There are options available for small businesses that run on Microsoft Server products to run their network. A network does not need to be completely reconfigured to replace a Server. Microsoft Small Business Servers can be replaced seamlessly without having to ever touch any PC on your network if you take a thought out approach which will save you money.
Motherboards, Hard Drives and Memory modules still fail. The equipment you use to run your business does not seem to care that the money to replace it may be in short supply. Even in a slow economy servers and computers still need to be replaced.
Servers are at the center of any computer network and if one fails everyone on the network suffers. When one computer on a network fails that user down, when a server dies everyone is down. That is why you need to pay attention to that box that sits in the server room.
Replacing your businesses server after a failure is always more expensive than a planned replacement and it’s not only the data that is important. A non booting Server will need to be recovered to recover all the connections it has with the other computers connected to the network or you will be forced to redo the network and all its connections from scratch. Recovering the information is actually a simpler process.
To get an idea of what is involved you have to know what your domain does for you. All recent versions of Microsoft Server products utilize Active Directory to maintain the security between users, computers and servers and their interaction with each other. Active Directory is a complicated structure and is not easily restored after a catastrophic malfunction. The difficulty in recovering Active Directory is what increases the cost. Either you have to spend time recovering Active Directory or you have to start from the beginning and spend time rejoining each computer on the network to the new Active Directory Domain.
Servers generate a lot of heat and since they are often neglected in the closet this increased heat and friction helps to decrease their useful lives.Small business servers run on hardware that degrades and will fail over time. The most common point of failure is with the Hard Drives. Hard Drives are continually spinning and with a server running operating 24/7 their clocks are always ticking.
Server Hard Drives should always be configured in some sort type of RAID to help protect you from data loss in case of a failure. Server Hard Drives should also be designed for use in a server and have a higher MTBF to safeguard your data. If your server is built with workstation drives or does not have some sort of RAID configuration you are already in danger.
We recommend upgrading servers sometime soon after the third year. Servers typically have 3 year warranties and after 3 years, any replacement hardware needed for repairs becomes more difficult to get. After the third year the odds of hardware failing increases substantially.
The time and effort in upgrading your network server can be greatly reduced if it is done before it fails. A properly planned replacement can be done over a weekend with no downtime to the users.
Even a Small Business Server with Exchange has options for a smooth transition to new hardware. Microsoft Small Business Server has the limitation of only allowing one Small Business Server on a network at a time which makes it impossible to do a direct migration from old server to new server which means that you will need to join all the workstations to the new Domain and Active Directory. There are options available that allow a swap of the server without having to ever touch a workstation.
The process we use allows you to upgrade a server without ever having to logon to a client PC. The typical process is to start the process on a Friday night and finish up sometime on Sunday and when users come in and login Monday morning nothing has changed from their perspective other than noticing a performance improvement. All the network shares are the same, the server name is the same and even Microsoft Exchange functions exactly the same as it did before the upgrade.
The process saves time and money by removing the need to change anything on the PCs. The PCs see no change in the server or its settings.
Because of the benefit of not having to train users and not spending the time going to all the PCs you save a huge expense. Depending on the licensing of the OS you could also use the same software on the new server and save that expense too. It is not a requirement to get the latest version to run on the new server and if money is tight it is a viable option to reuse the software to save money.
Having time to make an informed decision and making that decision before it is too late is the best way to plan for your technology needs now and in the future.