In many cases, a small office makes a decision about a server solution that isn’t actually what they need. Windows Standard Server will meet their needs, but it’s an expensive solution with generic features not specifically designed for a small office. In some cases, a simple client computer (Windows XP or Windows Vista) dropped into a corner, to act like a server, can provide a file sharing solution for a small office, but there is lack of security, throughput and simplified management.
There are certainly a lot of things to consider for a small office server. NetworkComputing.com has an article on all server hardware you should be thinking about. But what server solution do you use to take advantage of all this hardware? One not extremely well known solution is Windows Small Business Server.
Windows Small Business Server includes a simplified management experience, On Premise e-mail and web sharing content, as well as exceptional remote access functionality, all for close to the same price as that Generic Windows Standard Server, perfect for a small office wanting to centralize on a server. Small Business Server is specifically designed to provide a a simple solution for Small Offices (of less than 75 computer users), and provides plenty of features for end-users, administrators, and new with the 2008 version, customers via Office Live.
Not sure about where to start? try contacting one of the Small Business Specialists. Small Business Specialists dedicate their lives to putting servers into small offices. In fact, Dana Epp, one of the security focused specialists, and also a Most Valuable Professional, as a blog and discusses the top 10 reasons to get SBS 2008. Some great features include:
- Managing rooms and equipment in your company providing a simplified scheduling technique
- Remote access to your desktop in the company securely
- Simplified user management through templates
- Directory quota’s to ensure company data on company
- Centralized data storage
- Secure and private email solutions
… and many more items.
Windows XP and Windows Vista, while able to share files, aren’t set up for performance access to shares for a small office, and Windows Server Standard server doesn’t provide simplified management, on premise email and easy to understand remote access for your office workers.
In addition to Windows based solutions, you can consider other operating systems, like a small office Linux server. but you have to ask yourself, what’s the cost of ownership? The biggest problem I have with Linux is total cost of ownership. Sure the solution is “free”, like a free puppy up front, and it seems like a good deal, but how much time do you want to spend on It versus running your business? Small Business Server opens an easy to use, friendly console right when you log in. on Red Hat, you have to type “control-panel” at a shell window? I mean if you want to make a change to the server 2 years later, do you want to re-learn how to use the system? Don’t get me wrong, I like Linux as much as the next person, but I have to re-learn it every time I touch it. The article talks about cost, and it’s true they talk about hardware costs only, and no operating system cost, but costs are not calculated in money only, they are calculated in time. Computer hardware is cheap compared to a salary for someone to manage a server. I just don’t believe Linux works as a small office server since you essentially need to keep an IT person on staff to manage it.