Where general guidance and recommendations work well for general hardware like workstations and printers, servers are much more technical to setup and manage. Servers today consist of traditional tower configuration and the more popular rack mounted design. Please note, we do not recommend tower server solutions if more than two servers are present. Where there are three or more servers in the same data center, a rack mounted solution is more effective. Blade servers, download IDC white paper on forecasting cost of ownership for deploying Server Blades, are PCs on a card that support remote users who are running in a Thin Client mode but all the actual work is done in the data center. The most popular server technology today is Virtualization, where multiple logical software services (servers) are ran on a single hardware server. Picking the right Server Virtualization solution is not easy, but there are a number of studies available on the subject.

Standard Server Hardware comes in a number of configurations and we will provide our 2012 recommendations from the three leading server hardware vendors;

HP ProLiant DL Rack Mounted Servers - ideal for low-risk email, file and print services. Prices range from a SMB solution starting at $799 to the DL500 Enterprise solution at $6000 - $10,000.

HP ProLiant ML Tower Servers - ideal for small offices, remote and branch locations with file and print needs on a budget. Prices range form $450 up depending on processor, memory and disk space.

HP BladeSystem c3000 Solutions - Example configurations. HP offers a very advanced and sophisticated component model for creating and support blade servers. Cost run from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars depending on size and scope of project.

HP ProLiant BL495c G5 Server Blade for Virtualization.

Dell PowerEdge Tower Solutions - Small to Medium Business solutions where there is only one or two servers in a central location, or single servers distributed. Pricing ranges from $400 to $1000

Dell Rack Server Solution - Larger Data Center requirements there there are three or more defined servers. Pricing starts around $900 up to $15000 depending on RAM and storage space.

Dell Blade Server Solution - Ideal for those using Citrix, Desktop Virtualization, or Thin Client topologies. Blade solutions begin around $1500 but quickly escalate to $6500 to $20,000 plus depending on users.

IBM Express and Enterprise Level Server Solutions - Still the leader in high-end enterprise servers IBM has a number of sophisticated solutions.