We've got a client that is ready to roll on a new server. If it was up to him, he would have had a server delivered next day UPS, and would have wanted to get every bell and whistle possible. While this seemed like a great idea in theory, there were a few tips that I had for him, and for any small business owner who is in his shoes.
TIP 1 - Take an inventory of all the software that you and your employees use in a given day.
This will allow your computer guy to determine what software is compatible with the new server and what isn't. It's a very, VERY important step in the beginning. You may be required to purchase a more up to date program, which can add to the up front cost of the installation. Performing this step will allow you to budget the install.
TIP 2 - Think into the future, three years or more.
Your new server isn't going to be new for long. It's a sad fact of the technology world that we are all aware of. Make sure that the server you order is going to have the performance that you need as your business grows. It may cost you a little extra now, but you wont be complaining that "it's TOO slow" in three years or so.
TIP 3 - What's a domain... ?
There are two ways to setup your new server; Domain and Workgroup. Some versions of Windows Server, like the Small Business Edition, don't give you that choice, so ready CAREFULLY.
A Domain setup allows for tighter security, but every computer in the office MUST be running the business version of Windows XP or Vista for them to connect. This type of setup is a must for a lot of industries that handle sensitive information like doctors offices and businesses that handle credit cards through the computer system (not with a credit card machine).
On the other hand, the Workgroup setup works well in mixed environments, but limits some of the advanced features available on the server. You are given fewer options to truly secure a network environment. If you don't work at Fort Knox, then it's probably not a big deal. Besides, you can always switch to a Domain down the road.
This setup is ideal for a small business who's just getting started but doesn't want to "pull the trigger" on a full setup, saving money and time.
TIP 4 - Expect some downtime.
Not every server installation is as simple as expected. Dont get me wrong, we strive for excellence during every setup, with meticulous plans in place a week before we even arrive. Server installations are usually done over a weekend, which prevents users from being interrupted. However, problems do happen, so make sure that your employees know the situation so they can make the most of the downtime if the install bleeds into the week day.
That should do it. If you have any questions about this post, or want to learn more about Servers, please give us a call anytime.
Hughes I.T. Solutions Inc
Orlando Small Business Server Install