So far in this series of blog posts looking at how to choose a server, we’ve looked at processors and RAM, and then at space and hard drive size. Now, for our final post let’s look at how to future proof your server…
Choose your hard drive size wisely
You need to ensure that the server you choose has the scalability to cope with your future growth, and the best way of doing this is to choose a server with as much storage as possible. We touched on this in Choosing a server – space and hard drive size. You need to be sensible about it, of course. And you need to remain within budget, but as a guideline, work out how much storage you require, and then double it to allow for growth. This may seem like overkill, especially if you’re just starting out, but allowing for growth at this stage will be more cost effective than upgrading your server as and when you need more space. Upgrading your server drives as you go along could bring you all sorts of problems – the extra storage might not fit in your current server, the engineering time involved to make the upgrade could prove costly, you could even end up needing a full server rebuild or replacement. So to minimize cost and prepare for future growth, choose the most (sensibly) affordable storage you can.
Another option, is to look into virtualisation. With virtualisation you run multiple servers virtually, on one physical box. You can find a full explanation here. This is a great way to allow for future growth as you can increase the number of virtual servers that you’re running as your requirements change. So for example, if your number of users increases, your data increases…you can create further virtual servers within that same physical box, even running different operating systems if necessary. Of course, you would need more RAM and the space within the physical box can run out, but virtualisation gives you a superior way to future proof your server. Virtualisation can take place on premise – so the physical box is located within your premises, or it can be in the cloud, which provides an even greater level of flexibility when it comes to scalable solutions.
Look after your server
And finally, to help prolong the lifespan of your server, you need to treat it well. We touched on this in Choosing a server – space and hard drive size. Keep your server in a cool room, with air conditioning if possible. Give it plenty of space, don’t pile boxes, files and papers around it and don’t leave it in a location where it could be accidentally kicked or damaged. If you need to power it down, do so gracefully and use a USP or surge protector to protect it from fluctuations in power.
You server needs to not only meet your current needs, but support your future investments and business development.