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Cloud and virtual servers have matured to become a key part of enterprise IT infrastructure, thanks to their overwhelming ability to improve efficiencies that can leverage massive financial savings.
But knowing how a server needs to be managed is the first step to working out how to maximise its power and potential to change your business for the better.
Consider the following four issues before deciding which server will best position your company for growth.
1) Need alignment
If your business relies heavily on emails, you should think about getting a dedicated email server. On the other hand, if high levels of documents are shared in your firm, then a file-sharing server would be the wisest choice.
The print server, finance system and key customer management system are further functions that will need to be considered when you calculate allocations for storage, processing power and memory in a bid to make that all important server selection.
Today processors are essentially a number of CPUs brought together, with a quad-core processor acting like four CPUs. Accordingly, your purchase decision will be based on the number of cores and clock speed in GHz.
2) Operating system
Businesses need an operating system that will keep applications stable and operating smoothly. Servers that meet these requirements need operating systems that can manage the many thousands of requests for data that will be handled over a typical dialogue.
Without an on-site IT team, specialist operating system support will need to be outsourced. This may come through the vendor you choose to go with as part of the server package. Check service level agreements to ensure that they meet all requirements for your business.
3) Cloud service providers
Cloud-based servers can enable businesses to improve efficiencies in a seamless and invisible way so as to access a wide range of money- and time-saving benefits. These services need to be used as though the server were on your own premises, so ensure that the vendor you choose will be able to guarantee the security levels you need. Speak to other vendor clients, consider service levels and the company’s reputation before signing any contracts.
4) Virtualisation and hypervisors
Positioned above the physical server base-layers of the processor, memory and storage, is the hypervisor. This stripped-down operating system behaves like a manager, attributing hardware resources to virtual servers in the layers above. The process grants flexibility without requiring further investment in multiple physical servers.
Each of those virtual servers is isolated from the others, even though they all sit on the same physical server, so if one virtual server malfunctions, the others remain intact.
In terms of which hypervisor to use, firms running Microsoft server applications will favour a Hyper-V solution optimised for Windows server. Further support may be needed for companies running a more diverse set of applications.
It is also important to remember that if all applications are being run from a single server, then a single point of failure will appear. Hypervisors replicate virtual servers across various physical hosts easily, so even though hardware costs may increase, confidence will rise too because hardware failure won’t bring the business down.
The implementation of new server technology has to be done in an intelligently. For some firms, a full step to the cloud may not be the answer.
Making the right choice may seem daunting at first, but many server platforms are available for both larger and smaller businesses. Knowing how your company uses data will be the first step in making an informed and correct decision.