Where Can I Buy A Server
Different server computers are used for different tasks. Whether a server is storing media files accessible over a home network, or used for enterprise database management, knowing which type of server system best suits your home or business network saves money when it comes time to buy a server.
where can i buy a server
Why would you need a server in the first place? As the number of endpoints grows beyond five or ten users, the peer-to-peer network model wherein computers communicate through the router eventually becomes inefficient and bottlenecked. A few tell-tale signs that you need a dedicated server include:
So-called cloud servers offer leased data storage and computing resources that companies might buy in lieu of server hardware. This is ideal for a very small business or a casual home user without any server management know-how. As a company scales up it usually makes financial sense to deploy physical servers, hiring in-house (or outsourced) server management personnel, and perhaps utilizing cloud servers for redundancy or part of a backup plan.
A businesses server stores all the files, applications, operating systems, programs, and peripherals accessible to computers on an office network. IT administrators use server software to manage user access by way of credentials or authentication information. A Web server faces the Internet, and makes available data, content and applications beyond the physical local area network (LAN).
Just a few years ago, one server typically handled a one task for office IT. One provided user credentials for accessing a database; another dedicated server managed the sending and receiving of e-mails; a different server was used for distributing Windows, another server for hosting a Web domain, and so forth.
This might still be standard practice at a small business, but server management has changed drastically for larger companies within the past decade. Now, medium and large organizations can save on server hardware costs by consolidating infrastructure onto one or a few enterprise servers.
The basic component structure of a server is similar to that of a PC. Since most servers are meant for 24/7 operation; and servers for virtualization have powerful, multi-core processors and expansive disk space to handle a heavier computing load and data storage, server components are more robust.
Servers for virtualization have motherboards with LGA 2011-3 sockets that support larger CPUs with the X99 chipset (Intel Xeon E5 and Intel Core i7 X-series processors, for example) that have multiple cores and threads for running virtual machines. AMD server CPUs have their own socket types and are not compatible with Intel. Some motherboards have dual CPU sockets to add processor redundancy for 24/7 uptime.
When you talk about scalability in servers, one huge consideration is the number slots in the motherboard. The more slots there are, the more room there is for expansion. Different types of slots include DIMM slots for RAM, and PCI-e slots for graphics cards and next-generation solid-state storage drives. Server Memory Many servers use Error Correcting Code memory, or ECC DRAM, that adds tolerance for data corruption. ECC DRAM is not compatible with motherboard DIMM slots used for standard DDR4 PC memory.
The number of cores and threads dictates performance for server CPUs. Clock speed, measured in GHz, plays a role in how fast the processor executes instructions, but in terms of functionality for modern servers, frequency does not gauge performance as much. A larger amount of cache memory boosts performance: the cache stores frequently accessed data for faster recall, which speeds up server performance in many situations.
Budget-level dedicated servers and NAS typically have a low-power dual- or quad-core processor (Intel Core i3) typically found in PCs; more expensive servers have CPUs capable of greater processing power are more common in large tower servers and rack models.
Every server is meant for network use. Bandwidth considerations are important; inadequate networking components will sap performance for the system. For virtualized servers, a dual-port or quad-port network interface card (NIC) is recommended for greater connectivity, and a 10 gigabit (Gbe) NIC boosts performance for environments with an increased number of end users.
Enterprise hard drives have built in fault tolerance and a faster interface (SAS) than those in consumer drives (SATA) SAS drives have a premium price point. Make sure to note compatibility when you buy storage drives, as SATA and SAS drives are not interchangeable. Other interfaces for server storage include USB 3.0 for external drive connections, and Thunderbolt, the high-speed Apple interface.
Medium and large companies usually store IT infrastructure in server racks. Rack servers have chasses designed for stacking vertically in server racks. Size measurements for standard rack servers are designated by units starting at 1U, which has a width of 19 inches and 1.75 inches in height. Servers range from 1U-4U. The standard height for a server enclosure is 42U tall.
In most cases a home server is used for storing digital media and streaming files to devices connected on a home network, and offers a so-called private cloud solution for home users to store files accessible from beyond the network. This is typically done with a NAS or single use server that sits on a home network. NAS servers have simple graphical user interface (GUI) operating systems proprietary to the manufacturer; there are open source options like FreeNAS which are popular.
Windows Storage Server offers value for a SMB user that uses a file server in a professional capacity for the use-as-needed Microsoft support that comes with the management software. It also supports streaming media to Xbox 360 and other digital display devices that can access a home network.
The first thing to figure out when buying a server is, "what exactly do I need this server for?" Figuring out your specific needs is crucial to getting the most cost-effective server performance for your business. Knowing exactly how much power or storage you need now can help you save money on initial costs. While you should pad your needs with the model you are purchasing now, upgrades to your server may be possible as your business needs grow.
When sourcing a server for your business, you have two general options: lease or buy. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages. This decision typically boils down to long-term costs and maintenance needs.
The first thing to know when talking about server memory is that it is NOT storage. Memory has nothing to do with the amount of data you can store on your server. Instead, the amount of memory available has a direct correlation to the performance level of the server.
Hard drives for servers share many things with their PC counterparts. Like consumer devices, server hard drives come in forms such as SSD and HDD. SSD or Solid-State Drives are always faster than HDDs, because they are a flash-based technology with no moving parts. Like memory, knowing exactly how much storage you need is crucial to not overspending on a server.
Offering the cheapest cost per GB storage, these drives are not ideal for primary file storage due to slow transfer speeds. These are best used for data that is accessed occasionally, not daily. SATA drives can be either an HDD or SSD, but SSD solutions tend to be very expensive to implement in server use.
Server operating systems (OS) are similar to their PC counterparts and come in multiple versions. Unlike a PC OS, however, server operating systems have more features designed around server functions and are less user-friendly to the untrained. Here are some of the most common server operating systems:
Windows Home Server. Designed for homes with multiple machines that wish to share files, automate backups, and enable remote access. This basic OS is only suitable for a smaller business that has few server needs.
Windows Server 2019. Some servers come with Windows Server pre-installed, which can save you some money on initial cost. This popular operating system has three configurations to help meet your business needs:
Incredibly user-friendly, macOS has seen a rise in popularity in recent years. The ease of use and lack of regular maintenance makes it a good starter choice for any company with basic server needs like automated backup or application sharing. macOS can share files with Windows machines, but make sure employees are comfortable with the new OS before making your final decision.
As with purchasing any expensive tech, obtaining the proper warranty is critical in ensuring your device is always functioning properly. When buying a server, remember to investigate all possible manufacturer warranties. Having a third party maintain and upgrade your equipment will save you time and human resources. When leasing a server, all maintenance and scheduled upgrades should be handled by the lease provider, allowing the business to focus on core work.
The cost of a server is more than just a one-time payment. Tasks like routine maintenance, scheduled upgrades, and troubleshooting various issues can cost your company valuable time and money. Remember to always account for these costs when shopping for a server. Having a budget in place based upon your needs is the best way to make sure you do not overspend on unnecessary features when buying a server. Just don't forget to account for continuing costs as a part of that budget.
Be sure to consider the specs we mentioned above and how they might apply to your specific needs. Just remember that the server you purchase is not set in stone. Most servers can be upgraded and customized as your needs evolve.
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