Small Business Servers – Intro

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In The Beginning

When the first servers climbed their way out of the primordial ooze…

You were the office power user, computer guru, or computer consultant for a small business. You set up a few personal computers running Windows 3.1, and life was good. Then, someone wanted to share files without exchanging floppy disks. *sigh* So you implemented a small peer-to-peer network, maybe with Windows for Workgroups 3.11. OK! Then, the owner of the business couldn’t get critical files on someone else’s computer because it was turned off or broken. *Argh!* Another computer consultant told you that the office needed a central computer to store files, so you installed a NetWare 3.11 or Windows NT 3.51 file server. Great! All the hard work was done…or so you thought.

Today’s Reality

Lately, the company owner is asking about email, web access, and *aiyee!* a web site. Or maybe the file server that was put together years ago doesn’t seem to be performing at the level it once did. Of course, one thing hasn’t changed: the owner doesn’t want to spend much money on computer technology.

Maybe the previous scenario rings hauntingly familiar for you. Or perhaps you are implementing a network with servers for the first time. You may be your company’s computer guru, power-user, and technology decision-maker, or maybe you are a computer consultant to small businesses. Regardless, the sheer volume of contradictory vendor techno-marketing you must wade through to make a decision on server technology can be overwhelming.

As an alternative to traditional proprietary server operating systems like Windows NT and NetWare, you might consider open-source operating systems like FreeBSD and Linux for your small business server applications. Granted, neither FreeBSD nor Linux are in widespread use on servers in small business, at least not compared to the volume of installed NetWare and Windows NT server systems. However, I believe there is a place for FreeBSD or Linux servers in many small businesses.

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