What to look for when buying server equipment

By: Mike Roberts

Date: 4 May 2018

What to look for when buying server equipmentSetting up the server used to be the first job on the IT team’s list when preparing a new office. Today, with many businesses turning to cloud-based apps, there is a common misconception that the days of the server room are behind us.

However, while these kinds of stories make good newspaper headlines, the truth is that businesses large and small will still be needing servers for the foreseeable future.

Here we explain how to buy the right server equipment for your business needs.

Do businesses still need servers?

The short answer is: yes. Aside from the fact that wholesale migration to the cloud is not going to happen overnight, there are also the following three factors that render servers as relevant today as they have ever been:

  1. Hosting key applications - a growing number of applications are hosted in the cloud, but there are cases where it makes more sense from both a practical and financial perspective to host them locally.
  2. Internet outages - these can cause major productivity issues at the best of times, but if everything is hosted in the cloud, it can bring your business to a complete standstill. With local hosting, you can at least keep business-critical apps functioning.
  3. Large files - everything has its limit, even those virtual storage boxes. Sometimes storing large files locally is a better option.

Choosing server equipment

The equipment you need depends both on the tasks you expect your server to fulfil and the space you have available. It pays to keep your options open as wide as possible, which is why it may make sense to look to an independent supplier like Probrand that stocks hardware from a range of manufacturers.

Consider some of the most common tasks that you might need your server to perform:

  • Domain control - this is when the server holds domain authentication data, such as usernames, passwords, security settings, levels of access and so on. Any 64-bit CPU with at least 4GB of RAM will be fit for purpose.
  • Database back end - this is where the server provides database utilities to other servers. The important thing here is to choose a hard drive that is rated for fast writes.
  • Private cloud storage - here, the server is used for sharing assets and storing files that can be accessed across a local network. Multiple drive bays, configurable RAID options and a low-power CPU are ideal.
  • Web hosting - web servers have two partitions: an HTTP server at the front end and a database server at the back end. These work together, either on the same server or on two that are interconnected. Here, it is important to factor in extra RAM capacity to ensure the server functions under load, particularly if your site includes ecommerce.
  • Mail server - having a dedicated mail server optimises performance. The specifications will be similar to those for a file server.

Futureproof your server

Thinking through the above points will give you a good picture of what you need right now. But it is equally important not to paint yourself into a corner. Choosing hardware that can be easily upgraded as your business grows will ensure your IT capability will remain in step with your business needs.

Sponsored post. Copyright © 2018 Mike Roberts, online technology and business columnist