Do you know why you need a server? If not, please check out our article entitled “Ad-Hoc Networks versus Managed Networks“.
Once you’ve decided a server is the right thing for your business, your next decision is whether to have a physical server located inside your business premises, a virtual server located on the internet, commonly referred to as “in the cloud”, or a combination of both.
On Premise Physical Servers
A physical server is a large and especially reliable computer with a certain amount of fault tolerance and a specialist operating system that is installed in your office. This is the traditional approach to computing that many businesses still take. A server like this gives you enhanced security and ownership, though you are exposed to potential hardware faults which can be fixed quickly provided you also purchase a suitable warranty. Physical servers are faster to access –particularly for users that have a lot of files or large files to handle – faster to administer – and are immune in many ways to internet outages. If you have a poor quality internet connection it can be a challenge granting remote workers reliable access to data on the server if your office has a poor-quality internet connection, this can be resolved by means of a “hybrid” solution described below. A physical server has a high up front cost which will typically be between £1,500 and £5,000 depending upon specification, warranty and accessories.
A virtual “cloud hosted” server is a software based server which is hosted on third–party infrastructure and connected to a directly to the infrastructure of the internet. It’s also usual to install a VPN layer in front of the server which adds a little to the cost but enhances security. Such servers lend themselves well to businesses that do not have a traditional physical office. By their nature they can be slower to connect to when compared with a physical server. Virtual servers do not suffer from ‘hardware’ problems in the same way as a physical server as they are hosted in data centres with redundant systems. A virtual server has a significantly lower up–front cost but attracts monthly ongoing costs not associated with physical servers. Our cloud servers have a basic cost between £126 and £690 per month depending upon the specification and features you need. Please see our IT\norwich Cloud Servers page for more details.
Hybrid Server Environment
While many businesses will be able to choose between “off premise” and “on premise” servers, some businesses have a mix of remote and office based users and that can benefit from both types of servers to accommodate their needs. It’s possible to have both types of servers working together, we call this a hybrid environment.