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Do I need a "server"? Like the products that Dell sells? Or am I good with just networking all my machines together? Dedicated one as the file sharer?
I've never done this, and am just confused on the terminology and technicalities.
Do I need a server? Advantages - Disadvantages to having one?
I have a about five users and a small "server". Its not specifically designed as one but does the job I want it to just fine. I use it for central storage and a test box for websites.
All the users have their own folders on there and all marketing documents etc. etc. are linked to from an intranet page ( the home page for all users ). I like it as it keeps things organised and everthing to be backed up is one place. I doubt though a power edge would make a lot of difference . I would not like to be the user of the machine though when things are being accessed on it. My guess is it would slow things down a lot.
You can use a share on one of the desktops for simple file sharing needs.
Try it for a while and see if it meets your needs. If not, get a low end server, or use a spare PC.
1) Go out and buy a wireless gateway. They don't cost much. Plug the broadband line into the gateway.
2) For each computer in your network, buy wireless cards (about $50 per card)
3) Buy a server. Since you only got 4 computers in the network, you can use something like a AMD Athlon processor based system. Get minimum 200GB ATA hard disk. Buy a wireless card, cheap monitor and video card, CD/DVD drive, floppy. Have at least 512MB of RAM. (about $800)
4) Install on the server Apache 2.x (free), mySQL database (free), PHP, and install any intranet applications that you feel would help improve your business. You'll be surprised by how more productive your organization can be. Go to hotscripts.com for some ideas on scripts/applications you can run on the server.
Use the server as a file sharing and backup device.
My previous post was from the mindset of "do I need a file server to share files."
Do you need a server? If you are going to take the passive approach than no. If you are going to take a more proactive approach, like GeeWhizzler suggests, then it's a good idea and can certainly help your business.