Buying an advanced server

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Growing enterprises must ensure they have efficient IT in place that helps them maximise their core business processes. An advanced server solution will offer an IT foundation that a business can be built upon.

Enterprises that need more powerful back office support, database querying or an exchange servers for internal and external communications, will need to consider advanced server platforms to ensure their businesses can remain competitive in their market sector.

Before considering a move to rack or blade servers, there a number of tower systems that IT managers can consider. These include the small business server range from Dell that offer full Windows Sever 2012 support coupled with a flexible hardware configuration.

As Dell advises: "Next generation servers have the processing power to make the most of the latest productivity applications. They also address power and space constraints by supporting virtualisation software that consolidates applications and increases system usage levels."

Businesses that are expanding will begin to think that their existing server platform – perhaps based on a small tower system – is no longer adequate for their needs.

In this situation IT managers can still maintain their familiar tower server configurations, but move to more powerful machines. These servers tend to divide into general back office servers, exchange servers and database servers that are tailored to specific tasks.

Expanding networks, more data

Among the candidates for more advanced server platforms are companies with expanding networks and volumes of data getting closer to the storage capacity. This doesn't necessarily mean moving directly to rack or edge server technology, as there are advanced tower servers that can offer an easy upgrade path, and don't require the additional expense of installing additional infrastructure to accommodate a rack server.

An example of a general back office server is the Dell PowerEdge T110 II, which features 1-socket, dual or quad-core Intel processors, up to four hard drives, four DDR3 DIMM slots, basic system management and an eSATA external storage connectivity option. Servers like these offer a powerful step from small tower servers, yet are economical to buy and maintain.

The key to identifying which type of advanced server is ideal for your business is to understand where the stress points have become apparent across your company network. If bottlenecks in data throughput have become apparent, advanced servers with fast processors are ideal.

If analysing big data is a focus for your business, advanced servers will often have highly configurable memory allocation. An example here is the Dell PowerEdge T320, which has 16 hot-swap hard drives to give you flexible memory options.

Trying to guess the memory configuration that will be needed is difficult. With the flexible memory options built into an advanced server, you have the breathing space to expand the available memory as and when it is needed, and at low cost.

It is important though, to look slightly beyond your immediate needs. As businesses rapidly expand, their IT infrastructure must also expand with them. When specifying an advanced server, always build in some expansion space within the server you choose. This allows your business to grow safe in the knowledge that it has a solid server foundation.