Server Basics

Server Basics

While a small server might look no different from a high-end desktop PC, the machines are designed for very different tasks. A desktop computer is typically designed for one person who needs a user-friendly operating system to run desktop applications such as a word processor, a spreadsheet, an email client, and a Web browser. However a server runs a specialized operating system designed to support many users. It’s engineered to run applications for multiple users at the same time such as email, messaging, and print servers; shared calendars; databases; and enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management software.

A server also makes it easy for your employees to share data and collaborate, since it operates as a central repository for all of your documents, images, contacts, and other important files. It can host a company intranet, for sharing information with your employees quickly and economically. You can set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and you and your employees can access the data on the server remotely from anywhere you have Internet access. In addition, a server can automatically back up your desktop and laptop systems, so you’ll never lose critical data if one machine fails or is lost or stolen. Servers are designed to be reliable, secure, and fault-tolerant, with redundant storage options. If you expect your business to expand, choose a server that’s scalable and can grow with you.

An important consideration when choosing the right server depends in large measure on the applications you intend to run on it. If all you need is file sharing, automated client backup, and light-duty remote access for PCs (typically ten or fewer), consider a NAS or even a Windows Home Server machine; HP, Netgear, QNAP, Seagate, and Synology are the major players in this arena. If your business has more than ten employees using computers, if you need to operate an email or print server, manage a complex database, or run sophisticated server-based applications (such as ERP or CRM), if you have very large storage requirements, or if you require large-scale virtualization capabilities, you’ll want a more robust option such as a tower, rack, or blade server.

-Windows Server 2012 R2

At the heart of the Microsoft Cloud OS vision, Windows Server 2012 R2 brings Microsoft’s experience delivering global-scale cloud services into your infrastructure with new features and enhancements in virtualization, management, storage, networking, virtual desktop infrastructure, access and information protection, the web and application platform, and more. Windows Server machines are designed to operate “headless,” meaning you don’t need a monitor, mouse, or keyboard to manage them. Instead you use the Remote Desktop Connection feature in Windows to connect to the server over your network.

-Network Attached Storage NAS

NASNAS is a simple and inexpensive server infrastructure. NAS can deliver plenty of bang for the buck to businesses with modest server requirements. A NAS arrangement can be as simple as plugging a USB hard drive into a USB-equipped router, but most small businesses will need something more robust. A high-end NAS can rival a full-blown server, including support for virtualization. A hardware device, commonly referred to as a NAS box, acts as the interface between storage and clients on the network. The NAS box requires no mouse, keyboard, or monitor, and is controlled by a remote client over the network. A bare-bones embedded operating system–typically Linux-based–runs on the NAS, although the latest devices also provide a front-end interface that makes setup and administration over your network easier.

-Tower Servers

Tower servers (and their smaller cousins, micro towers) are the first step up from a tower serverNAS. You can easily mistake a tower server for a desktop PC–and in fact, you can press a desktop PC into service as a server. Tower servers cost more than NAS products, but they’re much less expensive than rack-mount systems. They can operate on the floor or on top of a desk, but you can also retrofit them to sit in a rack. Tower servers are generally quiet, because they don’t require a lot of cooling fans. A high-end tower server with a fast CPU, lots of RAM, and a plethora of hard drives can pack a punch, especially when you take virtualization into account (provided that the CPU and operating system support it). On the downside, you’ll need a keyboard, monitor, and mouse to manage each tower server, or you can invest in a KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) option that enables one set of peripherals to control several machines. (You can control micro towers running Windows Server using Remote Desktop Connection via a client PC.) More important, a tower server provides limited scalability once you’ve maxed out its capabilities. If you anticipate your IT requirements expanding rapidly, a rack or blade server is a better alternative than finding space for a bunch of towers.

-Rack Servers

If you anticipate the need to run several servers, either right away or in short order, consider moving up to rack-mount models. Theseserver_rack types of servers come in a standard width (to fit in a 19-inch rack) and a standard height (a multiple of 1.75 inches, or 1U; a standard rack is 42U high). A rack permits you to fit many servers into a relatively small footprint, and typically it includes a cable-management system to keep your installation neat. Most rack servers are highly expandable, with sockets for multiple CPUs, copious amounts of memory, and lots of storage. Rack-server systems are highly scalable, too; once you have the rack in place, you won’t need floor space for additional servers until the rack is full. Although they typically cost more than tower servers, they’re cheaper than blades. Since rack servers operate in very close proximity to one another, they require more active cooling than tower servers do. The fans in these servers can be quite loud, and you’ll need a climate-control system to keep a full rack cool. For those reasons, most businesses isolate their rack servers in a dedicated room. Rack servers can be more difficult to maintain, because they must be physically pulled from the rack for servicing. And like a tower server, rack servers require a KVM arrangement for setup and management.

-Blade Servers

hp-blade-serverThe primary distinction between a rack server and a blade server is that several blade servers operate inside a chassis. Adding a new server is as simple as sliding a new blade into the chassis. You can install other network components, such as ethernet switches, firewalls, and load balancers, alongside the servers in the same enclosure, and you can install the whole assembly in a rack. Since the chassis provides the power, cooling, input-output, and connectivity for all the devices inside it, you don’t have to deal with new cables when you add something. Blades are neater and can pack more computer power into a given space than any other server ecosystem, yet their upfront cost is higher because you must also purchase the enclosure. Blade servers do have their drawbacks. Typically they provide fewer expansion opportunities because they aren’t equipped with as many PCIe slots and drive bays as tower or rack servers are. On the other hand, businesses deploying blade servers usually have shared storage, such as a storage area network, to support their blade servers (and some blade chassis can accommodate SAN storage right alongside the servers). As you’ve probably guessed, housing all those components in such close proximity generates a lot of heat. Blade systems, like rack servers, require plenty of active cooling (usually augmented by fans mounted inside the chassis).

Given the above information, there are a few choices to choose from based on your organization’s needs. Depending on the number of users and types of applications used, as well as virtualization options, it behooves the decision maker to thoroughly assess the current needs in addition to the projected needs, and based on those careful assessments choose from the above mentioned categories. It is important to remember that each category of servers mentioned above has a wide range of options to choose from, and that the server is scalable as optimally the server should be able to grow with your organization.

Computero provides a wide range of IT services including server procurement, deployment, installation, and monthly support. We can provide a number of options to help support your organization’s needs and do so at the best affordable rates. Please contact us at 718-275-1600 to schedule an appointment to help us gauge your needs.

 

Some excerpts for the above article have been taken from PC World article by Michael Brown.

 

IT consultant new york – how to find a good one.

Finding an IT Consultant in New York can be challenging.

When looking to fill any position (one-time or on a regular basis), we have to consider the things that are important to us. Usually a large part of this contains the elements of professionalism, courteous interaction, and punctuality. While some consultants work on their schedule, and are focused on their needs, we are customer centered and solution oriented.

Here are some tips for hiring a good IT Consultant or IT Consulting company:

1. When you first call – are you able to get someone one the phone who understands your situation ?
2. Is the person on the phone knowledgeable in the subject area ? if not – are they able to get someone who is on the phone right away ?
3. Ask the company for some references – this may not be possible if you are looking for someone in an emergency where your server or network requires immediate repair.
4. Call a few places – check out their rates and ask how soon they could have someone over.

Computero consists of a highly trained team who are knowledgeable IT consultants, specializing in Microsoft Business Servers and networking, secure remote access, firewalls, and security, just to mention a few. We provide a full range of IT Consulting services to address any issues, and provide solutions in a ever evolving environment.

In most cases- we are able to get a certified technician at your location the same day – whether it is a networking problem or a server issue, you can rest assured that we are able to work out a solution in the best possible way. Many times surpassing the expectations of our clients.

Sometimes issues stemming from internet connectivity cannot be resolved due to provider outage or equipment failure. In such cases we continue working and monitoring the situation even after we leave – making sure that the issue is resolved ASAP and also so that we are able to address any issues in the long run. Follow ups are just simply part of our process. Often times our technicians are able to pickup a replacement modem from Verizon, Time Warner Cable or Cablevision (Optimum Online) so that we can get you up and running in little to no time. We understand your business runs on computers and we stand ready to address any issues which may arise. We are ready and look forward to exceeding your expectations and invite you to experience a level of service that is something you can only experience when you work with us.

We service Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx, Staten Island, Long Island, Nassau County, Suffolk County, and Westchester NY.

Virus removal NYC – Interesting facts about drive by infections.

One of the services offered by Computero is virus and spyware removal. We often get calls from desperate customers whose systems either stopped functioning or were disabled due to a malicious software being installed on their computer.

While in some cases we cannot explicitly determine where the infection came from – in 75% of cases – we are able to perform virus, spyware and malware removal and bring the system back to its previous working condition.

What we found very interesting is that in most of these cases – the customer didn’t open an attachment or open a flash drive with infected files – instead – they clicked on a link, and were automatically infected. How can this happen ?

Lets review the charts below from BLADE Labs

Chart # 1 – As you can see every common PC browser is affected by this – so there is no magic bullet (other browsers such as Safari and Chrome are also affected by this – but were not represented in the study)

virus removal NYC

Chart # 2 – The applications which are closely connected to the browser and available on almost every computer are the most commonly exploited.

trojan horse removal nyc

The simple and obvious way to secure a computer from such attacks would be to remove the above named software – but this is almost impossible. Many websites use Flash and Java. Most computers in the world use Internet Explorer – so what can you do ?

1. Update each and every application listed. Microsoft, Adobe and Java can be easily upgraded to their latest versions. Most of these companies are heavily invested in their products and release updated software very frequently. Make it a point to update the software if you see a pop-up by the system tray (near the time) .

2. Consider using Mozilla firefox as your primary browser. Mozilla seems to be safer and unlike Internet Explorer has more protection built into itself to stop these types of viruses from coming on board. This makes virus removal easier.

3. Have an up to date and up to par antivirus software such as Trend Micro Titanium Security (for home users) and Trend Micro Worry Free business security (for business users).

Following these tips will make you more secure. Virus removal or spyware removal will take less time if you kept your system up to date.

If you have been infected by a virus, malware or spyware – please don’t hesitate to contact us. We have helped to remove over 300 viruses annually, and with the increase in infections – we have a plan of attack for every type of infection. Whether it involves 1 computer or 200 – we can handle the removal. See our IT services section for more information.