Network Setup and Services
The network components of a small business are often pretty simple, particularly when the business has only a single small office. Mac OS X Server includes a broad set of network services and a computer with multiple network adapters (the built-in Ethernet port, additional network cards, or an AirPort card are all examples) can be used to provide a wide range of network functionality. It can replicate and surpass the functions of most of the network hardware aimed at the small business market. However, for many small businesses, a simpler and less-expensive hardware router or even a home solution such as Apple’s Airport Extreme Base Station can be acceptable.
Unless your business requires specific network functionality or high-performance solutions, you probably won’t invest in Mac OS X Server for basic network services alone. That said, some small office/home office products don’t always provide the best solutions. Often, these products have limitations on the number of computers they support, the number and complexity of firewall rules, and capability of VPN features (not all products offer VPN, and those that do might not work with Mac OS X out of the box). So, if you’re in-between needing basic network functionality and needing products aimed at larger environments, Mac OS X Server is a good option. It is also worth considering if you will be purchasing it for other purposes because it will cut down on the network devices you’ll need.