Upgrade to server based network?

I am looking for advice on whether to move to a server based network. currently we have 3 computers, running peer to peer on XP (except for one on W98). We run a practice management program, as well as a document management program. The "main" computer has a tendency to freeze up fairly ofter. I am thinking it would be more efficient to use a server - I do not see us going past 5 computers. If the recommendation is to upgrade, I would appreciate advice on what what to look for, and what software to employ.
wmreavesAsked:
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magus123Connect With a Mentor Commented:
consider the level of security to be your governing factor.
also raid level hardware or os level can provide peace of mind
your small network really doesnt need to go into a domain ,
but the factors below should be considered , its all about being secure or not , should i lock
down my computers.

a peer to peer can have around 10 computers , after that it gets frustrating
domain= endless with some considertation per domain

domain:
ntfs with group secuirty
group policies that apply to site/ou/domain
audting : ability to spy or to see what access or no access attempts have been made
server level shares  and ability to save everything to a server
disk qotas : limit the size of disk space users use
dfs : share replication with fault tolerance
dhcp : dynamically assign ip address
dns :
ftp
website
roaming profiles : allow a user to just walk into another office computer
and login.

the list gos on ,


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cyraxConnect With a Mentor Commented:
A server based network will allow your network to run more efficiently.
Since you are currently running your Practice Management and Document Management on workstations, which are also used by employees for their work, this is not an efficient model. If in the case that one of the workstations goes down (running one of the management programs), then the whole network is affected. If on the other hand, you had a server with redundancy in place, there shouldn't be too much of an issue.

A server environment would provide you with the following benefits (if set up correctly):
- Efficiency & reliability
- Added security
- Data redundancy
- Centralised programs (Practice and Data Management)
- Internet connection sharing
- Centralised backup location
 There are many more benefits, depending on how complex you want to go.

I have set up installed several small to medium sized practices and offices with a server environment. My clients have realised the benefits immediately. This is my recommendation.

-Cyrax-
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