Do I really need a server, or can I use a desktop?
Desktop memory setups are not designed to be as stable and fault tolerant. If a desktop hiccups and needs a reboot, or just has an application or service fail, it’s generally no big deal. If a service dies on a server, it may take down your entire operation.
A server usually has a RAID controller card to manage multiple hard drives and will have enterprise level hard drives rather than consumer grade. Servers usually have multiple network ports for link aggregation or fail over and multiple power supplies for redundancy. The price difference between a server and a desktop isn’t so great once you consider these differences.
Should I buy a server, or can I build one myself?
Custom built servers should only be used in non-production environments or if you are a large datacenter with direct links to your suppliers.
Here are some reasons why you should buy:
Computer parts can be hard to get, and sometimes have different revision numbers for the same part. This isn’t a big deal for custom desktops as their setup is much more simplistic but can cause compatibility issues which will greatly increase downtime.
When you buy from a manufacture, you also buy the warranty and support that they offer from a single vendor. If a component fails, you can call and have onsite repair services either same day or next day, If you build it, you’d have to contact the vendor of the component to get the RMA started, wait to have it approved, box it up, ship it back, wait to receive the replacement part delivered.
Manufactures spend a great deal of time and money to test and ensure that all of the components that they are putting into a system are tested to work well together without error. If an update should be released that affects system compatibility, it is up to the manufacture to assist you with a resolution. If you build a system yourself, you must perform the problem resolution yourself.
Buying from a manufacture provides you with a centralized point to go for updates. If you build a server, you typically have to update the components individually whereas with a manufacture, the updates can be automatically configured.
If you want to build a server to save money, build it for a lab environment where uptime is not an issue. But for your production environment, purchase a system that has been tested and is supported.
We at Advanced Systems Solutions have helped thousands of organizations to compare new server options, so contact us if you need any assistance or have any questions. We love to help!
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Disclaimer: The above information is not intended as technical advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an IT Professional before acting or relying on any information in this communiqué.