What is a Server?
Server Definition: A server refers to a piece of hardware or computer program that provides service to other devices and their users. That device or user is referred to as the client.
The server provides resources, programs, and data to the client so that they can operate more efficiently and effectively. They also allow multiple computers to connect and access resources, like files needed to run your business.
One server can manage multiple clients, and one client can rely on multiple servers – it all depends on how you set up your network.
Servers for small business
Servers are an integral part of the tech stack for any small business. These high-powered computers are designed to help your company process and manage devices, network data, and other information systems.
Physical servers are kept at your business location, and they can be upgraded or customised to meet your specific needs. So, what exactly can these machines do?
For starters, they can help you host a website that requires a large amount of data or establish a shared drive for your employees. A server hosts and processes intensive workloads that a traditional computer would not be able to handle.
Think of them as the framework that powers your organisation and its network. Without the resources that servers provide, it would be nearly impossible to maximise scalability and efficiency. They are a critical component of a solid business continuity plan.
The boosted RAM and CPU power allow small businesses to manage growing network workloads while ensuring that systems are online available when needed the most. Small businesses can also save money in the long run by investing in servers since they reduce the stress placed on network devices.
Three Types of Servers
There are three different types of servers - rack, tower, and blade - and the best server for your business will depend on your needs. Here is a quick rundown of each server type, including how they work and what makes them unique.
A rack mount server is a general-purpose option that can be neatly stacked into a metal frame. These mountable and rectangular machines can provide computing power for your business and support your network - while still optimising space usage.
Rack servers are just what they sound like: hardware that is mounted inside a rack. They are some of the top solutions for server reliability, as they can support a broad range of computing infrastructure and applications.
Each rack server is stacked vertically in a metal frame to help your business save floor space in your data center. Think about it this way – the more equipment you can stack, the more you can house on-site.
Rack servers are standardised and measured in units. That means you can choose heights that range from 1U to 10U or higher. These racks can also hold other devices, so you never have to worry about wasted space.
What are the benefits of rack servers?
Each rack server is self-contained, so it has everything you need to run as a networked or stand-alone system. They have their own memory, CPU, and power source, so they are perfect for running intensive computing operations.
This server solution is also very efficient and can be expanded to add additional processors, storage, or memory. If you need to hot-swap rack servers for redundancy and backups, it's very simple to manage as well.
Tower servers are the most common choice for small businesses and individuals. They have a stand-alone chassis design and are incredibly lightweight. Similarly, they are easy to configure and are designed for customisation and to accomplish specific tasks, so they only include minimal components. making them ideal for use as a small office server.
You won't get high RAM or graphics cards with a standard tower server, but you can choose to update these peripherals later. That means if you want to use your tower servers for general-purpose needs first, then upgrade them to serve as communication, web, or network servers.
These systems look like desktop towers so you can store them in a similar matter. Each will require its own monitor, keyboard, and mice since they do not share input devices. Unlike rack servers, they do not stack in a metal frame. You must open each enclosure to work on these servers, and they will take up more space in your data center.
What are the benefits of tower servers?
There are many benefits to tower servers, including efficient scalability and lowered cooling costs. Since tower servers are minimally equipped when you buy them, you can choose how to upgrade them moving forward. That also means they are less expensive than a fully loaded server.
Rack servers are densely packed and require more effort to eliminate heat so tower servers can save you money in the long run.
Another type of server is a blade server. These unique devices house multiple modular circuit boards, and each one is called a blade. They are often considered the best server for small business since they don't require memory, CPUs, or network controllers. Blade servers can also fit within a rack frame.
Blade servers refer to enclosures that hold multiple modular circuit boards. Each of these circuit boards is called a server blade, and most of them are just memory, CPUs, and network controllers.
You can find some options with internal storage drives, but all other components like switches and ports are shared through the chassis. They generally fit rack unit measurements so you can store them in a manner very similar to rack servers.
What are the benefits of blade servers?
These systems have impressive processing power but do not take up a lot of space. This sets it apart from rack and tower servers, which can eat up the real estate in your data center rather quickly. Additionally, the chassis can supply power to multiple blade servers which can reduce your energy spend.
In other words, when you compare blade servers to other options, you get more processing power for less space and energy consumption.
With blade servers, maintenance and centralised monitoring are simplified. You can leverage hot swapping to boost system availability, so your business can keep operating.
How a Server Helps a Small Business
Servers are key to the success of small businesses. While you may get away with running your company on one or two computers at the start, it is not feasible to grow and scale your operations without servers.
Once you start hiring more employees or move into a larger facility, you will need a way to manage your data safely and efficiently. Transferring files via email or USB drive not only increases your security risks but also slows down your processes. You don't want files to be accidentally lost or fall into the wrong hands!
With a server, you can seamlessly store and share files. Likewise, you can use them to host your email, E-commerce store, SaaS software, accounting systems, and more. They work like a data center that ensures you always have a secure connection to the files you need to run your business.
Servers are also important for small businesses because they allow them to back up important information. Storing your data on a server ensures that you won't lose valuable details if there is a hardware failure elsewhere.
You may be wondering - why should you invest in the best server for small business instead of placing your detain the cloud or another company's machine?
One of the main reasons that your company should consider investing in a rack mount server or similar solution is that it increases your security. These devices have built-in protection like firewalls that help prevent unauthorised users from accessing your data.
Additionally, since you have control over the server at your physical location, you can also implement your own security standards. For example, you can determine which employees will have administrative access and don't have to worry about other companies sharing that space on a cloud platform.
Plus, even if your internet service goes down, you can still use your servers and access critical files.
A server is a computing solution that provides services to other devices and programs on a network. They make it easy for your organization to host a secured email server, manage your online store, and develop a shared drive for internal users.
Remember that it's always best to have data on your machines – it allows you to keep that data secured and eliminate your reliance on the internet.
At Lenovo, we have small office server systems that can help your business scale and grow. Our server deals mean that you don't have to go over budget to implement the tech stack you need. Whether you need a rack, blade, or tower server, we have you covered. Get more of your server questions answered when you check our small business server buying guide. And for even more support for your small business needs, sign up for a free membership to Lenovo Pro for access to business pricing across a large range of Lenovo servers, laptops, desktops, monitors, software and more.