Server Infrastructure for SMBs: The power behind your data.

Brett Downes Brett Downes Solution Architect at Dicker Data
Brett Downes

The right server infrastructure for your SMB

Modern businesses run on data. Your software applications are hungry for it. Your employees need it to better serve your customers. And you can use it to make smarter management decisions.

But data doesn’t live in a void. It lives on your servers, and you need up-to-the-minute server technology to store, process and protect the ever-increasing volume of data that today’s digital businesses deal in.

In fact, the 2019 Business IT Trends Annual Report reveals that servers were the second most common IT rollout among the surveyed respondents, behind only desktops and PCs.


You also need the right server architecture to best meet the data storage, processing and protection needs of your organisation. Generally, there are three different approaches you can take to designing your server infrastructure – on-premises, cloud and hybrid.

On-premises servers

On-premises (or local) servers are physically located at your place of business. You own, maintain and control on-premises servers.



  • You control data security and privacy.
  • No third parties have access to your data.
  • Local data transfer does not require an internet connection.


  • Higher initial capex investment required.
  • In-house IT staff may be needed to maintain servers.
  • Data loss could occur if server hardware is physically damaged.

Cloud Servers

Third-party vendors can store your data on remote or cloud servers. These servers are owned, maintained and controlled by the third-party vendor.



  • No initial capex investment.
  • Automatic data backup by third-party vendor.
  • Scale up or down as required.


  • Third-party vendor controls data security and privacy.
  • Internet connection outages will halt access to your data.
  • It’s illegal to send some data types to offshore servers.

The Hybrid Approach

A hybrid approach to server architecture uses a mixture of on-premises servers and cloud solutions.



  • Keep control of mission-critical data onsite.
  • Back-up data onsite and in the cloud.
  • Greater server flexibility supports scalability.


  • Potential data integration challenges between on-premises and cloud servers.
  • Can be difficult to get a singular view of your data.
  • Need to secure data transfers between on-premises and cloud servers.

How to make the choice

Deciding on an approach to your server infrastructure really depends on the nature and needs of your business. If you deal in high volumes of mission-critical or sensitive data, then on-premises servers will give you total control over the reliability and security of the data that drives your operations.


However, if your data isn’t largely critical to your core operations and you’re comfortable that it will be sufficiently protected in vendor-owned remote servers, then the cloud will likely offer you cost savings and easier scalability.


If, on the other hand, both of the above statements are true for your business, then a hybrid approach that combines a mix of company-owned on-premises services and vendor-owned cloud services may be the best solution for your business.


For more information about how to get your digital transformation started, check out Digital transformation: What it is and why you should care.

Contact for all your technology needs.


Start a discussion, not a fire. Post with kindness



Subscribe to the Dicker Data blog

for regular updates and insights