Whilst Tower Server and Blade Servers can and do utilise various operating systems, for simplicity we will be focusing on Windows Server Systems. Tower Servers usually resemble a large desktop PC in appearance and will usually be physically located on a desk. The most popular are  Dell PowerEdge Rack & Tower Servers. Read more on Dell Tower Servers at https://redbytesite.com/dell-poweredge-rack-tower-servers/

Dell Systems with 4GB of memory may show less memory in Microsoft Windows.Windows Vista® automatically allocates a certain amount of memory for system use. The amount varies depending on the devices that are installed on the computer but is at least 1 MB and can be as such as 1 GB. Only the unallocated memory is reported by Vista.

PowerEdge Rack Servers – Innovative designs to Transform IT

Flexible designs to optimize your applications.

PowerEdge Rack Servers One Socket

One socket server portfolio providing balanced performance and storage capacity for future growth.

  • R6415 1RU Server (AMD)
  • R7415 2RU Server (AMD)
  • PowerEdge R230
  • PowerEdge R330
  • R240 1RU Server (Intel)
  • R6515 1RU Server (AMD)
  • R7515 2RU Server (AMD)
  • R340 1RU Server (Intel)

PowerEdge Rack Servers Two Socket

  • Two socket server portfolio with a mix of features to maximize performance, scale to meet future demands and adapt to virtually any workload.
  • R740 2RU Server (Intel)
  • R6525 1RU Server (AMD)
  • C6525 Two-Socket Server Node (AMD)
  • New PowerEdge R740xd2
  • PowerEdge R730 2RU Server (Intel)
  • PowerEdge R630
  • PowerEdge R530
  • C4140 1RU High-Density Server (Intel)
  • R7425 2RU Server (AMD)
  • R730xd 2RU Server (Intel)
  • R540 2RU Server (Intel)
  • R440 1RU Server (Intel)
  • PowerEdge R430
  • PowerEdge C4130
  • R640 1RU Server (Intel)
  • R740xd 2RU Server (Intel)
  • XR2 1RU Industrial-Grade Server (Intel)
  • R7525 2RU Server (AMD)

PowerEdge Rack Servers Four Socket

Four socket server portfolio with the highest performance and extensive scalability for your applications from in-database workloads and HPC to data analytics, AI and GPU database acceleration.

  • R840 2RU Server (Intel)
  • R940xa 4RU Server (Intel)
  • PowerEdge R830
  • PowerEdge R930

Micro-Towers are a smaller option. Tower Servers are generally priced somewhere between a NAS and rack-mounted systems. A monitor, keyboard, and mouse are usually required to access it.

A Tower Server running Windows Server Software is capable of numerous tasks and has a variety of capabilities. Unlike the Servers previously mentioned a Windows Server has the ability to provide varying levels of control over the PCs in your domain using various software and tools such as:

  • Active Directory – This is used to control the users and computers that access your domain. We will see how users and computers are added later.
  • Group Policy Management – This is used to set the rules/policies that are applied to the users and computers. For example, you may wish to set a policy that places a specific image as a desktop wallpaper on certain computers.
  • Print Management – This can be used to install printers which can then be man-aged centrally and shared with other computers. Windows Server Update Services – Up-dates can be configured so that they are  controlled by your server rather than all the computers on your network consuming your bandwidth by updating over the Internet.
  • Shared Folders – Control who can access specific folders that are set up for collaboration.

Please note that Windows Servers are capable of much more. For the purposes of most initial setups in smaller organisations and schools, these will be the primary uses and the ones that we will be focusing on.

Upgrading the specification of a tower server is usually very easy. New hard drives can easily be added for additional data storage. If purchasing a tower server I would recommend that you have spare hard drive slots available for future expansion.

Consider this option for larger environments where you require centralised control over users and computers, you have limited physical space and you are unlikely to require more than 2 or 3 additional Servers.

Blade Servers

Much of what applies to Tower Servers applies to Blade servers the main difference being that they are designed to be mounted inside a chassis. The advantages of this are that new servers can easily be added by simply sliding it into the chassis and the chassis can house a variety of equipment such as networking equipment. The chassis provides cool-ing, power and data connectivity meaning that no additional cabling is required. They are neater and provide more computing power for the physical space required when compared to Tower Servers.

The downsides are that its initial cost is higher due to the fact that a chassis and its installation is also required. It is usually more difficult to upgrade blade servers. However, hard drive space is usually external to the server so this will not typically be an issue if more data storage is required.

If you have the physical space, budget, requirements for more than 2 or 3 servers then blade servers would likely be your best option. Also, consider this option if the organisation is likely to be seeing significant expansion and additional requirements in the near future.

Purchasing a Server – Things to Consider

You may be posed with a number of questions and options when it comes to purchasing your server. When it comes to obtaining quotes contact a number of suppliers and get as much information as you can from all of them. Explain your require-ments and ask them all for advice on what server specifications they think will be best suited to your organisation.

The following information is designed to provide you with an overview of some of the options that may be available to you in order to help you make a decision.

Also, try to negotiate extras and play the suppliers off against each other. I have always ensured that I have had the RAID configuration and Oper-ating System installed by the suppliers at no extra cost as a minimum.

It is also worth noting that many suppliers do not include the cost of the operating system in their quotes. Ensure to check this and read the chapter on Licensing for further information.

Operating System

Operating systems are a type of software that runs on a computer and manages the memory, processes, hardware and any additional software. Because servers are used differently and provide numerous users with varying services they require a server-specific operating system. Linux based servers are often preferred by expert system administrators and are usually free. However, most users and administrators in schools or small businesses are much more familiar with Windows interfaces. In a school environment where comput-ers are shared and different users are logging onto different computers regularly then the server will need to run Active Directory. In which case, Windows Server is the only choice. For the purposes of simplicity, we shall be focusing on Windowsbased servers in this book.

Assess your main requirements and prioritise your budget. For example, if storage of files is your main concern ensure that you will have enough hard drive space. Also, consider the following points.

  • Ensure that if you purchase a tower server it has additional slots to add extra hard drives if required.
  • Ensure that the Operating System is installed on a separate hard drive (or Drives) to data storage.
  • Ensure RAID is configured.
  • Remember that capacity is significantly reduced when RAID is configured.
  • Check with suppliers on what RAM and processing power they would recommend for your requirements.
  • Ensure that your quote includes an up-to-date Operating System and any other re-quired software.
  • Ensure to ask your vendor about any warranties that are included or available. These can vary significantly and may be really useful in the future.

 

It can be difficult to decide on a budget before you know the costs. The way I approach this is to first contact three reputable suppliers and request quotes based on their recommendations. I would then look at the specifications suggested and from the information above and the costs begin to put together a specification that I would be happy with. I would then go back to the suppliers requesting the second quote with my exact specification. Another option would be to ask a single supplier for 3 quotes. A ‘budget’ quote, an ‘ideal’ quote and another somewhere in the middle. It is also a good idea to contact other schools or businesses in the area. Ask them about their computing suppliers and experiences.

 

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