OS). Almost all servers support different OS. So, which one is the best for your small business? Before that, let’s know what a server OS is.
A server operating system or server OS is a specialized computer, operates in a client/server architecture. It serves the client computer by distributing computing power equally to the endpoint devices over a network. Additionally, it has other following benefits.
- More advanced and stable than a mobile or desktop OS.
- Higher RAM.
- Support a larger number of network connections.
- More efficient with CPU power.
- Manage application and file storage.
- Maintain users’ authentication.
- Support necessary administrative processes and permissions over the domain.
Therefore, you need to determine the server role first for your business. Then set up the server OS of your choice.
There are plenty you can choose from before going for how to set up a server for a small business. For example, Ubuntu Server, Linux, Windows Server, Red Hat Enterprise Linus etc. are some popular server OSes for small to medium businesses.
Remember, you don’t want to scale down your business. Hence, take time and plan where you want to see your business in the upcoming future. Otherwise, you may have to change or remove the current server architecture to install the new one.
Moreover, choosing the appropriate server can determine whether you’re a professional or inefficient in carrying forward the business. Additionally, check if you’ve enough disk storage. Or else, as the business grows, you may have to buy another machine that can be costly.
So, whether you purchase a pre-built server or configure your own depends on the business needs. Ultimately, in order to protect investments and avoid downtime, you need a server at the workstation.