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To serve or not to serve

Technology, to many, is a dark science. As business owners we spend…and spend… on new technology. But do we need to? Can we, should we, sweat basic assets such as file servers. Here Trevor O Connell challenges: Are we getting the best from our investment in our file server? How many business owners and business managers face this dilemma each year? And how many IT firms rush in to sell you the latest in Microsoft Windows Server Technology without ever considering the simple question : “Am I fully utilising my existing server?”

Disk Space

As a business owner or manager it is not your area of expertise to understand the inner working of the file server in your office. But you should have the ability to assess if its delivering value and if not where is it lacking and what are the options are to address this. First thing I’d say, don’t rush out and buy a new server. Think and assess right now why your current server is not performing. So lets start with a very basic scenario why companies upgrade or purchase a new file server. DISK SPACE without a doubt is the number one reason and why?

Very simply IT guys don’t understand your business and they end up specifying a server system that will not accommodate the amount of data your business will be using in 5 to 7 years times.

I’m sure most IT guys on the group are going to disagree with me on this but in my opinion if you run a Small Business then you should be looking to get 5 to 7 years from an investment in a file server. So lets see what we can do before we rush out and buy a new file server to deal with our lack of DISK SPACE.


Questions to ask

In order to free DISK SPACE you need to ask your IT person:

  1. Can I remove any unwanted programs from my server
  2. Can I add another disk or disks to my system that will allow me to extend the amount of DISK space I have available on my file server
  3. Typically Virus Software downloads virus updates and virus definition files. Over time these can grow significantly. In many instances these can be either removed or archived off to another storage system e.g. USB Backup
  4. If I use a database system e.g. Accounts, Payroll, Job Management, CRM etc can I archive this data on to a secondary storage device e.g. USB Device, Tape Storage, Remote On Line Service Provider
  5. Can I tidy up the log files on my server
  6. Can I archive files from my server on to a secondary storage system
  7. Many software packages give you the option to compact any databases which they rely on. Has your IT provider tried to this?
  8. Can my IT provider move files required for service pack updates, windows updates on to another disk on my file server

Value for money

Okay that’s a start I will try to continue this blog on new file servers and should you buy or not all IT people have different perspectives on technology. Without any doubt I love using the latest in technology as does any IT person but I get a great a better kick out of getting the most from hardware and software in particular for businesses

For example one of my clients is still running a clustered server which I support and monitor on a daily basis that is almost 20 years old running SCO Unix and an Informix Database and it servers up to 2GB of business data to users across 8 sites in Ireland each day. That’s what I call value for money and good investment.