Servers form an important function in any network. Learn more about them, and some key ways they can help build a better network and computing infrastructure. Find out if you are ready to move from a peer-to-peer network to a server-client one, and what to look for to best fit the needs at your organization.
The term "server" can mean many things. It can refer to the hardware itself, the operating system that runs on it, or a piece of software that provides a specific service, such as email delivery or website hosting. Often, a server is a high-performance computer that uses specialized software or operating systems to store data and centralize resources across an office. If your organization is growing in terms of staff, constituents, or funding, it might be time to upgrade to a server-based or "client-server" system to help unify and manage the information technology in your office.
In most cases, the biggest impetus for getting a server is an increase in the number of staff and workstations that regularly use your network. If you anticipate growing to more than seven FTE (full-time equivalents) at an office, each using a computer, you might want to consider a server to better manage your workforce and the data they produce. Having a server-based network will enable you to better manage the additional data you collect and report in your grants. As you approach 10 employees and workstations, the benefits of a server become more pronounced.