Servers come with hefty price tags yet are necessary for businesses. When cost is an issue, renting a server can help make it more affordable. Leased servers come with scalable architecture and flexible management.
Purchasing or Leasing?
Lessors purchase hardware and lease it to the lessee. For a fee, you get full access to the server until the expiration of the lease agreement. Because you pay a set fee per month, your up-front cost is lower than it would be if you purchased a server. On the other hand, when you purchase a server, you pay the full price up front but get to choose exactly what you want and eliminate the periodic leasing charges.
Managed Server: Benefits
Managed server leasing offers a twist on the traditional leased server model. In this arrangement, the server provider leases the server and associated equipment to you but maintains the equipment onsite. The provider administrates the server on your behalf, makes needed updates, applies patches and runs it for you. Your employees typically access the server through a Web interface; although you usually have admin control, there's no need to use it. With a managed server, you can enjoy the benefits of your own server even if you don't have IT staff on hand to manage it, and you can have more time for work tasks, because you aren't maintaining the server. Other advantages of this model include:
- Reduced IT expenses
- Reduced IT administrative equates to more time to devote to other tasks
- More direct IT alignment with business goals
- The equipment is new, and regularly updated with a long operating life
- Flexible arrangements accommodate the addition of other services, such as data backup
Leased Server: Benefits
With a leased server arrangement, you lease the server directly from the provider. You may seek a leased managed server arrangement, where the provider takes over management and administration from you as discussed above. Or you may select an unmanaged leased server arrangement and retain the administrative privileges in-house. This requires more hands-on work but can be the right choice for a business that needs to have full control over the server but doesn't want to purchase one up front. A leased server can be scalable. While you would need a skilled in-house IT team to manage the leased server, there are still benefits to retaining control in-house. Additional benefits include:
- Customize everything: Because you retain control, you can customize settings and install apps yourself, without having to wait for an intermediary to do it.
- In-house test environment: An in-house server can be a sandbox for developing new programs and utilities.
- Maintain security: If you dislike the idea of turning data and server security over to a third party, a leased server model is for you. You maintain security 24/7.
- Consistent expenses: Because you're still renting the server, your monthly expenses will be consistent and manageable.
Action Item: Purchasing a server, renting a leased server and renting a managed server offer three concrete options for small businesses. If you prefer that someone else handle the details, select a managed server. If you want total control, choose from a leased or purchased server