Choosing a network server for a business environment is a very critical decision. A business server runs a specialized multi-user operating system. It is designed to run several multi-user applications including email, print servers, messaging, databases and customer relationship management. Most business servers also serve as backup storage for other desktop and laptop PCs.
Although a network server looks like a high-end desktop computer, it is engineered and setup to perform entirely different functions. However, some small business owners feel that they can use a home PC to substitute for a standard server computer. But home PCs do not have the robust architecture and components to provide the server reliability, stability and efficiency required in a typical business environment. In this article, we will be discussing some of the vital features that a business server should have in order to meet the IT needs of your business.
A business server must have an efficient CPU and a robust resource sharing system. This is vital because it must allocate sufficient memory and CPU processing time to various users and applications without allowing the processing demands of any user to make the server unstable. In fact, server operating systems provide administrators with an interface that can be used to limit the number of concurrent connections, CPU time and memory allocated to each user. But home PCs will easily become unstable anytime a single user’s application requires a relatively large amount of memory or processing time. In addition, virtually all home PCs have limited processing resources and they lack the administrative and system management features to accurately limit the resources allocated to each user or application.
All well-built servers have several hard drives that work together to ensure that there is no data loss or denial of access when one hard drive fails. This arrangement is referred to as RAID – Redundant Array of Independent Discs. RAID enhances server reliability. Apart from redundant hard drives, robust network servers also have redundant power supply units. These additional power adapters provide an instant backup anytime the primary power supply unit fails. Redundancy in servers also helps them to scale up for higher demand quickly and easily.
A business network server should be able to serve all users with data promptly, especially during peak hours. The multiple redundant hardware components in standard network servers make this possible. Home PCs cannot function as efficient network servers since most of them can only accommodate a maximum of two hard drives. But an efficient network server can distribute input and output among several devices. For instance, the OS kernel can be placed on one hard drive, page files on another drive while databases and applications can be placed on their own hard drives. Also CPU cache and memory can be increased to handle greater user load and provide fast response times.
In a business environment, network servers must be able to offer stability, redundancy and high efficiency. That is why home PCs are not recommended for use as network servers. Business owners, who want to enjoy the benefits of improved server reliability and performance, should invest in high grade network servers designed with the right number of components and capacity to meet their business computing requirements.