A server is usually seen as a hardware device that provides functionality to other devices, called ‘clients’, housed in a cupboard, cabinet or rack, making a lot of noise and with lots of flashing lights!

The numerous functions or services a server can provide, including sharing data, applications or other resources are sometimes called ‘roles’, such as a file and print server; database server; mail server; web server; and application server.

While there’s a lot more to it than that, in the main this is the case with lots of servers. However, a server can also be operated in software and provide the same functionality: these are called virtual machines.

Until fairly recently, these server concepts have been provisioned ‘on-premises’ (i.e. within your building), however it is also possible to benefit from server functionality in a different way.

What this means to you

With a hosted or cloud server, however, there’s no big, noisy, flashing box in the corner or taking up space (and needing air conditioning) in the office. Instead, someone else has the job of housing, powering, cooling and securing the hardware, which can save you money, space, time and inconvenience.

Additionally, some or all of the software can be maintained by a provider too, which reduces the complexity of the IT service even more.

This is called ‘hosting’: providing the equipment and support to operate or deliver a service via the internet, and it’s the basic principle behind cloud services (i.e. someone else is looking after the foundations, leaving you with the interesting stuff on top).

Why we are good

Because we provide and support both physical and virtual servers locally, we have an in-depth and up-to-date understanding of hardware capability and the way in which different roles and duties use the hardware.

The critical thing is getting a good understanding of how things work at the moment (i.e. whether there are any performance or reliability concerns), and working with you to plan out future needs over several years. Our flexible and personal approach to all our IT services is intended to help us work out what’s going to work best for you, now and in the future.

And this isn’t just about technology, it’s about affordability too.

What we can do

At Think IT, we provide a number of clients with hosted servers using our own data centre, and have been for some time. This avoids the need for a client to purchase the server hardware (reducing capital expenditure), and avoids the need to locate it on-premises (which can reduce capital and operational expenditure).

We also set up and support cloud servers using Microsoft Azure, a cloud computing service operated from Microsoft data centres around the world supporting hundreds of different use cases, including dedicated servers running as virtual machines in the cloud.