Choosing the best hardware for your office network

Setting up a new office network is both exciting and challenging for a business.

A network can provide very valuable tools for your company to share information among employees and with the entire world while being able to better encrypt and protect data for your company’s safety.

However, selecting the right hardware for your network can be difficult – especially since investment in quality technology can be expensive. Keeping in mind your company’s needs and your employee’s preference and habits, you should try to select a server that meets both their needs and your price point without sacrificing quality or functionality.

Server hardware 101: understanding what kind of technology your company needs

When purchasing a new server, whether for establishing a new network or replacing an old piece of technology, it is important to know what you’re looking for and to select a product that is neither inadequate nor too sophisticated. This will help your company stay on target when budgeting for a new piece of equipment. As servers are designed to run and share multi-user applications that offices depend on – such as an email network, printing capabilities, intra-network communication, and calendars – it is important that you select a product that will meet the speed requirements of your business.

Promoting collaboration in the workplace is easy when you have the essential tools that servers can provide. With a central database for documents, contacts, and other critical data, coworkers may be more inclined to be more communicative and collaborative (that is, if they receive training on your new server hardware system). Companies eager to promote this team atmosphere should select servers with enough space for all users to store data on this centralised system. Servers handle the programs and databases that your employees need in order to share information seamlessly throughout their workday, so if there are many employees or you work in a net-heavy, fast-paced working environment, you should really consider investing in a server that has the ability to support those functions.

Assessing your needs: finding the right server based on your application preferences

There are two major categories in which one could categorise the hardware for servers: technology that is designed for small-scale sharing between ten or fewer computers, backup, and infrequent remote access, and technology that is designed for heavy-duty sharing, frequent backup of many computers, and the ability to manage complex databases and large applications.

Windows Home Server Machines and network access systems fall into the former category, providing simplicity in their operation at an affordable price point. To help get more functionality out of your investment, explore refurbished options such as used Artista equipment provided by trusted resellers. A low-cost model will be able to help you with fast file-sharing, but will not be helpful for running complex programs and applications. Towers, racks and blade servers fall into the latter category. Adding CPU cores increases functionality in these latter options, but can be extremely pricey.

You will also need to invest in cooling technology with these options, since their parts have the tendency to overheat as they are constantly operating and are kept in close proximity with one another. The ability to provide virtualisation can lead to a rapidly escalating price point as well – though it gives a company the fantastic option of giving server the functionality of many servers, it can lead to purchasing a server system that is double or triple your initial cost.

Though it is important to do your own research, do not hesitate to reach out to an IT consultant, who can offer their insights on product capabilities, lifespan estimation, and product pricing.

About the Author

Dan McCarthy is a freelance blogger with a special interest in business and technology, and how the two impact each other. Nowadays he’s writing on behalf BrightStar System, a firm offers network solutions.

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