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Building a server for a small business network

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hey All,

A friend approached me to help them build a small network for their business they are starting up. The requirements are very simple, as the server will host some basic software with MS SQL 2012 Express R2... This will most likely be upgraded in the future, as the data will grow over the years.

The server will also be used as a client, and with two other PC's as clients as well.

The software is pretty simple. It stores critical client data, and can include images.

The minimum hardware specs are as follows:
OS:
Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10 installed using a 64-Bit architecture. (PRO OR ENTERPRISE ONLY)
or
Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012/2012 R2 and 2016

UAC, SMB2 and Opportunistic Locking must be disabled

Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0

Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 must be enabled
NIC Team configuration (2 x 1Gb) on the server computer.

CPU: Intel i5 Processor or Greater (or equivalent) [I've asked them if any modern cpu will work, including Ryzen, and they said it should be fine].

Memory: 4GB of RAM

Hard Drive Space: 500GB or larger high performance hard drive in a mirrored disk configuration. It is recommended to have the installation on a drive other than where the O/S resides.

So far I have a few questions, please excuse me if I'm a noob smile.gif

I was planning on running Windows 7 as the OS (For Familiarity), and having a 256GB SSD installed as the primary drive. I'd also have two 4TB Hard Drives (Maybe WD Red's?) in Raid 1 to store the database, and pairing it with a high quality 500-600W PSU.

1. Will I really need a NIC card? I was planning to use a router and have the network wireless, as cabling from one room to another may be difficult... And even if I did wire everything, couldn't i wire it through the router instead of NIC?

2. Will I need an ECC enabled motherboard for a server build? Data is critical to not be corrupt. I figured since this is such a small server, I wouldn't need to, as memory errors would be rare.

3. Will I need a raid controller, or will any modern motherboard integrated raid controller nowadays be reliable?

Any other suggestions or help would be gratefully appreciated.
Thank you for your help.
UberN00b
I'm Jelly.
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I'm Jelly.
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 2500k Gigabyte Z68X-UD4-B3 MSI GTX 460 Cyclone 748MB 8GB DDR3-1600 Ripjaws 9-9-9-27 
Hard DriveOSKeyboardPower
OCZ 60GB Vertex 2 + 500GB 7200.12 Raid 0 Windows 7 Metadot DAS Professional S 850W XFX 
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HAF 932 MX518 
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post #2 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by UberN00B View Post

Hey All,

A friend approached me to help them build a small network for their business they are starting up. The requirements are very simple, as the server will host some basic software with MS SQL 2012 Express R2... This will most likely be upgraded in the future, as the data will grow over the years.

The server will also be used as a client, and with two other PC's as clients as well.

The software is pretty simple. It stores critical client data, and can include images.

The minimum hardware specs are as follows:
OS:
Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10 installed using a 64-Bit architecture. (PRO OR ENTERPRISE ONLY)
or
Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012/2012 R2 and 2016

UAC, SMB2 and Opportunistic Locking must be disabled

Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0

Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 must be enabled
NIC Team configuration (2 x 1Gb) on the server computer.

CPU: Intel i5 Processor or Greater (or equivalent) [I've asked them if any modern cpu will work, including Ryzen, and they said it should be fine].

Memory: 4GB of RAM

Hard Drive Space: 500GB or larger high performance hard drive in a mirrored disk configuration. It is recommended to have the installation on a drive other than where the O/S resides.

So far I have a few questions, please excuse me if I'm a noob smile.gif

I was planning on running Windows 7 as the OS (For Familiarity), and having a 256GB SSD installed as the primary drive. I'd also have two 4TB Hard Drives (Maybe WD Red's?) in Raid 1 to store the database, and pairing it with a high quality 500-600W PSU.

1. Will I really need a NIC card? I was planning to use a router and have the network wireless, as cabling from one room to another may be difficult... And even if I did wire everything, couldn't i wire it through the router instead of NIC?

2. Will I need an ECC enabled motherboard for a server build? Data is critical to not be corrupt. I figured since this is such a small server, I wouldn't need to, as memory errors would be rare.

3. Will I need a raid controller, or will any modern motherboard integrated raid controller nowadays be reliable?

Any other suggestions or help would be gratefully appreciated.
Thank you for your help.
UberN00b

First thing I'll say is you should advise them to ditch the idea of the server also being used as a client. The whole purpose of a server is to make sure it's got maximum uptime. If the server is down, so is the data and thus business can not continue. Using the server as a client will increase the chances of the server becoming unusable due to software crashes, viruses/spyware, etc.

1. NIC refers to network interface card. This can be wired or wireless. But I strongly recommend that the server be connected via wired networking. You don't want to be troubleshooting wireless connectivity issues when you need immediate access to your data and/or other services. It is this reason that servers are often in a separate physical location (near the router/switch) on the premises than the clients are.

2. ECC may not necessarily be a must but it often depends on the type of data you are storing/serving. If that data is constantly changing then ECC becomes more critical. On a related note, you'll want to make sure you have multiple backups of the server's data. This includes both on-site and off-site backups.

3. Again this is a matter of preference as RAID real only affects uptime, not backups. In most cases, yes you will want some type of RAID configuration so that if you lose 1 or more drives in the array, business can resume as usual while a replacement is ordered/replaced.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PuffinMyLye View Post

First thing I'll say is you should advise them to ditch the idea of the server also being used as a client. The whole purpose of a server is to make sure it's got maximum uptime. If the server is down, so is the data and thus business can not continue. Using the server as a client will increase the chances of the server becoming unusable due to software crashes, viruses/spyware, etc.

1. NIC refers to network interface card. This can be wired or wireless. But I strongly recommend that the server be connected via wired networking. You don't want to be troubleshooting wireless connectivity issues when you need immediate access to your data and/or other services. It is this reason that servers are often in a separate physical location (near the router/switch) on the premises than the clients are.

2. ECC may not necessarily be a must but it often depends on the type of data you are storing/serving. If that data is constantly changing then ECC becomes more critical. On a related note, you'll want to make sure you have multiple backups of the server's data. This includes both on-site and off-site backups.

3. Again this is a matter of preference as RAID real only affects uptime, not backups. In most cases, yes you will want some type of RAID configuration so that if you lose 1 or more drives in the array, business can resume as usual while a replacement is ordered/replaced.

Thanks for your help on this, I will definitely take this into consideration when I help them set this up.

In regards to #2, what are some practical ways of backing up this data? Should i take a dump of the database on a weekly basis and write it to the same raid drive, a separate drive, or external drive? Are there any ways of easily / automatically taking backups?

Lastly, are WD Red's regarded as good drives to be used in Raid 1, and reliable? The data being stored is usually static (mostly customer data), so most of the data in these tables will never change, but new records added.
I'm Jelly.
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 2500k Gigabyte Z68X-UD4-B3 MSI GTX 460 Cyclone 748MB 8GB DDR3-1600 Ripjaws 9-9-9-27 
Hard DriveOSKeyboardPower
OCZ 60GB Vertex 2 + 500GB 7200.12 Raid 0 Windows 7 Metadot DAS Professional S 850W XFX 
CaseMouse
HAF 932 MX518 
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Reply
I'm Jelly.
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 2500k Gigabyte Z68X-UD4-B3 MSI GTX 460 Cyclone 748MB 8GB DDR3-1600 Ripjaws 9-9-9-27 
Hard DriveOSKeyboardPower
OCZ 60GB Vertex 2 + 500GB 7200.12 Raid 0 Windows 7 Metadot DAS Professional S 850W XFX 
CaseMouse
HAF 932 MX518 
  hide details  
Reply
post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by UberN00B View Post

Thanks for your help on this, I will definitely take this into consideration when I help them set this up.

In regards to #2, what are some practical ways of backing up this data? Should i take a dump of the database on a weekly basis and write it to the same raid drive, a separate drive, or external drive? Are there any ways of easily / automatically taking backups?

Lastly, are WD Red's regarded as good drives to be used in Raid 1, and reliable? The data being stored is usually static (mostly customer data), so most of the data in these tables will never change, but new records added.

I'd recommend at least 1 local backup (though I personally go with 2) with multiple versions you can restore not stored on the local server and one remote backup. You can store the backups on external hard drives, a NAS, or tape backup system for local backups. For remote backups you'll either want to physically remove drives/tapes and move them off premises regularly or use a cloud backup solution. It's hard to recommend an exact solution without knowing exactly what the data/applications being used.

Reds are excellent drives for smaller (8 drives or less) RAID arrays.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PuffinMyLye View Post

I'd recommend at least 1 local backup (though I personally go with 2) with multiple versions you can restore not stored on the local server and one remote backup. You can store the backups on external hard drives, a NAS, or tape backup system for local backups. For remote backups you'll either want to physically remove drives/tapes and move them off premises regularly or use a cloud backup solution. It's hard to recommend an exact solution without knowing exactly what the data/applications being used.

Reds are excellent drives for smaller (8 drives or less) RAID arrays.

Sorry, should have clarified,

The small business that will be created is for a Dentist, where they will be using specific software from a company called "Tracker".

http://bridge-network.com/support/requirements/tracker.asp

Basically it'll store customer data, charting data (images), appointment scheduling, accounting/billing data.

thanks
I'm Jelly.
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 2500k Gigabyte Z68X-UD4-B3 MSI GTX 460 Cyclone 748MB 8GB DDR3-1600 Ripjaws 9-9-9-27 
Hard DriveOSKeyboardPower
OCZ 60GB Vertex 2 + 500GB 7200.12 Raid 0 Windows 7 Metadot DAS Professional S 850W XFX 
CaseMouse
HAF 932 MX518 
  hide details  
Reply
I'm Jelly.
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 2500k Gigabyte Z68X-UD4-B3 MSI GTX 460 Cyclone 748MB 8GB DDR3-1600 Ripjaws 9-9-9-27 
Hard DriveOSKeyboardPower
OCZ 60GB Vertex 2 + 500GB 7200.12 Raid 0 Windows 7 Metadot DAS Professional S 850W XFX 
CaseMouse
HAF 932 MX518 
  hide details  
Reply
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