In the cloud
Cloud-based services have of course had a huge impact on how small businesses in particular manage their data. When the time comes to buy a new server, for many businesses this is seamless and invisible, as they simply expand their cloud-based server capacity.
"The cloud has definitely changed the attitude SMEs have to server technology," commented Roger Keenan, MD of London data centre City Lifeline. "The modern business has various requirements such as file and network security, securing reliability, centralising data storage and virus management, which can be met by the implementation of the cloud.
"For businesses in London, space for servers is expensive, as is the security needed to protect them. The cloud therefore opens up opportunities to save in terms of budget, something small businesses will be highly interested in doing."
Lucidica's Thomas Jeffs also stated: "At Lucidica we're now deploying servers to less than 25% of companies we used to deploy to. Within Accelerator, a London-based incubator which supports startups providing office space, mentorship, training, a community of likeminded entrepreneurs and introductions to investors, we have decreased the number of servers within the onsite comms room by 75%. Without doubt every new client we meet mentions 'cloud' servers/storage for their future IT and where they want to move."
And the seamless expansion that virtualisation offers has been fully embraced by the small business community, as Alexander Vierschrodt, head of commercial management server at 1&1 Internet explained to TechRadar Pro: "Most SMEs do not spend much time thinking about virtualisation itself anymore. On-premise hardware virtualisation makes a costly proposition as most servers are oversized to be used for one task only. Virtualisation helped to optimise resource usage by splitting one physical piece of hardware into many virtual servers.
"In the cloud, this does not matter anymore as these considerations are not necessary because SMEs can seamlessly scale resources, ordering the exact amount of computing power and storage space that is needed for the task at hand."
When you consider that the cost of buying a licence to host Microsoft email on your own server is more expensive than hosting this email service in the cloud, small businesses have an easy choice if they are looking for a new email server.
Riverbank IT's Scott Rundle concluded: "Virtualisation is a big part of IT these days. Microsoft allows you to utilise two Virtual Servers for every copy of Windows Server 2012 R2, which allows you to take advantage of server virtualisation in a big way.
"Due to this licence feature it is rare for us to provide a client with just one physical server running multiple roles. It is far more beneficial for us and the client to run in virtualisation as it becomes easier to backup, migrate and restore when running in a virtual layer."
There is little doubt that the cloud and virtual servers are in the future of every small business, as the economic and efficiency cases for their use is overwhelming. Taking the time to understand how this server option can be managed is essential to ensure the power it offers is fully realised by your business.