Storage Server Questions...what path do I take?
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Thread: Storage Server Questions...what path do I take?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Blunted One's Avatar
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    Dec 2005

    Question Storage Server Questions...what path do I take?

    So I have been faced with the task of configuring and setting up a new storage server.

    We have finally gotten to the point where we need a dedicated server to hold a few hundred gigabytes of data that is mostly employee documents, videos, music, programs, etc.

    Currently it has been on one of our main servers sharing space with other running applications and services, but this can no longer continue and space is beginning to wear thin.

    My questions are as follows:

    1. What kind of server would be best for multiple users who would be constantly accessing it to retrieve and store many types of files?
    2. What OS would work best for a storage server and do I need to get a license for each user?
    3. What kind of processor, ram, special components would this server need in order to quickly handle requests from multiple workstations and also be used to install programs on new machines?
    4. Anyone have something similar in their company already that they feel works great...or that they hate?

    It seems that every company I have talked to (Dell, IBM, Insight, PC Mall) each have their own idea on what would be best suited for this type of situation. Some have more modest servers they believe can do the job (similar to a backup server) and some want us to drop up to 10K on a beast of a machine that can grow to multiple TB and more if needed.

    I could use some advice if you have any to drop on me. Thank you.
    It's not a war on drugs it's a war against personal freedoms!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Blunted One's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Almost forgot one important part of this project...

    This needs to be easy to access, which means they can browse to the drive as long as they are inside our network.

    Currently all computers have a network mapped drive to the storage drive or can get to it easily by entering in the run command //server/share drive.
    It's not a war on drugs it's a war against personal freedoms!

  3. #3
    Some Assembly Required ShagDevil's Avatar
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    Nov 2002
    New Jersey
    Blunted One,
    Forgive me for being a simpleton on this one, but wouldn't a nice little NAS (Network Attached Storage) drive with a TB suffice? I don't know what your purchase ceiling is, but I found a nice 1TB NAS for $2,799 and a 2TB for $3,799.

    here is a link to so you can some ideas about what I'm talking about-
    In any event, good luck.
    The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his - George Patton

  4. #4
    Senior Member Blunted One's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    That does seem to be on the right track. Would a single processor with 1GB of ram be enough for a company of 50+ users? Would it be any benefit to step it up to double or tripple the ram and double the processing power? This also will grow as we do to about 75 users. Also needs to be able to handle many people all accessing it at once.

    Perhaps I am mistaken on the load it takes to handle many file requests.

    I do know that we need at least 1TB of usable space if not 2TB. I'm sure some sort of services/support would be needed and that (especially when it comes to servers) seems to drive up the price quite a bit.
    It's not a war on drugs it's a war against personal freedoms!

  5. #5
    AO übergeek phishphreek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    I've been a fan of Snap Servers for a while. I use one for my incremental daily backups which makes backup/restore extremely convenient/easy using CommVault Galaxy.

    We’re also tasked with a similar job to yours. Our file server has grown into three servers that just had extra space. One server has much of the critical data and the rest of them have misc. files. It's becoming a pain to manage.

    We also want to move away from an optical jukebox for some other apps. That will prove to be more difficult because the media has to be WORM.

    We're upgrading our WAN to TLS (Transparent Lan Service) so we'll have a 100mb pipe between my hot site and main office. We're looking into getting two 2TB snap servers and just replicating them at night when the WAN won't be busy.

    Here is what I'm currently looking @

    You can join it to your domain and use active directory for authentication. It supports a bunch of different file sharing protocols but I primarily just use SMB and map the user’s drives. On occasion, i'll use the web based file sharing.

    I've only ever had one drive on these things crash on me. However, since it was setup in RAID5, I simply replaced the drive and it was good to go.
    Last edited by phishphreek; February 3rd, 2007 at 04:08 AM.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
    United Kingdom: Bridlington
    Hi, Blunted One,

    Just a comment on the licences. If you use MS then you buy the server licence and that includes a number of workstations (and possibly processors in the server).

    I mess around with a Server 2000 setup.............. two processors and 5 workstations........... typical for my SOHO customers.

    The point is you don't actually get licences for the individual clients

    Phish~ is spot on with the RAID setup.............if you are "heavy duty" and have a lot of drives, I would even go as far as RAID6

  7. #7
    Senior Member Blunted One's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Thanks for all the info guys. I designed a new multipurpose server that will do all our file sharing and misc. data storage on a new 1.5TB (1.8TB total space) server. It is a Dell Poweredge 2950 with all the fixins so it can be used in a number of jobs if need be.

    For those that like specs it has 6 X 300GB 10K RPM SCSI drives (raid 5 setup), 4GB Ram, 2 X 2.33 GHZ dual core 5140 XEON processors (4mb cache each) with a 1.33 GHZ bus speed, and of course preinstalled with MS Storage Server 2003.

    I think the SNAP server will be a great way to backup the storage server. So that is next on my list since I don't think our current backup server can handle the exchange, app server, and storage server space requirements.
    It's not a war on drugs it's a war against personal freedoms!

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