At Your Service: What You Should Know Before Buying Your Next Server

Day, Jo; Day, Kevin
January 2003
Journal of Financial Planning;Jan2003, Vol. 16 Issue 1, p44
Academic Journal
This article offers advice to financial planners buying their next computer servers. According to Steve Kaufman, a system administrator for The Enrichment Group, most planning firms will never notice a performance difference between server- and workstation-class computers because they do not generate anywhere near the traffic that requires the use of server-class hardware. So, for most planning firms, a server-class computer can provide only one advantage over a workstation-class computer, reliability. By far, the component that is most likely to fail in any computer is the hard drive. Another potential failure point is the computer's power supply. To improve server reliability, server-class computers make use of redundant hard drives and power supplies, so the computer keeps running, even with a failure. When purchasing a computer, users probably seen options for purchasing a server operating system such as Windows 2000 Professional. In fact, all of Microsoft's workstation class operating systems allow a computer to run as a server. This is known as peer-to-peer networking. There are two drawbacks to using peer-to-peer networking, but they are usually minor for smaller firms. The needs of the software that actually runs on the user server will also dictate the optimal configuration of the server. Programs like Goldmine, Junxure-1 and Worldox store information on the server, but the actual processing happens on each user's workstation, this means that the server is acting just as a file server. As far as central processing unit (CPU) is concerned, Kaufman recommends taking a couple steps back from the cutting edge. When it comes to actually specifying the final solution, Kaufman provides some words of advice: "Most planners need a mid- to high-end workstation for their file server, if users buy something called a server, then users are spending too much money."


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