Choosing an application server on which to run your LabVantage software is not so much different than buying anything else…a car, let’s say. You need to decide which features are important to you, how much money you have to spend, the level of dealer support you expect, options for repair, the required level of ongoing maintenance, etc.
I remember seeing my Dad’s feet sticking out from under the car in our garage where I grew up in mid-Michigan. He’d be putting on a new muffler or repairing the brakes. I remember him being in the garage late at night when it must have been well below freezing, trying to pull a faulty radiator out of our Chevy Chevette. That’s a pretty hardcore commitment to do-it-yourself repair! I live in Orlando, Florida now, so the idea of spending more than 6 minutes outside doing something when its less than 60 degrees and I start to look for other options…all the more reason to respect him and all the hard work he put into making sure our family always had a running vehicle.
Fast forward several decades and I find myself at an auto dealer picking out a German-made vehicle. My criteria were:
- Features: A convertible to soak up the Florida sunshine and an automatic transmission to make the I-4 traffic jams easier to handle.
- Dealer Support: Two dealers within 30 miles of my house
- Fiscal responsibility: I purchased a used vehicle that had come off a three-year lease
- Little ongoing maintenance: Change oil, rotate tires, new breaks, good to go!
- Little need for repair: Did I mention German engineering?
- Must Love It: It was a gorgeous looking vehicle and knowing that I fulfilled the above criteria made it even more appealing
Did I choose the right vehicle? Who knows? But what I do not regret is thinking through the purchasing process from every angle before I walked into even a single auto dealer.
Back to choosing an application server: Don’t let the technical side of reviewing application servers put you off; this is a purchase decision like any other, so you should be just as pragmatic. Here are some things to consider:
Can the application server be installed on an operating system that your organization is comfortable with?
Does the application server offer the level of scalability necessary to support the needs of your organization over the next 3 to 5 years?
How much redundancy does your organization require and does the server support that level?
Does the application server vendor offer robust support during the hours that you may require assistance?
Does the vendor offer training opportunities? Do they offer training remotely in a virtual classroom setting?
Is there an active user community that might offer additional support, either formal or informal?
Maintenance & Repair
Is the application server easy to use?
Do you have an IT organization that can help with repair and maintenance?
If not, is the application server self-service enough so that someone in your own organization might be able to service it?
Do You Love It?
When you’ve balanced all of the technical and resource considerations, are you comfortable with your decision?
Do you expect to succeed on this application server? Remember, sometimes success is achieved in part by positive expectations.
In order to help you think through these things, please refer to our white paper, “How to Select a LABVANTAGE Application Server.” This document provides an in-depth review of the application server decision making process.