Sharepoint or Server

For a long time businesses only had the option of a server to underpin their IT.  Well maintained servers perform well and provide the support businesses need.  That said they are often physically bulky, needing a dedicated space, and they come with infrastructure and support costs.

This no longer has to be the case, as hosted SharePoint from Microsoft may provide a cheaper alternative to servers.  The question is which one is right for your business.

Advantages of SharePoint

SharePoint comes with plenty of benefits.  Here’s a snapshot:

Operates in the Cloud – Rather than a bulky server taking up space in the office, SharePoint is hosted in a Microsoft data centre.  This makes it accessible from anywhere that has an internet connection from any device.  This greatly assists collaboration especially as it has advanced file management capabilities.

Low Maintenance – requires very little maintenance.  A business server needs routine maintenance and care to keep it running.  This is Microsoft’s responsibility now.

Collaboration – Microsoft have made SharePoint easy to bring together teams from all over the world.  They have quite sensibly implemented version control and sophisticated document management tools, avoiding the headaches of duplicated documents on independent machines.  They have implemented a comprehensive review process and management control.  Their workflow processes are also highly regarded.

Costs – For small to medium enterprises, SharePoint’s pricing may be too good to turn down.  For the Office 365 Business Premium pack, their most expensive option, costs £9.40 per user per month, with a minimum of a twelve-month contract.  This includes Microsoft’s office suite of apps which are arguably the best you can have.

Advantages of a Server

Although you may be thinking it is game over for the server, think again.  Although SharePoint has a lot of appealing factors for small to medium sized businesses, it is not so good for larger businesses.  Here is a snapshot of the benefits of a server over SharePoint:

File sizes – file sizes are limited when compared to a server.  SharePoint can handle up to 2GB file size and obviously the larger the file the longer the sync time.  Invariably, longer syncing times bring frustrations especially when trying to display a file to a client or potential client.  Servers can handle all files regardless of size.

File Names – SharePoint limits file names to 260 characters and this includes the URL path.  This limit can make naming files difficult and as such retrieving one becomes more irksome.  Servers do not have this limitation.

File Support – If you work mostly with Microsoft Office apps you should not have an issue with SharePoint.   If you step outside of this box, however, you may have a big issue.  SharePoint can’t display Photoshop or CAD files for example, just store them and apply file management protocols.  Again, servers are a better bet if you are working with file types that fall outside of Microsoft’s comfort zone.

Databases – Hosting databases is far better on a server.  Trying to host one on SharePoint would be like hosting a database within a database. If you wanted to go down the hosted database route then Microsoft Azure would be a better option.

Costs – If you have a large pool of staff, the costs savings experienced using SharePoint may vanishe.

Choosing Between Servers and SharePoint

The right choice for your business lies with your business requirements.  If you are unsure or want to get up and running quickly with a server or SharePoint, call 0121 667 8977 or email info@beanit.co.uk.  Our experts will be able to answer your questions and help you choose.

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