Though the cloud beckons, retailers, professional services firms, and other small companies still flock to servers. Today, Dell unveiled four new PowerEdge small business server systems designed to help those small and midsized businesses (SMBs) progress along their technology journey with plenty of room to grow.
Undeniably, the IT industry has its head in the clouds. It seems that most of today's innovative startups have gone cloud-native, with not a single server to be seen in co-working spaces or tucked under a standing desk. Your business ambitions are no longer dictated by the hardware you can afford to purchase upfront.
It's a liberating and somewhat romantic notion, but one that doesn't jibe with the experiences and IT requirements of most small businesses, according to Brian Payne, executive director of Dell PowerEdge marketing.
Cloud Servers Versus Onsite Servers
Despite a rapidly maturing cloud computing market, small businesses still wrestle with the relative unknown. Lacking the extensive IT and legal resources of big enterprises, SMBs rarely have the wherewithal to pore over cloud agreements. "There's a due diligence that's required," Payne told Small Business Computing.
Established small businesses generally have a relationship with a value-added reseller (VAR), added Payne. "The VAR knows their business in a way that's different from an amorphous cloud provider."
Cost concerns also wither under closer scrutiny. In terms of hardware, the x86 server market benefits from massive economies of scale that translate into better and cheaper hardware for customers. In Dell's case, the company also offers financing terms that help turn an upfront expenditure into manageable ongoing costs, Payne said.
For those reasons, and the flexibility offered by designing, deploying, and securing an IT infrastructure according to each organization's unique requirements, the small business server is here to stay. Dell designed its latest PowerEdge servers to ensure longevity; hardware includes the latest Intel Xeon E3-1200 v5 and faster DDR4 memory, PCIe 3.0 slots, and the company's high-performance PowerEdge RAID Controller (PERC) 9.
Your First Small Business Server
Among the two single-socket tower servers announced today is the PowerEdge T130. Dell positions the system as a small office and home office (SOHO) environment's initial server investment. "It's a starting point for customers looking for their first server," Payne said.
Replacing the T110, the new T130 features "the latest server management technology," he noted, including full remote configuration and maintenance, providing administrators and VARs with the tools required to configure and maintain the system from any location. For the first time, this entry-level server ships with Dell's OpenManage systems-management suite, which reduces deployment time by up to 40 percent and streamlines overall management.
Moving up the line is the PowerEdge T330. Should a small business owner upgrade to a server closet, he or she can outfit the tower with an adapter that converts it into a 5U "rackable" system. Eight front-facing drive slots make storage expandability simple and redundant power supplies help keep the system running when gremlins attack the electrical grid.
Rounding out Dell's new small business server offerings—the rackmount PowerEdge R230 and R330. Compared to its predecessor, the R220, the new R230 features twice the memory capacity and three times the maximum storage capacity. Dell designed the server for companies "moving into a rack or multi-server environment" to better support their growing business application requirements.
Finally, the PowerEdge R330 is for more tech-savvy small businesses or the branch offices of larger organizations. The server "offers more drives and performance options," including solid-state drives and 15K enterprise-grade hard disk drives along with redundant power supplies, said Payne.
Dell PowerEdge T130, T330, R230 and R330 are available now. Prices officially start at $746 for the T130, but in typical Dell "instant-savings" fashion, businesses in the U.S. can pick up the servers for $509.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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