Supporting Small Businesses: Server Solutions

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Leaders in innovation and creativity, small businesses are the unnoticed foundation of industry. Every successful global enterprise has to start somewhere. And small businesses employ more IT professionals than you might think. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, around 92 percent of all IT professionals work in non-IT companies, and 80 percent of those professionals are working for small companies.

 

So it’s no surprise that major IT vendors are increasingly developing marketing strategies designed to target small-business technology buyers. This month, we’ll take a closer look at some of the hardware and software designed specifically for small-business users.

 

Hewlett-Packard recently announced a plan to build on its leadership in the small and medium-sized business (SMB) market through its Smart Office initiative. HP is offering the HP ProLiant ML110 server and the HP ProCurve 700w1 series. The ProLiant ML110 is a tower server featuring either an Intel Pentium 4 or Intel Celeron processor and internal storage capacity up to 320 GB. Without software, these servers will cost you less than $1,000. Or you can choose to purchase one with Windows Small Business Server 2003 installed for a bit more money. For more on HP’s small-business server options, see www.hp.com/ sbso/busproducts_servers.html.

 

Dell’s entry-level SC Value servers provide simple and affordable options for small businesses. The PowerEdge 400SC, 600SC and 1600SC are all designed specifically for smaller businesses. The PowerEdge 1600SC is a high-speed server providing dual processor speed and high availability. Dell also offers high-performance tower servers and rack-optimized servers for small businesses. The PowerEdge 750, for example, is a rack-optimized, single-processor server with up to 500 GB of internal storage. Learn more at www1.us.dell.com/content/default.aspx?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd.

 

Gateway offers a couple of series of servers for the SMB market. Its tower servers range from the 920 Series entry-level general-purpose server up to the 980 series for workgroups. It also offers some pricier rack options, including the dual-Intel-Xeon-processor-capable 955 Series. Find out more server choices at www.gateway.com/work/products/sb_srv_catalog.shtml.

 

IBM may be known as one of the big guns of the tech world, but it’s also targeting small businesses with its eServer xSeries 225 (www.pc.ibm.com/us/eserver/ xseries/x225.html) model servers, which provide high functionality and remote-access capabilities. The eServer xSeries 225 models are scalable up to two processors and provide as much as 876 GB of internal storage.

 

Like so many other vendors, Sun has made its name selling servers to enterprise clients, but it’s not ignoring the lucrative small-business market either. Sun offers several lower-priced, low-end servers in its Sun Fire and Netra lines.

 

Other companies offering small-business servers include Apple (www.apple.com), Fujitsu (www.fujit su.com) and Lexmark (www.lexmark.com), which offers a small-business-sized print server.

 

It’s not a server, but it’s worth mentioning Check Point’s Safe@Office appliance for small businesses. With fewer (or no) IT personnel, small offices are often more vulnerabe to hackers. Safe@Office 110, 225 and 225U are all designed for the SMB segment. These appliances feature a stateful inspection firewall, remote-access VPN, four-port switch and preset security rules.

 

Probably one of the best-known small-business server operating systems comes from Microsoft. Its Windows Small Business Server 2003 (www.microsoft.com/
windowsserver2003/sbs/default.mspx
) allows small businesses to host their own e-mail services and provides a host of basic network functions like file and print sharing and the ability to run Office applications, as well as special features like remote access.

 

Novell Small Business Suite 6 (www.novell.com/prod ucts/smallbiz) is a networking solution suite, including full versions of Novell products and featuring licenses for up to 100 users. In addition to NetWare 6.5, the suite includes GroupWise 6.5, Novell’s collaboration software; BorderManager 3.8, which provides network security; and ZENworks for Desktops 4, which helps manage applications, hardware inventory and remote control. Novell has recently moved aggressively into the Linux market, and reflecting this, the suite includes open-source software like Apache Web server, Tomcat and MySQL.

 

Other server software options for small businesses can be found through Red Hat (www.redhat.com), Sun (www.sun.com), Oracle (www.oracle.com), Apple (www.apple.com) and more.

 

By choosing carefully among server hardware and software options, IT professionals and consultants responsible for keeping the networks of small businesses running can ensure their systems are available, reliable and secure.

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