What to bear in mind, when purchasing a server

Digital server capacities are often underestimated. The user expects that the functionality will stay smooth, despite the continuously growing volume of e-mails and the encouragingly ever-growing customer database. If there are breakdowns such as frequent server failures and poorer performance with simultaneous access to the system, then it is high time you opted for a new server. Even online shop operators are well advised to buy additional server capacity.

Server rack

Server purchase options

The digital information that is generated in large quantities daily in medium-sized enterprises can only be processed without disruption to this extent, if an appropriately dimensioned server is available. If the capacities available in a company are insufficient, a more efficient server must be purchased. If you have IT specialists in your company who can also take care of the setup and maintenance of the server, you are well advised to buy directly from the manufacturer. If you didn’t employ IT professionals, it is best to contact an IT service provider of your choice. There you will receive individual advice and the right server for your operational needs. Alternatively, you can use the cloud. In this case, the data is hosted in a data center and you rent into the existing infrastructure according to your needs.

Which server is the ideal one?

We cannot give a generalized answer to this question, because there are various servers for different requirements. Apart from size and efficiency, power consumption, cooling capability and operational safety are important purchasing criteria. The deciding factor is the workload that will be handled in the long run. Before purchasing the device, ask yourself which applications will run on it in the future and how many of such applications there will be. In addition to database and file servers, there are also storage and application servers and servers available for several different applications (all-round devices). Highly specialized servers are generally more expensive. In addition, you still have the option of running different applications via a virtualized standard server. This allows you to make even better use of the system. However, you need the help of an IT specialist, as well as additional software.

If many employees access the company network, it is advisable to purchase a server with several powerful processors. To lower the resulting higher power costs, it is best to buy a server with energy-efficient processors. If you are one of those companies where a potential server outage does not only result in revenue loss, but major security deficiencies, then you need an uninterruptible power supply and backup storage, in addition to a (high-priced) high-availability server. To ensure high reliability, it is best to arrange with the manufacturer for long-term 24/7 technical support and maintenance of all equipment. If you use a data center, purchasing a more or less large rack server is the method of choice.

If you would like to use a server in the future, first create a requirement profile: You determine which tasks it should fulfill and estimate the approximate volume of data. Although you often benefit from more favorable terms when purchasing larger server capacities, in retrospect they have higher maintenance and energy costs. For example, cooling the server can lead to unforeseen costs. This is because costs for unused storage capacity are also incurred. If you already have your own server, you should only buy devices that can easily be integrated into the existing IT infrastructure. For most users, compatibility with existing systems and uncomplicated administration are sufficient. A permanent 100% performance plays a rather subordinate role for them.

Processors, CPU cores, memory and hard disk space, casing

A very powerful processor is required, especially for applications with high computing power and high data volume. For traditional applications such as e-mailing, data storage and streaming, the performance of a normal Intel Pentium, Core i3 and Celeron CPU is completely sufficient. The newer server models, in particular, work silently, are energy-saving, and do not require strong cooling. Intel Xeon E3 CPUs are ideal for computationally intensive data processing. The Xeon E5 and Xeon E7 provide even more performance for even more applications and network users. If you plan to use virtualization software or if you work with extensive database software, then you will not be able to do without this.

Normal servers for files and emails are equipped with a 4, 6 or 8 core CPU. If you have a lot of different tasks in your company that produce huge data streams and access many people, you will be better off with a 16 or 20 core processor. However, before you buy such a high-end server, let your IT department see if you should instead opt for larger 3U or 4U hard drive storage.

In addition, the memory plays a big role. 8 GB of RAM memory is sufficient for private use or only a few users. For larger networks however, it is better to have a 16 to 32 GB of RAM. High-performance networks with a large number of users require more than 128 GB of RAM. Also note the volume of your hard disk space before you buy the server. Large networks with many data-intensive applications require a lot of storage space (64 or 72 TB). Dedicated application servers have less storage space (for example, 5 or 8 TB).

Also consider the type of case you buy for your server. Since, this does not only ensure a needs-based cooling, but should be such that the server can be expanded in future, as needed. There are few options for installing additional hard disks and expansion cards in 1U racks: only four 3.5-inch or ten 2.5-inch hard disks can be used in them. If you need large expansion cards, it is advisable to buy a 3U or even better 4U server.

Of course, these racks are larger, and have large fans. In principle, the more extensive the data streams to be worked on, the more powerful the server fan should be. Otherwise, the processor would be damaged by the permanently high temperatures.

Tip: If data security is particularly important in your organization, make sure that power supplies and other components take over the work of malfunctioning components in the event of a system failure.

PrimeServer von Prime im Büro

Buy servers at Prime Computer AG

Prime Computer AG, based in St.Gallen, manufactures servers and other hardware products and installs them with certified partners. With a server from Prime Computer AG, you not only optimize the operational security of your IT system, but also significantly reduce your operating costs. Get expert advice from us, on how to find the right server, PrimeServer is also suitable for an office without additional server room because it works silently. The PrimeServer is extensible. In addition, the devices work even at ambient temperature of 40 °C, without additional AC system.


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