business servers

Questions to ask when buying a server

Posted on

When it comes to choosing refurbished servers, the clue is in the name. This is a piece of equipment that should serve your needs completely, both now and in the future, not one that you have to adapt your needs to fit the capabilities of. To make sure you get exactly the right server for you, there are a number of questions you need to ask.

What is the server for?

Refurbished servers can be used for a wide variety of functions and will often have a number of different purposes. For example, your server can provide secure email, file sharing, document collaboration, e-commerce, CRM and business data back-up, to name but a few. Virtual desktops for remote workers have also become much more important in the work from home world.
When choosing a server, it is important to think about exactly what it will be used for and to rank these functions in order of importance. You may be able to combine them all on one server, or it may be advisable to split functions between a number of servers, each built specifically for their task.

How much storage do you need?

The volume of data you plan to store and process will determine the number and capacity of hard drives or SSDs you need. Always plan ahead to ensure that your storage is scalable, with spare slots and bays for additional memory or hard drives as your business grows.

How much traffic will access the server?

It is important to consider the amount and type of traffic that will use your server. File servers and CRM systems tend to be write intensive, while databases and web servers tend to be read intensive. The volume and type of access will determine how robust your server needs to be. See our article on SSD drives for more details.

Where will the server be located?

Refurbished servers can be tower (like a standard PC unit), rack mounted or blade. Smaller operations, with limited requirements will normally be fine with a tower system, but as your business grows, servers will need their own room with a rack or blade system installed. Rack or blade servers take up less space, but they need more sophisticated cooling, with blade servers the most space efficient but the most expensive to run and keep cool.

Will the server be part of an existing system?

If you are integrating a new server into an existing system, or replacing an old server while using some existing components, then you will have to consider compatibility issues. If this is not possible, remember, ETB Technologies will buy your old server and components from you, providing extra budget for a full system replacement.

What level of support do you need?

It’s important to be aware that not all warranties are equal, and you should check the details carefully, especially if your system is critical to your operations. You can choose online or telephone technical support if you have a competent person in house to act on their advice. If not, you should look at extended warranties, such as the ETB 24/7 4-hour call out warranty, which guarantees a technician on-site to sort your server issues fast. If your server is less crucial to your business, you can choose next business day warranties, or a standard return to base warranty.

What is your server budget?

Once you have established exactly what you need from your server, the next step is to work out the most cost-effective way of meeting those needs. Choosing refurbished equipment can either significantly reduce the cost of your system, or significantly increase the specification you can get for the same price.
Remember, you should not only consider your needs right now, but try to predict your needs up to five years ahead. Compromising on specification now, to save money, could end up costing you much more in the long run if you have to completely replace that system in just a couple of years because it cannot be scaled up as your business grows.

Here to help

At ETB Technologies, we are here to help you every step of the way, whether you know exactly what you want from your server, or you need expert advice to walk you through the options available to you. There is no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to making the right server choice, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if we can be of any assistance.