Server Installation & Configuration

General Data has gained skills and experience rolling out Server hardware and has done so since the company began operation in 2003. A server forms the cornerstone of any computer network and is usually associated with a company growing from small enterprise to medium enterprise. The process involves changing from two or more PC’s grouped together in what is known as a peer-to-peer network to a client-server network (Microsoft: a workgroup to a domain respectively). The move has some complexities.

Distinguishing a Server from Ordinary Computers

Some people think that an ordinary workstation or PC can be used as a server, but this notion is false. By default, a server differs in many ways from an ordinary computer. To begin with, a server will usually be larger in stature, having a case with the greater capacity required to house a mainboard with multiple Processors, multiple GB of RAM and two or more hard disks combined together for redundancy (in what is known as a RAID Array), multiple internal power supplies and usually a baseboard management controller. Also, a server is, in almost all cases, installed with a Server version of the operating system, a prime example being Windows Server 2016 or Linux. Once Windows Server 2016 is installed, possibilities for improved management and administration as well as backup and redundancy are realized.

Why Install a Server

Clients often are obliged to look at moving to a server when the company grows to three or more seats and the staff need share access to files, folders and software. Also, in almost all cases, a customer has software they use that more than one person needs to access at the same time. Also, the person in charge may wish to have a central repository for important data and needs a means of configuring automatic backup. In any of these cases, one may need to get a server procured and configured.

Typical Scenario – New Accounting Software

ABC Company has 7 employees, including a comptroller and has just hired a bookkeeper. The General Manager and Comptroller agree that a new accounting system is required in order to produce up-to-the minute statements, produce reports and track work in progress. At this point they have no server and had been running their accounting software off of a workstation. Because the bookkeeper is going to begin making ledger entries, they need a new central location to operate the new accounting software so that two people can access it at the same time. For this reason ABC Company would procure the services of an IT Professional to acquire a server, install and configure it. Once a server is installed, the new accounting software can be installed in multi-user mode thus the comptroller and bookkeeper can run it at the same time, with info being updated real-time on the server. Server backup is also now a possibility as workstations may be shut down for the evening and servers are almost always left running 24/7.


“Are Servers Expensive?”

Yes and No. What is spent on a server will be a derivative of how large your operation is and what you wish for throughput and performance. That said, the cost of server hardware has come down in recent years with manufacturers like Dell, Hewlett Packard (a.k.a. HP) and Lenovo offering entry-level options at a reasonable price. The more features added in terms of redundancy and disaster prevention as well as performance and space considerations will affect the price.

“We already have a server but want to move to a new one…can this be done with minimal downtime?”

Yes….definitely. This is made possible by the features built-into the Windows Server operating system. With the right knowledge and training, a qualified IT Professional will be able to install a new server and take a step-by-step approach to migrating the roles, data and settings. The end result is being able to phase-in the new server and phase-out the old one gracefully. The process can be complex but is designed to be able to be carried out while the staff are present and working; this reduces the need for downtime in the office. Contact General Data today for more information on this process.

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