More Server Options Let SMBs Be Choosy

Review: When evaluating servers, smaller sites must weigh their data protection needs carefully.

Today, the SMB server market is one of the fastest-growing and most competitive market segments for hardware vendors. In fact, small and midsize businesses in North America are expected to spend $276 billion this year on IT, according to a recent survey by market research company eMarketer Inc., of New York.

Larger enterprises are concerned with issues such as power consumption and server footprints and often arent willing to sacrifice performance to get a lower-priced solution. SMBs, on the other hand, are far more likely to put price concerns ahead of everything else. And while heavy hitters such as Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. offer a vast array of options for SMBs, an increasing number of new competitors—such as Alienware Corp.—are entering the server fray.

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SMBs, which typically are more open to assuming risk than are larger entities, are more likely to adopt new technologies. Thus, it will be interesting to see how quickly dual-core computing is adopted in the space.

In addition to price considerations, an SMBs server purchase will depend on its computing needs. Organizations that want to run processing-intensive applications such as ERP (enterprise resource planning) or CRM (customer relationship management) may want a rack-mountable server with multiple processors. Organizations looking for a server to place in a closet or under a desk might prefer a tower model.

Whether an organization is looking for a rack-mountable server for database applications or a tower for e-mail, the three servers eWEEK Labs reviews here show the breadth of choices that SMBs now have.

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