Using a Desktop Computer as a Server…. That is Dangerous Business.
The cloud. It seems that is all we hear about these days, and for good reason, with its amazing up time and stability it seems like a no brainer to go with the cloud. However, there are still certain applications and services that need to be hosted locally. The sad fact is many find themselves in an awkward spot – do they spend money on a commercial grade server just for the use of one or two applications? Sadly, many find themselves doing exactly that.
Some find a middle ground using a glorified desktop as their “server” – I use the term server very loosely in this scenario. Often times these machines are ordinary desktop computers, which means they often lack redundancy and server grade operating systems. In most cases these machines prove to be very unstable. Users find themselves spending more to maintain them over time then they would have if they had purchased a commercial grade server from the beginning. Between the cost, the frustration of outages, and the lack of stability, going this route is something a client would really need to weigh heavily.
Obviously, it is a gamble though; if a desktop is used, it could run just fine for the simple task it has at hand. As long as a client understands the risks and has the proper expectations, then it may be the correct choice from a financial perspective.
Now, if you’re anything like me, you are asking what the alternative is. What if I don’t want to spend the money on a commercial grade server, because I know the applications will be in the cloud in the next couple of years; but also hate the risks of using a desktop computer – what then? Well the answer would be to find a comparable app in the cloud, one that will accomplish the same task as the local application. Now keep in mind, this is not always the easiest solution from a business process standpoint. As users LOVE what they are used to, and generally speaking, no one likes change.
We typically advise that either a commercial grade server is chosen or that the application(s) used are changed to an option available in the cloud.
What does a commercial grade server have that a desktop does not:
- Redundant Hard Drives. If a drive fails, the server keeps running.
- Dedicated Backup System. Commercial grade backup system, to be exact.
- Server Grade Operating System. Offers increased security, efficient system/network
- More reliable and redundant hardware components. Such as power supply, etc.