Using A Desktop PC As A Server

Using Desktop PC as a File ServerAs a system and network consultant for all these years, I’ve worked with clienteles with user base of 3 to around 70 users. With these wide range of customer base, you will not be surprised the kind of budget that were set aside for their I.T. needs.

For some, they understand that I.T. is not just an accessory but a major component of their business operation, and for others, their thinking is always “… as long as it works and must be cheap cost-effective…”

No matter the size of the company, eventually there will be a time when the customer needs a server for their central file storage and/or central backup purpose. At this moment, the “higher budget” customer will only want the best and most up-to-date server and the most cost-conscious will want some other alternatives.

One of the most frequently asked question is “Can I use one of my PC to be a server?”

To answer this question, we need to ask, “What really is a server?”

Essentially, a server is a machine that is specifically designed to store, manage, send, receive and process data. Their external outlook of a server may look physically similar to most PCs, but their hardware specifications are optimised to suit their role in reading and processing data. As such, they have several advantages over normal PCs.

Using your PC to act as server may serve the initial purpose of file sharing, but with an actual server hardware, there are numerous advantages residing over the normal PCs.

The main advantages are:-

Tougher data protection

Using servers to host hardware resources such as printers and file systems, you get central access control to all your network assets. Security is definitely enhanced when you back up your data centrally. Think about it, it is definitely easier to back up all the data from a server, rather than go around all the PCs and backing up each and individual PCs data.

Enhanced Reliabilty

Servers incorporate heavy-duty mechanical components such as disk drives and fans that provide higher reliability when compared to regular computers.

Connectivity

All servers include robust network connections. This allows them to handle large amounts of data, ensuring a smoother flow of traffic for the client PCs.

Scalability

Servers are built to scale along with your business.

Essentially it means that at any time, you can always expand your server’s ability to support your data and traffic even as your employee and customer base grows.

Reduced administration and cost

With the server as your central resource controller, it is easier to support and maintain all the resources, be it those that reside in the server or those that are connected to the client PCs. Cost is reduced also since there is lesser duplication of hardware.

Overall, servers offers tremendous amount of advantages over regular PCs, both in terms of hardware features and functionality. Though there is a slightly higher initial cost, you tend to save more in terms of reduced downtime and increased productivity in the long run.

For more enquiries regarding servers, please feel free to contact us.

  1. Gareth says:

    Hi.
    Great post, I must say that I don’t fully agree with everything here yet at the same time I agree with alot of it here.

    Basically if you are running a small company (less than 10 pc’s on a network) with only say 3 programs that are been used, then there is absolutely no justification to have a server installed. A server will serve the function better as you have said but a decent desktop with a 64bit operating system will do perfectly fine. To justify my statement you merely need to take a look at LAN gaming.
    As you will proberly try bring out at this point, file sharing is diffrent, the fact remains that we have Phenom x 6′s, I7′s and i5′s in the market at this stage. Combine the cpu with a 64 bit and you have access to more than adequate ram.

    So in short my guideline is , anything under 10 pc’s on a network with basic (this is a key word here) programs. IE : one POS system , excel and pastel and there is no need for a server, just get a decent desktop with 64 bit operating system.

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