There are many brands of server available for the modern business and as well as deciding whether you need a full application server or a more basic Network Attached Storage (NAS) server, you will also need to consider redundancy, the total amount of storage that is available, and even the physical size of the server, as well as whether you have the in-house expertise to deal with administrative and support tasks or if you will need to outsource this area of network administration.

Storage

One of the main functions of a business server is as a central location for storing files, although it can be used to store any data, which can even include software and applications, website and email files. Depending on the setup you buy, there will usually be room to expand your server so that it can store more data in the future, if needed, but this may not always be the case, and it may not be practical if you have to keep buying additional storage. Ensure that the server you buy offers ample storage, and allows room for growth in the future.

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Form

Servers were once huge beasts that required massive server rooms. While storing a server or bank of servers in its own room, as well as their own cabinet, can still prove beneficial for security and for atmospheric control, the size of the modern server is certainly a lot smaller and more convenient. There are also different physical configurations and layouts available to choose from, so opt for one that will fit in the location that you have put aside for server storage.

Software

While NAS servers are used primarily for storing and offering access to data, application servers provide many other functions. This isn’t to say that you can’t install software on a NAS server, but it will usually require some effort and expertise to achieve the desired results. If you are looking to offer central access to applications and software, ensure that all elements of your network are compatible.

Expertise Required

The complexity and type of server, as well as the drivers and software that are installed on it, will demand the level of expertise that is required to install, run, and maintain the server. While everything is going smoothly, a server is easy to maintain, but this won’t always be the case, and if you do not have in-house expertise, then do remember that you will need to outsource these requirements.

Redundancy

Redundancy is especially important if your server will have a mission-critical purpose. Having two power supplies, a redundant set of memory, and other redundant features means that if one power supply goes down, or if one storage block goes down, you can still continue to use the server and access the data while the primary server components are being repaired.

Extensibility and ROI

As with anything else you invest in as part of your business equipment and infrastructure, your business server has to add value to your bottom line and it should justify its purchase beyond its data storage and back-up capabilities. Used in conjunction with the right multivariate data analysis software, your business server can turn into an invaluable business analysis and planning tool, so it’s important for the server you ultimately settle on to have the type of extensibility that allows you to either operate this statistical analysis software, or to provide seamless access to your chosen process control service provider / consultant.

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