For many startup companies, designing and assembling your first server room is one of the most daunting and overwhelming tasks you can undertake. After all, the couple hundred square feet in your server room should probably be considered the most sacred square footage in your entire company.
There, your companies’ books, accounts, data, and communication abilities will all coalesce. Choosing the right equipment and design is important and today – we’re going to veer (a little) off topic to help put your mind a little bit more at ease. We’re going to share with you a few tips as to how to set up a server room for your small business. Here’s what to look for, think about and consider as you get your infrastructure up and running. Let’s jump right in!
Find a home for your server
Choosing where your server will actually live is the first important step you’ll take. If it’s a large deployment – you’ll want to consider your building’s structural limitations. Consider things like ventilation as well. Larger server installations will need cooling provided by a fan or a proper cooling system.
In addition, if you’re going to install your servers in a place close to where your employees sit, you’ll need to consider noise control as well – perhaps a sound-dampening features that’ll help muffle sounds so as to not distract them from their work.
Don’t cheap out on mounting equipment
Small businesses almost always starts with cheaper, smaller racks but we’re going to tell you right now – DO NOT do that. Yes, it’s inexpensive up front, but as your business begins to expand, so will your server and data needs. Exposed equipment can become susceptible from dust, spills and other accidents – and the risk of downtime or something going wrong becomes that much more costly.
Invest in rack-mounted equipment that’s designed to house servers with shelves and drawers that are designed for mounting.
Choose a server
Now that you’ve found a home and have your racks set up – you’ll want to invest in your server. To keep things simple – the chances are that you’ll be choosing between one of two types of servers – NAS or Windows Home Severs.
NAS or “Network Attached Storage” servers are great for start-ups and small businesses because they’re 100% non-technical in their functionality (you’ll be able to easily understand everything about them) – and they provide all sorts of options from file sharing, back up and remote-access and the like.
That being said – as your business grows, you’ll likely outgrow the abilities of your NAS server and you’ll need to consider investing in a rack server. Racks make better use of space and allow lots of servers to fit into a small space. That being said – there will be a time and place for that investment – and we want to make sure you know so you have it on your radar, but up front – an NAS server should do everything you need it to.
Staying organized and avoiding ‘server spaghetti’
The last thing you’ll need to be conscious of is that you keep everything organized and where it should be. Our best suggestion is to break out the old label maker and make sure you know where every wire goes and what it’s there to do. You need to document your setup – as it reduces the risk of mistakes when things need to be repaired or maintained.
Also keep detailed notes on all the procedures, processes and instructions related to your server – like data backups and shutting down servers in the event of power outages.
Lastly – and trust us – it’s not that exciting but it IS important – we want to reemphasize the importance of wire management. Make sure everything is meticulously labeled and organized. Anytime you bring in a pro to upgrade/repair/or check on your server, this will make both your life and your invoice a whole lot more bearable.
You shouldn’t ever forget the financials. Everything costs money. While those new, fancy PC’s are nice – don’t forget that you’ve got a server to pay for. Be smart – but don’t overextend yourself needlessly.
Hopefully, these tips will help make setting up your new server room just a little bit easier. If you have questions in backup options, feel free to give us a call and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation. Until then – good luck!