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Captain Groovy

Which server to use

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Captain Groovy

Hello!

 

I want to try dipping my toes into the MSP service space. I want to start very small. I plan to give a free service to a few small business friends to see how it goes in the real world - in contrast to all the MSP hype the vendors bombard you with.

 

So i need to run a "Probe" on the customer site. I feel it best to run the probe on its own standalone computer for 24/7 local network monitoring and update caching.

 

I need to run a Wi-Fi "Controller". I  will be using Ubquiti Unifi AP's and want to run thier controller software on the same computer the probe is running on.

 

My initial thoughts were that a Gen8 Micro server would be perfect for this - the celeron 4GB model.

 

Then i got to thinking......... backup will come up sooner or later. I would use the StorageCraft Shadow protect software that the MSP software has on its console to make everything simpler to manage (single pane of glass..... if you buy into all the MSP hype)

 

So then i thought would it not be better to go up a notch and look at a Dell T20 or a HP ML 10 V2? This lead into looking at the Lenovo TS 140 and further, the

Fujitsu TX1310.

 

My idea was that by going up to a Xeon class server with more RAM and more HDD capacity i could run the probe, the Wi-Fi controller and use the HDD space as a backup target. I thought about possibly using an RDX internal drive as a way to get a seed copy of data off the server to put on a server back at my NOC (hahaha - a spare room in my house - but hey we all start somewhere - right?)

 

I am not sure if going with RDX is the right way to go or not. Assuming it is viable then i would want to use USB 3.0.

 

I have downloaded the Lenovo TS 140 manual and see it only has a USB 2 connector on the motherboard. This would make things very slow. I cant find any info for the Dell T20 re USB on the motherboard. I have read conflicting reports about the HP ML 10V2 - some say it has no USB on the motherboard, others say it does - there was no mention if it was USB 2 or 3 though, if it is even there.

 

The only server in this class that i have found that has USB 3 on the Motherboard is the Fujitsu TX 1310. I have downloaded the manuals and it confirms that it has USB 3.0 on the motherboard for connecting an RDX drive. So the TX1310 seems to be the one to go for.

 

Any comments on my plan? Can anyone comment on a server in this class that has USB 3.0 on the motherboard.

 

Thanks for any input. I may be getting this all wrong and my plan to use a server with DAS as a Shadow Protect target might be all wrong - i still have lots of research to do, but any thoughts that might direct me int eh righ direction would be greatfully accepted.

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jmwills

Am I reading this correctly, you want to "hack" the vulnerabilities on a customer's network and show them where they are vulnerable?  With or without consent?

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itGeeks

Am I reading this correctly, you want to "hack" the vulnerabilities on a customer's network and show them where they are vulnerable?  With or without consent?

I think I am agreeing with you, I have never in the last 5 years of being a member of this forum ever seen a post like this. if that is the case he has come to the wrong forum for help.

Edited by itGeeks

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LoneWolf

Am I reading this correctly, you want to "hack" the vulnerabilities on a customer's network and show them where they are vulnerable?  With or without consent?

 

Jmwillis, I'm going to play devil's advocate here; I don't think that is what he means.

 

I work for an MSP myself.  Software that we use monitors (maybe the use of the word "probe" was a poor choice) network devices, servers, workstations, and so on.  The monitors report back issues such as predictive failure of hard drives, success or failure of backups, high CPU or memory utilization issues, network issues (such as lost packets), handles antivirus and management of it, and much more.

 

Sometimes, using a box on the client network allows this monitoring as a central hub (perhaps communicating to the WMI service on Windows boxes), although what we do is have a software agent installed on every workstation and server.  Usually a box like the poster stated, when we have one, is a NAS for collecting onsite backups (we use Storagecraft as well to great effect).  All of this goes on with the informed consent of the client.

 

I think you're thinking the poster wants to do a penetration test.  If so, this should be done with informed consent too, but that wasn't what I gathered from the questions here.  If I'm wrong Captain, please tell us; as an MSP, you should generally schedule penetration testing every so often rather than doing it constantly, and make sure your client understands exactly what is going on and (in a non-IT manner) what your tools do.

 

An RDX drive is probalby an expensive option for seed backups for your client offsites; I'd just recommend a few external USB hard drives.  Cheaper, less complicated.  Also, if you want to have storage for offsites, IMO you're much better off with a multibay rackmount (or 8-drive tabletop) NAS from Synology or QNAP; it's a ton simpler.  Keep your server for server tasks.

Edited by LoneWolf

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Captain Groovy

I think I am agreeing with you, I have never in the last 5 years of being a member of this forum ever seen a post like this. if that is the case he has come to the wrong forum for help.

 

Am I reading this correctly, you want to "hack" the vulnerabilities on a customer's network and show them where they are vulnerable?  With or without consent?

 

 

HUH ?? I have no idea what you are on about !

 

Let me try again. I am looking for infor/user reviews/opions/advice on what server to use for several purposes as listed above.

 

I want to look at MSP work. I have not done this type of work before and am keen to test the waters before diving in too far. I am prepared to invest some money into a few test setups to see how it all goes. Hence wanting to purchase some servers to place at a few small businesses of some friends - to see how the real world RMM works and behaves.

 

When i said i want to put a "probe" on  the users LAN, what i mean is the RMM software has what they call a PROBE that sits on the network and gathers data from the rest of the PC's on the network. This so called "PROBE" is a PC with a desktop OS on it. All PC's and devices on the local LAN get an "Agent" on them. This agent talks to the probe. The probe talks back to the head server in the cloud. The probe also caches updates and then the local PC's pull updates from the cache on the probe. The probe pulls data from the local PC's like CPU usage, Memory usage, HDD space, installed programs, keys, AV status, Patch status etc. It has ZERO to do with any "Penetration testing"

 

All this can be seen at Solarwinds Nable website.

 

Hope that alays your fears. WOW, i joined this forum with a BANG :)

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Captain Groovy

@Lonewolf,

 

Having never used RMM software i am not sure of how to do anything just yet, hence asking questions. Doing backups was not my primary goal but upon reflection it seems this could easily be the biggest part of MSP work ...or rather, the most requested feature a customer might want. So i am thinking how one might go about it.

 

I read this..... https://www.storagecraft.com/blog/the-jurassic-park-effect-part-1/and this https://www.storagecraft.com/blog/the-jurassic-park-effect-part-2/

 

It does make some sense and it comes from a trusted source who have no axe to grind - they dont care what you back up too and happily work with just about anything you choose to use.

 

Again, does it make sense to use a server ( low cost T20, ML10 V2 etc) to run the RMM PROBE software (hope i've explained it well enough this time), the wireless controller and use the DAS as a backup target (iSCSI?) to store backups of PC's on the local LAN so there is a local copy of the backup as well as a copy we would replicate to an off site location (my NOC)

 

One would think that (but correct me if i am assuming wrong here) being a server, even a low end server, that the machine will do a high duty cycle ie, 24/7 usage. It will have a server grade motherboard and parts on it - right? Only 4 HDD's is not huge but i think its ample for the task at hand here. 4 x 6TB = a lot of storage.

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jmwills

I am very familiar with Solarwinds.  If that tidbit had been mentioned in the beginning I would have known what you were trying to do.  For what the Celeron version would cost, I go ahead and get the Xeon model(s).

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Captain Groovy

Do you think the Micro server is enough? Of do you think the T20 or ML 10V2 is the way to go ?

 

In that link to the blog entry i posted above, there is also an article about how an MSP uses a WD Sentinal with an Atom D525 as the backup target. A celeron will run rings around that little ATOM all day long. If the ATOM can do the job it seems like an real CPU will do the job. Thoughts?

Edited by Captain Groovy

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