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Need a server for business... buy or build? - Page 2

post #11 of 15
I actually have a server box just like what you were suggesting:

AMD X2 BE2400 45w CPU
Gigabyte 780G mobo with ATI HD3200 onboard, 6 SATA
Intel Mainstream 40GB SSD for boot
2 Seagate 1TB 7200.12 in Raid 1 via PCI Raid card
Antec Earthwatts 380W PSU

This is pretty much a file server that backs up files from 5 clients. I went with SSD boot drive mostly for reliability, since this thing runs 24/7. And the Earthwatts PSU and the low power CPU is great at power sipping. The only reason I built this instead of the Windows Home Servers because:
1. I have parts laying around
2. I wanted direct access to the machine, I dont like the lack of a video port on the WHS
3. I wanted more control on the backups (some daily backups, some weekly, some monthly). Maybe I didnt spend enough time with WHS but I just felt like its easier with 3rd party apps like Cobian
post #12 of 15
WHS does daily, weekly, and monthly backups, and you can specify how many of each to keep before overwriting. It's honestly the easiest backup solution I've ever seen, though you can customize it as well.

You can buy Windows Home Server as an OEM copy, and it does support video, so if you are building it yourself, no issue. That said, I can Remote Desktop into my WHS box from anywhere, so no biggie there. That's what enterprise admins tend to do with server systems anyway. But you can build yourself a Windows Home Server box with no issue, and if you have a Technet subscription, you already have one WHS license to play with.

Rather than using RAID, I'm just using WHS' Folder Duplication option, which keeps shadow copies of folders I specify, so if a drive fails, I still have my files.

I don't work for Microsoft --I just like that when I come home from a day of working on servers, I don't have to futz with the one I have at home. It does a great job with a minimum of fuss, and Microsoft did a good job of that. Vail is supposed to be even better, I can't wait to see when they get a little further down the road with it (I don't have a box to beta-test it with currently, though I probably should try running it in a VM).
LEVIATHAN
(21 items)
 
 
BORGCUBE (Server)
(17 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Xeon E3-1265L v2 HP Matrox G200eh (linked to iLO4) 16GB (2 x 8) Kingston DDR3 ECC unbuffered 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveOS
2x Crucial M500 240GB SSD in RAID-0 4x Western Digital Red 2TB in RAID-5 Matsushita UJ-862 DVDR@ Windows Server 2012R2 Standard 
CaseOtherOtherOther
HP Microserver Gen8 HP SmartArray P222 RAID controller with 512MB c... MacAlly USB3 enclosure with WD Red 4TB (backup) APC BackUPS ES 750 
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LEVIATHAN
(21 items)
 
 
BORGCUBE (Server)
(17 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Xeon E3-1265L v2 HP Matrox G200eh (linked to iLO4) 16GB (2 x 8) Kingston DDR3 ECC unbuffered 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveOS
2x Crucial M500 240GB SSD in RAID-0 4x Western Digital Red 2TB in RAID-5 Matsushita UJ-862 DVDR@ Windows Server 2012R2 Standard 
CaseOtherOtherOther
HP Microserver Gen8 HP SmartArray P222 RAID controller with 512MB c... MacAlly USB3 enclosure with WD Red 4TB (backup) APC BackUPS ES 750 
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post #13 of 15
I would definitely buy a server OEM. For a business server, the warranty is going to help you beyond belief if something ever goes wrong.

If this was something you were going to use for normal home use, then I would recommend just building a machine to your liking.
post #14 of 15
We have a company of around 300 employees, and 120 computers. Our main ERP system is ran by 3 crazy nice Dell servers. Dual Intel Quad cores, 32 GB of RAM, 600 GB of HDD via RAID 5 with 8x 15k rpm drives, etc etc.

Before that, we had another ERP system, running off of a single custom-built server. It was a dual-processor system with two single-core Opterons. Though it was slower than what we really needed, it still did the job, and we didn't have any problems with that particular server.

We still have a video surveillance server, three file servers, and a mail server, all custom-built tower machines. It almost makes it easier that they are custom built - if a hard drive dies, we can simply swap another one in and away we go. If it was one of the Dells, we'd have to wait for a tech to come out, hoping he had a spare hard drive to swap in. If not, we'd have to wait for an overnight, and hope and pray that another drive wouldn't die in the meantime, taking down the whole array.

IMO, building a server yourself is very cost-effective, and the way to go for small businesses if the builder will be on-hand to support it. Especially for things as simple as sharing a QB company file, and sharing files. I wouldn't even worry about things like ECC memory or server-class processors. Where you do want to put your money is in hard drives - you will likely go through several of them over the course of a few years. I'd recommend going for WD RE2 drives - that is their server class drives, because they have a longer warranty and generally last longer. Also, get a good quality RAID card with it's own audible alarm, so that a dead drive doesn't get missed. Finally, a good quality NIC would be nice, but not required. I know that a standard home-class PCI NIC doesn't cut it with a hundred users connecting to the same machine, but you're probably going to be fine with just a handful of users on the server.
post #15 of 15
Yeah, these days, I configure our Dell servers at work with one drive as a hot-spare on top of whatever RAID configuration we already have. That way if one drive dies, we're still okay, and it takes a second drive to go into degraded mode.

I agree with using Caviar RE drives --they're far more vibration-tolerant, in addition to the good warranties. As for DIY-servers, that's why I like the Intel mATX boards --you'll usually get a good Intel gig NIC that supports TCP offloading, which should be good enough for any small setup.
LEVIATHAN
(21 items)
 
 
BORGCUBE (Server)
(17 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Xeon E3-1265L v2 HP Matrox G200eh (linked to iLO4) 16GB (2 x 8) Kingston DDR3 ECC unbuffered 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveOS
2x Crucial M500 240GB SSD in RAID-0 4x Western Digital Red 2TB in RAID-5 Matsushita UJ-862 DVDR@ Windows Server 2012R2 Standard 
CaseOtherOtherOther
HP Microserver Gen8 HP SmartArray P222 RAID controller with 512MB c... MacAlly USB3 enclosure with WD Red 4TB (backup) APC BackUPS ES 750 
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Reply
LEVIATHAN
(21 items)
 
 
BORGCUBE (Server)
(17 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Xeon E3-1265L v2 HP Matrox G200eh (linked to iLO4) 16GB (2 x 8) Kingston DDR3 ECC unbuffered 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveOS
2x Crucial M500 240GB SSD in RAID-0 4x Western Digital Red 2TB in RAID-5 Matsushita UJ-862 DVDR@ Windows Server 2012R2 Standard 
CaseOtherOtherOther
HP Microserver Gen8 HP SmartArray P222 RAID controller with 512MB c... MacAlly USB3 enclosure with WD Red 4TB (backup) APC BackUPS ES 750 
  hide details  
Reply
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