Servers & Systems: The Right Compute

Right-sized small business IT solutions lay a foundation for success

HPE small business IT solutions-blog.jpgThe initial setup of your small business IT infrastructure requires careful thought and planning. By following some basic principles, you can create an environment that's the right size for your business.

Choosing the right small business IT solutions for your new company can be as exciting as it is daunting. You obviously are going to want the best tech your company can afford. But first you need to decide what kind of tech you need—and the number of choices out there can make this task overwhelming.

Whether you ultimately select an internally run IT architecture, pure managed services, or even a hybrid cloud, one thing is true across the board: it must be supported by strong infrastructure. That means choosing the right server and, then, implementing a properly configured network.

But picking the right-sized server and network hardware can be tricky. Small businesses are often at the forefront of innovation and change. Needs evolve as you develop different products and services to adapt to changing markets. Creating an IT environment that allows for the flexibility you need will set your organization up for success.

Sizing your server needs

It's important to implement a server environment that's the right size for your current business, but still flexible enough to support future growth. To do so, first make sure you know exactly what you expect the servers to do, whether that includes storing files, operating virtual machines, or protecting the network from security threats. Once you thoroughly understand how the servers will be used and how much computing power you'll need, you can start to determine the right server size for your business.

Then come choices about the operating system and form factor of the server (i.e., a tower that sits at a desk or a rack-mount system for a more traditional data center layout). Look to providers that can anticipate your business's needs and hardware you can run even without an extensive and highly experienced IT staff. You want the ability to accomplish your business's goals combined with tools that can automate and simplify configuration and maintenance.

Another critical feature of your server environment is the network architecture that connects it to the rest of your organization. After all, the whole point of small office IT solutions is to give all the workers in the company access to all the resources they need. This goal requires a well-designed network.

Selecting the necessary network hardware

A network requires separate hardware, like switches and access points, that connect all the other equipment so devices can talk to each other or, when necessary, to resources on the internet. A collection of hardware, though, is not a network. You will still need to plan the network around your business needs, practical requirements, and growth plan.

One important step is to choose your IP address class. IP addresses are like street addresses that direct data to the right place. The IP address class is the commonly used method of specifying a range of fixed-length IP addresses that the company uses internally. Part of the number specifies the network, while the other part identifies the host. You can choose among a few different classes. Class A supports the largest number of individual networks but fewer hosts on the network, while class B offers more of a balance. Class C is intended for a small number of networks and the largest number of hosts.

You can also look at the network and its potential subnets, or divisions, and apply different address classes to each. This can make it easier to manage business expansion into new locations and the integration of all the devices at each of those locations.

You'll also need to determine exactly what hardware will be in your network and how it'll all be configured. To simplify setting up a server and network, consider choosing a vendor that bundles together the most important parts of an office IT infrastructure. Bundles make deployment faster and more efficient. For example, HPE Small Business Solutions includes an HPE ProLiant Gen10 server, a Windows Server, an HPE OfficeConnect switch, and an Aruba wireless access point, all appropriately sized for a given organization. With a validated solution, everything works together in a predictable way, eliminating the guessing game you would otherwise face.

Setting up your IT environment

Once you've planned your deployment and selected your hardware, setting up the network is relatively straightforward. You'll first set up the router from your choice of internet access. Then, you'll connect the router and wireless access points to the switch. Setup then becomes as easy as downloading an app to your smartphone and using it to connect to the wireless access point. The software walks you through the setup process, which involves naming the network and setting passwords. You can get the network up and running within a couple of minutes.

After that, you just have a couple final aspects of network setup to take care of. Active Directory provides the virtual structure that allows network resources to collaborate. Other services, like DNS, DHCP, and WINS, help connect the network to the wider internet. You'll also want to set up security, a storage server, and maybe other network services. An HPE Small Business Solution can help you efficiently complete those additional processes as well.

By taking things one step at a time, you can implement small business IT solutions and network hardware that prepare you for productive work and long-term business growth.

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Ready to take the next step? Check out the SMB Hybrid IT for Dummies Guide. Because there are no “dumb” questions!

Or are you ready to purchase? Visit the HPE Store.


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Meet Server Experts blogger Brian Mulvey, journalist.  Brian has written about technology, business, and their intersection for years. He has frequently covered small businesses and enterprises, IT infrastructure, and cybersecurity, all in the context of real-world commerce

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