Tag Archive for 'Foundations'

21st century servers designed specifically for small business

Do you know what this term means: peer-to-peer? How about this one: server-based? These are terms that describe how computer environments are structured.

Peer-to-peer means stand-alone PCs are at every workstation and are only connected to each other, if at all, over a local network, typically to deliver Internet connection. This is de-centralized management of computer activity, where each PC has its own programs and files, plus performs its own data back-up and security. File sharing is possible, but not very elegant.

Peer-to-peer is the default environment for small businesses because of the way most of us begin and grow: one desktop at a time.

A server-based environment is the next level up from peer-to-peer. Growing small businesses find that a server set-up provides more control for file management and sharing, data back-up and security, plus efficiency and cost-control when growth calls for added workstations.

A server is a computer that is stripped of everything but the central processing unit (CPU) and a hard drive, and is designed to “serve” workstations that have the monitors, keyboards, etc. A server-based system means there is at least one server that delivers processing power to multiple workstations. All programs, applications, files, storage, back-up and security resides on these central units, instead of at the desktop. And file sharing? Servers were born to share files the way Tiger Woods was born to play golf.

Here’s the next question: How does a small business know when to make the leap from peer-to-peer to server?

Having a server configuration has long been seen as something for big businesses. And historically, a peer-to-peer environment had to be so unproductive that getting rid of its operational pain had to be worse than the conversion challenges that came with making the jump to a server system.

Until now. Enter the server appliance.

This device is a multi-purpose box with a server in it designed to virtually eliminate conversion headaches. Just plug the appliance into an electric outlet and then plug your own local area network into it and bada-bing, bada-bam you’re server-based, baby, with all of the advantages of central data back-up, security, file sharing – even a phone system. Plus, when you add a new person, you don’t have to buy new software programs for the added workstation..

Several IT companies offer server appliances, including IBM’s Lotus Foundations, Iomega, HP, just to name a few. Most work with a local small business computer company, so contact one in your area and let them help you decide if it’s time to make the jump to a server platform and which system is best for you.

Small business owners, in the 21st century you don’t have to be big to be server-based.

Recently, I talked about peer-to-peer and server-based on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show. Take a few minutes to listen, and as always, be sure to leave a comment.




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