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Upgrading our small office file server


hoorah
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I made a different post here about the software for our next small office file server

 

http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/9247-not-sure-if-we-should-make-the-jump-from-2011-to-2012-r2-at-400-for-a-small-business/

 

For this topic, I wanted to talk hardware.

 

Currently we're running an AM2 quad core 9550 / 4GB ram / WHS2011 / 2x1tB+ 2x2tB drives with around 1.5TB of unique data (and growing). Drives are individual, with backups happening locally (using file copy, as WHS backups keep failing) and offsite using bittorrent sync.

 

We're moving the office, and what used to be 30 mins away is now going to be 2 hours away (I don't work onsite). So, since I'm taking the time to set everything up in the new office, and I won't be around as much to maintain, I want to take the opportunity to upgrade and make things much reliable/robust/redundant.

 

I'm not married to AMD nor to the WD red drives, nor to that particular SSD. What I want is -

 

 

O/S (WS2012R2 essentials) on RAID1 SSD. I'm salvaging one of the 1TB drives from the old server to be a mirror of the OS drive, such that if something happens to the SSDs or the RAID (or the OS is hosed) we can swap in the backup drive and be up and running. The rest of the current drives are going to be salvaged for other purposes.

 

DATA - 2x4TB in RAID 1, but could do 3TB in RAID 1 if 4TB drives are still in infancy.

Additional 4TB as local backup, more flexible with this as either 2x2TB, 2x3TB, or 1x4TB

Ideally a quad core, as I plan on running 1 VM to start and possibly more in the future as they grow, but nothing taxing. Currently running 1VM with the setup now and it works fine.

 

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2w9XGX PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

 

Type Item Price CPU AMD Athlon X4 860K 3.7GHz Quad-Core Processor $72.89 @ OutletPC Motherboard Gigabyte GA-F2A88XM-D3H Micro ATX FM2+ Motherboard $50.99 @ SuperBiiz Memory Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $58.94 @ Adorama Storage Samsung 850 EVO-Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $67.99 @ Amazon Storage Samsung 850 EVO-Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $67.99 @ Amazon Storage Western Digital Red 4TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive $160.49 @ Amazon Storage Western Digital Red 4TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive $160.49 @ Amazon Storage Western Digital Red 4TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive $160.49 @ Amazon Storage Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive Purchased For $0.00 Case Fractal Design Define R4 w/Window (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case $89.99 @ Newegg Power Supply Corsair CX 600W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply $43.00 @ Newegg   Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts     Total (before mail-in rebates) $968.26   Mail-in rebates -$35.00   Total $933.26   Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-04-20 12:38 EDT-0400  

 

Not particularly part of the build, but part of this upgrade is to build a couple of super cheap "nas" boxes out of older routers with USB ports and USB hard drives. These will be switched off the majority of the time and turned on once every 6 months or so to do some 'cold' backups in case of a cryptolocker infection that manages to hit some or all of the backups.

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I would go with Intel.

 

How are you planning to mirror the SSDs to an HDD? If the SSDs are already in a mirror, how can the HDD be a mirror?

 

4TB drives are not in their infancy. In fact, there is some evidence that they are more reliable than their 3TB brothers.

 

Just wondering what your plans are for off site backup?

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I would go with Intel.

 

How are you planning to mirror the SSDs to an HDD? If the SSDs are already in a mirror, how can the HDD be a mirror?

 

4TB drives are not in their infancy. In fact, there is some evidence that they are more reliable than their 3TB brothers.

 

Just wondering what your plans are for off site backup?

 

For the mirroring of drives, I haven't 100% decided on anything yet, but basically just some kind of drive imaging software done periodically, like acronis or macrium.  Not necessarily a RAID mirror.

 

I was thinking of taking a 1TB, partitioning it into the size of the SSD array (120 or 240), imaging the SSD array onto the first partition periodically, and using the rest of the drive to store various images of the server through the setup process (bare install + updates, bare install + updates + all users, etc).

 

For offsite backup, their server backs up to a drive in mine.  Right now we're using Bittorrent Sync, which seems to be working pretty well.

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Ah, so clones of the OS drive. I did that with my WHSv1 (since it didn't have any way to back up the OS drive). Not the most elegant of solutions, but it works, and that's the main thing.

 

Your off site solution sounds pretty good. As long as there either a) isn't all that much data to back up or B) you don't have to worry about data caps, it should work fine. With BitTorrent Sync, are there any security concerns (e.g. unencrypted data on the Internet)?

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You can backup the OS drive in WS2012, which can be restored, but much of this stuff if something were to happen would have to be done over the phone by me walking people through prompts they are unfamiliar with.  I thought it would be a better solution to say "unplug the SSDs, tell BIOS to boot DRIVE A" and then get the system up. 

 

There is actually a ton of data to backup, which in itself is another problem as I haven't found an elegant solution for when a user renames a folder (and a TON of stuff gets 'deleted' and recopied).  Discussion for another time.  For now, we have good internet and Comcast is not enforcing data caps so its a back burner priority.  As for BTsync, I thought the transfer was encrypted.  If not, then we're going to have to change that setup.  The BTsync was actually supposed to be temporary, as my original setup was a VPN connection to my server which then used Syncback Pro to copy files, but a new comcast modem/router at the office broke that functionality.  I haven't bothered to troubleshoot it because I plan on implementing a good router when we move the office.

 

As for going intel instead of AMD, what kind of setup would you recommend around the same price point?  I'd like to hit a low end quad core to start out, with the option to drop a high end xeon chip in down the road (around 3 years) and extend the life of the system. 

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I think others in the forums are much more up to date on CPU upgrading & compatibility. I'm saying Intel because I've found them to be more efficient and cooler running over the past few years.

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The motherboard is a gigabyte AM2 (or AM2+, cant remember) board running 4GB of DDR2 on what is, I believe, the AMD785G chipset.  It had a sempron 140 CPU when I originally built it, but now it has an AMD quad core 9550.

 

The case, again, trying to remember off the top of my head, is an Antec 300?  In any event, I don't plan on reusing the board or case as that would mean I would have to take the system down, build the new system, test, and then reimplement.  I don't want them to be down for that long, so I will likely build the new system, test, then deliver it and start getting client PCs connected.  Once all the client PCs are off of the WHS2011 and onto the new one, I will decommission the old one and probably turn it into a workstation.

 

Yes, I'd ideally like to do BMR backups of the workstations.

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Just throwing some thoughts out;

16GB of memory for your existing board $50

LSI RAID card $100 RAID10 for data drives and RAID1 for OS

Veeam or Paragon for backup and BMR not dependent on Windows Server for backup

Stay on WHS2011 or move to FreeNAS

Get the OneDrive issue fixed for second back up and remote access to files.

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4TB drives are not in their infancy. In fact, there is some evidence that they are more reliable than their 3TB brothers.

 

 

Sorry, I cant resist, prove it. Show me the evidence.

A Google search of 'are 4TB drives more reliable than 3TB' yields a page of BB regurgitation links:

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=are+4tb+drives+more+reliable+than+3TB

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