Putting together the right components for a small-business network can be a difficult task. To simplify the process, several vendors have joined forces to offer bundled hardware/software server solutions designed specifically for the small-business market. These solutions take the burden of implementation off resellers because they're preconfigured and pretested.
Another result of the trend toward bundling: reduced costs. "A year or two ago, buying a [server solution] meant spending $6,000," Barkan says, "but now you can get something similar for around $2,000."
Compaq Small Business Server Solution ($3,480) is made up of the Compaq ProSignia 200 Small Business Server and the Microsoft BackOffice Small Business Server. This integrated server package is equipped to handle a variety of tasks, such as file, printer and modem sharing, and e-mail, fax and Internet connections for up to 25 users.
The Compaq ProSignia 200 Small Business Server has an Intel Pentium II 300 MHz processor, 64MB RAM, a 4.3GB UltraWide SCSI-3 hard drive, a choice of a 4GB or 8GB SCSI tape drive for data backups, and a 56K ISA fax modem. It also comes with Microsoft Small Business Server preinstalled. Key components of the Microsoft Small Business Server include the Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 network operating system; Microsoft Exchange Server with Microsoft Outlook desktop information manager for LAN and Internet e-mail as well as automatic calendaring; Microsoft FAX Server for centrally managed desktop faxing; Modem Sharing Server; Microsoft FrontPage 98 for creating and managing Web sites; and other security and management features.
IBM and Cisco Systems also offer a bundled server solution. IBM's Netfinity 3000 ($1,550) or 3500 ($2,223) servers and Cisco's Networked Office stack have been pretested for compatibility and easy installation and configuration. This server solution provides high-performance network capabilities and fast access to the Internet. It also comes with a variety of features for advanced network security and Web-site development.