Sever Noob---Neeed Opinion----Mahalo

Rockjay420

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Sep 29, 2005
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732
Im building a file server for a client, and I would l like a some opinions on what type of hardware to use.
4 client want to modify and save word docs, excel sheets, and a quickbooks file to a main server, so were not talking about a lot of data, or heavy band-with...Still, I want these transactions to happen as fast as possible.
Am I okay to just build a powerhouse computer (core I5, 16GB RAM, with on board raid and gigabit Ethernet)

Or do I need to build a server with an actual sever board, ecc memory, xenon processors, etc?

Suppose the I already have a gigabit network, with a switch that can handle jumbo frames,
what are the biggest bottle necks that influence speed of retrieving files across a network?

Are any specific cpu's engineered to handle network traffic more efficiently?
 

ripken204

[H]ard|Gawd
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Aug 24, 2007
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what is the client's budget and how many people will be connecting to this server?
an i5 and 16gb of ram is huge overkill for simple file storage.
you might be able to get a cheap NAS.

a server motherboard and xeon would be nice, but that means more money
 

Rockjay420

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Sep 29, 2005
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732
budget of 1000$, 4 workstations will connect.
My client would like to the file server to double as a her workstation.
 

ripken204

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Aug 24, 2007
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rule #1
DO NOT USE THE FILE SERVER AS A WORKSTATION
absolute gigantic mistake right there

you should use a server OS like windows home server or linux
what OSes are you familiar with?

and 4 users is not a lot of users, especially for simple files.
so you care about user permissions? such as only allowing user A to have access to folder A?
 

Rockjay420

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Sep 29, 2005
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Permissions not needed. Just modifying and saving files from other workstations, and quick books file accessible on all 4.
I'm very comfortable with windows, but i have never setup a server before, I don't think its beyond me tho.

If were not doing a server/workstation combo, than what is the minimum hardware I would need to smooth file sharing?
 

roach9

Limp Gawd
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Jan 17, 2012
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147
You really don't need much for just a file server.

Have any older computers/workstations? When you say you're building this for a client, are you implying that they contracted you?
 

ripken204

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Well personally I would suggest linux/solaris/freebsd but windows home server works fine and you are used to windows. an HP MediaSmart would work.

What I suggest you do is search this subforum for NAS
there are plenty of threads, that might be the easiest solution
something like a Drobo or QNAP or ReadyNAS
 

Rockjay420

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Sep 29, 2005
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732
Okay, so ill build a basic machine, maybe a cheap quadcore, and 4gigs of ram, and fast hard drive.

^^ thanks ripken, I looked up WHS, and it looks fairly easy to configure,

since were talking about servers, Ive always wondered, what can you do, (how and why) to us both rj45 interfaces on the back of the motherboard?
Can you do, load balancing stuff?
 

ripken204

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yes, you can use both ports to load balance
you can also connect to two separate networks

in your case it doesn't really matter

as far as hardware, a simple quad core and 4gb of ram will be plenty
 

roach9

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Jan 17, 2012
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Any tutorials on WHS out there? I have to do some work on one in a few weeks...
 

feffrey

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Oct 26, 2010
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Like others have said, dedicate one computer to be the server. No one should be logged into it, unless someone is making changes to it.
Get a battery backup for it too. If power goes out it will still run and shutdown the server safely.
Make sure you run a Raid 1 or Raid 5 incase a drive fails.
Also make sure to make backups of your data.
For only 4 users you really won't hit any limits, unless you are constantly transferring a lot of really large files.
 

roach9

Limp Gawd
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Jan 17, 2012
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Like others have said, dedicate one computer to be the server. No one should be logged into it, unless someone is making changes to it.
Get a battery backup for it too. If power goes out it will still run and shutdown the server safely.
Make sure you run a Raid 1 or Raid 5 incase a drive fails.
Also make sure to make backups of your data.
For only 4 users you really won't hit any limits, unless you are constantly transferring a lot of really large files.

Pretty much this.
 

sdadept

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Jul 3, 2004
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432
one recommendation I would make is not to use the Raid that's built onto the motherboard. Those are typically very difficult to migrate to another physical machine in case you have some sort of hardware failure. Get a hardware raid card and set your array up there. Those are typically very easy to move to new machines or even use new hardware to recover. Run them in raid 5 or 6 and you have very good safety for your data as well.
 

LhasaCM

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Feb 5, 2005
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one recommendation I would make is not to use the Raid that's built onto the motherboard. Those are typically very difficult to migrate to another physical machine in case you have some sort of hardware failure. Get a hardware raid card and set your array up there. Those are typically very easy to move to new machines or even use new hardware to recover. Run them in raid 5 or 6 and you have very good safety for your data as well.

For that budget, good hardware RAID might get tricky (especially if you're not buying something used). With current HD prices, how tricky it is will depend upon how much storage is needed.

For the OP: how much is it worth to to client to assure more reliable availability of data? W/O RAID: HD failure = downtime. If downtime is relatively expensive, them a good solid HW RAID card is valuable. If not, then it might be overkill.

Also - all of this assumes that there's a backup plan in place. Because, as has been said approximately 45 billion times in this forum, RAID is not backup. :)
 

Rockjay420

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Sep 29, 2005
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732
For that budget, good hardware RAID might get tricky (especially if you're not buying something used). With current HD prices, how tricky it is will depend upon how much storage is needed.

For the OP: how much is it worth to to client to assure more reliable availability of data? W/O RAID: HD failure = downtime. If downtime is relatively expensive, them a good solid HW RAID card is valuable. If not, then it might be overkill.

Also - all of this assumes that there's a backup plan in place. Because, as has been said approximately 45 billion times in this forum, RAID is not backup. :)

Just finished building the machine, and installed WHS.
I used a two, 2TB hard drives in raid 1.
I didnt catch the reccomendation to use raid card, till later, so i'll keep an identical mobo handy, for a quick fix.

Im trying to figure out roles/role services, and which ones are useful to small office.

Are there any benefits of using enabling print server?
Is there any software I can use, to backup a partition image and later deploy across the network?
 
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