Why Using a Desktop PC as a Server is a Bad Idea

using a desktop pc as a serverSmall businesses have to make a number of difficult decisions when it comes to investing in their technology.

Most simply do not have the budget to address every need, and  have to pick and choose the investments they absolutely must make and table other large-scale purchases  for another day.

A server is a great example of technology that every business should have. Businesses may try to cut corners when they lack the funds to make that type of purchase. At NSI, we encounter clients who not only try to run a server OS on a desktop but flat out use their desktop PC as a server. There is simply no substitute for a real server. While you may save some money and “make do ” in the short-term, not having a server will eventually come back and bite you.

Here’s why:

A desktop is not built to handle the workloads that a server can process.

Sure, desktops have come a long way and feature greater processing capability and storage capacity than we’ve seen in previous incarnations. However, desktops are geared to the user; therefore, the applications that are run on a desktop perform very different functions and are designed to fulfill end-user goals. In contrast, a server is purpose-built to handle all network resources and goes far beyond individual user functions and requirements. 

Organizations that choose to go the server-OS-on-a-desktop route are also challenged by choosing the right server OS.

After all, the effectiveness of a server OS largely depends on the server functions that are being supported. It’s already difficult to find a server OS that can work with a certain server type (like a file server). Imagine trying to find the right server OS for a laptop that is posing as a server. It’s a bad experiment waiting to happen. 

With all of these compatibility concerns, is it really worth putting your data at risk? The simple answer is no. For small business owners, the minimal savings they could possibly pocket by avoiding a server purchase would be dwarfed by any loss of business. 

IT Guide for Small Business Owners

About The Author

President of NSI, Tom has been helping small and medium businesses succeed in Connecticut for over 25 years.