These are the 5 best small business servers in 2023 that’ll help you store and manage your business data securely.
I’ve included servers for everyone on this piece. You need the flagship servers which cost a fortune but are feature-rich? We got it. Maybe something more budget-friendly but with great expansion capabilities? That’s here too.
Your first time working with small business servers? The next section will discuss how you can pick the best servers even with 0 previous experience.
How to choose the best small business servers?
Choosing the right servers for businesses can be quite a task. There are a lot of components involved. More importantly, each component directly affects not just the present, but also the future of your business.
To ease out the process, here are a few very basic aspects you should pay attention to when choosing the best server for a small business:
- Expandability: I’d say consider first and foremost. Your small business will grow with time, hence, your storage and feature requirements will too. Pick a server that supports future-ready expansions.
- Shape and size: Officially, this is called the “form factor” but why complicate things, eh? There are 4 major types, the Tower/Rack/Blade and Cabinets. Which suits you best primarily depends on the space where you’ve decided to put this up.
- Basic hardware components: This goes without saying but do pay attention to the RAM/Storage and processor you’re getting. These define your server’s speed, features and obviously total items you can store.
Now, there’s certainly a lot more that needs attention. However, these are the most basic aspects and once covered you’re almost set.
The 5 Best Small Business Servers Review in 2023
1. HPE ProLiant ML350 Gen 10
- RAM: 16 GB (upgradeable)
- Intel Xeon Silver 4208 Processor
- 2 processors supported
- 24x SFF / 12 x LFF drive bays
HPE ProLiant is one of the most expensive but undoubtedly the best small business servers on this list.
For starters, it comes with 16 GB RAM and 8 drive bays. That’s more than enough to get you off the ground. You can expand this up to 24 small or 12 large factor drives.
Earlier, it used to come in a 500W variant, however, the current version has been upgraded to a 800W power supply.
The very powerful Intel Xeon Silver 4208 Processor can handle pretty much anything you throw at it.
You can either directly buy the more powerful version with the Xeon Gold 5218 2.3 GHz and 32GB RAM, or upgrade any ML350 G10 to the same specs.
Did I mention it supports 2 processors? Well, yes. (You only get 1 when you purchase this, the second is optional and additional).
The only bummer? If you buy this, you’ll have to get the hard drives separately. This is very common for most small business servers so that’s not a major deal-breaker.
As the image may make it clear, it’s a “Tower” as far as the form factor goes.
2. Synology 12 bay DiskStation DS3622xs+
- RAM: Expandable up to 48 GB.
- Storage: Up to 36 bay drives
- Processor: 6-core Intel Xeon processor
This one I’ve got some personal experience with. On top of storage, it can pretty much do everything else; be it running Plex, transcoding, video surveillance, or even running virtual machines.
Do note that it can’t transcode 4K media but I doubt that’s what you need this business server for.
Now, you get 16 GB memory (RAM) when you purchase this. However, it’s expandable up to 48GB.
As for storage, you can store your entire business on it as it comes with 2X12 bay expansions. This means up to 36 bay drives can be mounted if you need to. It doesn’t include any hard disks so you must purchase them separately.
The default read/write speed is impressive, however, for growing businesses, you can speed it up with NVMe SSD Cache4.
As for ports, it offers 2x 10GbE RJ-45 ports and three gigabit ports.
A major benefit with this one is the 100% free “Active Backup for Business” license. You’ll probably require a cloud backup for business solution with any business server. The licensing cost can be bummer, but not with the Synology DS3622xs+.
3. ASUSTOR Lockerstor 10 AS6510T
- Processor: Atom C3538 Quad-Core CPU
- RAM: 8 GB (expandable up to 64 GB)
- No. of Bays: Up to 10
If I’m being honest, the two options above were suited more to the “medium” sized businesses rather than the “small” businesses.
The Asustor Lockerstor however is cheaper and less powerful than some of the options above. However, its Atom C3538 Quad-Core CPU can still get most things done for you that your business needs.
You get it with 8GB DDR4 RAM but can easily be upgraded up to 64GB. There are multiple variants available, you can go as low as 2 bay or as high as 10 bays for your storage.
Its PWM fans are optimized for smart speed controls and push-pin mounting for a pretty decent cooling affect.
You can also connect it to the ASUSTOR’s “MyArchieve” technology which offers you “technically” unlimited storage.
You get two 10-Gigabit Ethernet ports, however, these can be aggregated for up to 20 Gbps speed. Similarly, two Realtek 2.5-Gigabit ports are available, again, can be aggregated for up to 5Gbps.
Wake on LAN/WAN and dual M.2NVMe SSD ports are some other desirable features you’ll like.
4. Dell PowerEdge T440
- One of the most expensive small business servers
- Extreme upgrades possible
- Up to 1024 GB RAM
- Intel Xeon Gold 5215 2.5G
- 2 Processors
- 8 X 3.5” SAS/SATA HDDs/SSDs or 16X 2.5” drive bays.
This one’s the most expensive, and arguably “the” best small business servers in the industry (at this price). Some would even call it an overkill.
In my opinion, while it’s best-suited for medium to large size businesses, small businesses can get it too. It’ll just help you avoid future upgrades and major changes to your hardware.
You can get it pre-configured with Intel Xenon Bronze 3204 and many other CPUs. However, you can also find (or upgrade) up to Intel Xeon Gold 5215 2.5G. Well, it supports 2 processors so you can pretty much make your own combination.
Similarly, the lowest you get is 8GB RAM. The highest? Well, it has 16 DIMM slots. So, 16X64 = 1024 GB is the maximum RAM you can upgrade to. You totally should, if you’re planning on launching a rocket anytime soon!
On the security front, there’s a configuration lockdown (to prevent changes), system erase (when you change/discard servers), update verification etc.
5. Lenovo Thinksystem SR550
- Intel Xenon Quad core processors
- Two processors supported
- 12x 64 GB = 768 GB RAM supported
- 12x SFF/ 8x LFF drive bays.
If you need a balance between features and pricing, the SR550 is what you should peek at.
You start with the Intel Xenon Quad Core processors. However, when you need it an additional processor can be attached as well.
The base model gets you 16 GB of RAM, however, its 12 RAM slots let you mount as much as 768GB DDR3 RAMs.
It’s capable of 6x PCIe 3.0 expansions. Initially you can use it with 12x small drives and 8x large drives. Expansion is possible up to 16 SFF drives.
If you’re looking for a pocket-friendly business server solutions, I doubt you’d need to look further.
Business server vs. NAS
While a business server has a lot in common with a NAS device for small business, they aren’t exactly the same thing.
The very basic difference being, a NAS is primarily used for storage and file sharing. A server on the other hand has many additional uses. It’s sometimes used as a web server, running virtual OS, and so on.
Due to the difference in functionality, the hardware components of a NAS too are weaker than a server.
Then, a NAS is generally much smaller than a full-fledged business server. This also impacts the pricing as servers tend to be more expensive.
A NAS also isn’t as expandable or upgradeable as a server.
In simpler words, let’s just say that a business server can almost always be used as a NAS and it’ll serve all the purposes. While, using a NAS for the features of a server isn’t wise.
Final words- Which of these is the best small business servers?
A business server is very subjective and totally depends on a business’s specific needs and budget.
However, if I’ve to give you one choice that you can’t go wrong with, I’d say go with the Dell PowerEdge T440. It’s a lot of upfront investment, for a lot of benefits you can reap later.
If you need a more budget-friendly but feature-rich solution, the HPE ProLiant ML350 Gen 10 is just for you. This too can be expanded into a beast of a server without requiring a lot of financial commitment upfront.
Best of luck for your small business then? I do hope you find at least a few best small business servers that serve you right on this piece.