Buying multi-application and back-up servers

Look for a blend of efficiency and security

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Single use servers can be great for entry-level functions, but when a company is growing it begins to need the capability to handle multiple applications and provide data back-up and recovery. This is when it needs to look closely at servers that can do a more demanding job.

For smaller businesses where space is at a premium the latest range of compact, tower based servers offer the power that IT managers need coupled with a server that has a small footprint can often provide the solution. But it is important to remember that the data stored in a business is often its most precious asset, so multi-application servers need to not only be efficient, but also secure.

They should be able to not only securely deliver files as they are called, but also ensure that sensitive data is encrypted. And of course with businesses becoming increasingly data rich, protecting that information from loss is a key component of any server deployment.

Those with RAID capability – a redundant array of independent disks - can provide multiple copies of datasets distributed across a number of hard drives, providing a higher level of security for the data.

Functions such as hardware based encryption and authentication can be valuable, along with chassis-intrusion which provides an alert when internal system components have been accessed.

Internal locked down USB ports can help IT administrators to implement other security and recovery options, such as password verification, to help prevent any authorised system access.

It is possible that a server with fast set-up and configuration options, such as the Dell PowerEdge T110 II, can do the job for smaller enterprises with 25 or fewer employees. The company also provides the capability of moving up to models such as the T310 and the T410, which offers automatic back-up and restore, a redundant power supply and six hot-swap hard drives.

Following an upgrade path like this when servers need replacing can be attractive to small businesses.

IT managers that need to evolve their business' server platform to the next level should look closely at how advanced server technology could help their enterprises. Efficiency, data security, back-up, an array of data management features and the all round ability to handle multiple applications are all important in making the investment.