Product Review: Dell and HP Mini Tower Servers
Efficient collaboration is essential to running a successful small business. Once a company has over 5 employees, running an office network without a server becomes untenable. File sharing gets frustratingly slow, which often leads to “sneakernet” – where employees put data on portable storage devices, such as USB thumb drives, and literally walk the data (hence the “sneakers”) to a coworker’s computer. This introduces tremendous data loss risk, and perhaps worse, data leaks.
A server eliminates this issue by acting as a central repository for a small business’ information. It can handle multiple requests from employees sending and receiving large amounts of data simultaneously, and helps prevent one employee from spreading a virus to every other user on the network. Also, since servers are more powerful than personal computers, they can process more intensive tasks, such as graphical rendering or financial analysis for vast data sets.
When it comes time to make the purchase, buying a server doesn’t have to break the bank. Small businesses should consider mini tower servers because they pack the power needed to optimize small business’ networks, are affordable, and don’t require a server closet, since they can sit on top of a desk. The two leading server manufacturers, Dell and HP, both have mini tower server products that small businesses need to consider to create significant gains in efficiency and reliability.
Benefits of a Mini Tower Server
Mini tower servers are purposefully designed to fulfill small business server roles simply and efficiently, such as file sharing and backup. They are considerably more cost-effective than enterprise servers, which must be mounted within a server rack. Mini tower servers largely resemble a desktop computer making them a space saving alternative. They’re also more energy-efficient because their roomy chassis allows for better airflow, hence they need less energy to cool. Small businesses can also benefit from the fact that they’re easy to open and upgrade as needs intensify. The components within a rack-mounted server are not as easily swappable and they’re so densely packed in their form factor, it’s often necessary to invest in additional air conditioning to keep them cool. This also means mini tower servers are much quieter than rack-mounted counterparts.
If you are a small business looking for an entry-level server, two specific mini tower models you should consider are the Dell PowerEdge T30 Mini Tower Server and the HP Microserver Gen 10.
Dell PowerEdge T30 Mini Tower Server
The Dell PowerEdge T30 is perfect for consolidating business information with significant storage capabilities. The compact and quiet mini tower is just 14.17” x 6.89” x 17.12” and has room for six hard drives. There are also 10 USB ports, providing plenty of opportunity to connect external drives and other devices. It has four memory slots to accommodate up to 64GB of RAM, facilitating rapid transfer and the ability to correct any code errors. The T30 is also great for storing and streaming images and videos, supporting HDMI connections. The device also comes with a padlock ring on the case to thwart unwanted tampering.
What really makes the T30 a great buy is its processor: the Intel Xeon E3-1225 v5. This quad core CPU boasts a 3.30 GHz processor-base frequency, 8MB Intel Smart Cache, and a bus speed of 8 GT/s. It also supports error correct code (ECC) memory, a feature typically found in enterprise servers, which mitigates failures that could result in data loss and hindered functionality. This processor was purpose-built to support intensive use cases that are operational 24/7/365. It’s ideal for applications that seek to automate complex financial analysis or graphically intensive design, such as professional-grade CAD, nonlinear editing, and special effects. Regardless of how it’s put to work, the T30’s CPU was designed to save time and preserve data integrity.
HP MicroServer Gen 10
Compact, even for a mini tower server, the HP MicroServer Gen 10 measures under 10 inches per side, but its cube-like design allows for the cooling efficiency you’d expect from a mini tower. It’s an ultra-affordable, entry-level server designed for small businesses that boasts excellent multimedia capabilities and is perfect for streaming media or powering digital signage. There are two PCIe 3.0 slots for upgrades, one of which could be used for an additional graphics card to add three additional 4K HDMI ports.
The Gen 10’s chassis is easily opened via two screws and the bottom slides out containing the system board to simplify upgrades. It can accommodate four 3.5 inch SATA storage hard drives, and an optional SAS controller may be installed in one of the PCIe 3.0 slots to accommodate SAS storage. There are two DDR4 memory slots and it can support 8GB to 32GB of ECC RAM. The server comes with HP’s Clear OS operating system, which includes a marketplace with a plethora of free applications to support small businesses.
Down to its very core, the HP MicroServer Gen 10 is designed to optimize media for small businesses. It features the AMD Opteron series of processors, which have GPUs embedded inside to optimize graphics performance, while minimizing cost. It may be configured with one of these three options: the X3216 (3.0GHz, 2 compute cores, and 4 graphic cores), the X3418 (3.2GHz, 4 compute cores, and 6 graphic cores), and the X3421 (3.4GHz, 4 compute cores, and 8 graphic cores).
Purchasing a server doesn’t have to be a complex or expensive endeavor. In order to protect data, facilitate rapid file sharing, and boost processing capabilities, small businesses should consider adding a server to their network. Mini tower servers are an excellent option for an introductory investment. They’re inconspicuous as they’re quiet, take up little space, and are energy-efficient. The Dell PowerEdge T30 Mini Tower Server and the HP MicroServer Gen 10 were both specifically designed to meet small business needs and budgets. The T30 is ideal for small companies looking to tackle more intensive applications that traditional computers can’t handle. For those heavily involved in streaming high definition media, the Gen 10 is the best option. Both are easily upgradable and excellent at serving as the central repository of information in a small business network.