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Thread: small office server?

  1. #17
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    Re: small office server?

    I think windows is probably safest. At least there is a lot of commercial experience out there if they run into difficulties. But probably the most expensive as a decent-ish box with a copy of SBS 2003 is going to hit the region of £1000, with a small UPS, disk mirroring etc.

    As suggested, a cheap NAS is a good solution, and some do have functionality to backup to an external HDD (such as the buffalo terastation).

    Another option is the Lacie nas which is Windows XP based and dead cheap. Doesn't offer printer sharing, but is so simple to administer and configure.

    Finally, use one of the PCs to run a scheduled backup to an external HDD.

    Simple and dead cheap.

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    Re: small office server?

    Quote Originally Posted by Splash View Post
    Were he setting up a box for home use I'd probably poke him in this direction but as it's for work I'd say stick with what you know. The joy of IT is that nobody wants to know you unless something has gone wrong.
    Is that suppose to be a case for using Windows in the workplace?.. so it can flake out, nuke data, get riddled with viruses etc.. so you can get noticed and have a stack of promotions and such?

    Personally I'd rather a network I'm running to be in better shape when I leave than when I came into it. But I guess that's just me.
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    Re: small office server?

    @aidanjt. No disrespect. but I can't do Linux or Unix. Doesn't scare me, I just don't get it. I find Windows so much easier to use, especially when it comes to problem solving/fault finding.

    But each to their own.

    And a good Windows implementation won't give you trouble if you maintain it properly.

  4. #20
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    Re: small office server?

    Quote Originally Posted by aidanjt View Post
    Is that suppose to be a case for using Windows in the workplace?.. so it can flake out, nuke data, get riddled with viruses etc.. so you can get noticed and have a stack of promotions and such?

    Personally I'd rather a network I'm running to be in better shape when I leave than when I came into it. But I guess that's just me.
    You misunderstand me. My point was that the OP has stated he would prefer a Windows solution, I'm running with it. Reading between the lines I'm guessing there is no real IT support and that he at least feels capable of a little bit of maintenance if required on a Windows box. A production environment is not the place to be learning a new OS, especially if the IT support is something tacked onto your day-job simply because you know a bit about computers (apologies if I have the wrong end of the stick englishpremier, but that's the impression I get).

    If you read back through the thread you'll see that I did actually suggest that a SAMBA box might be an idea way back in post number 5, but it seems to not meet the OPs requirement. Now stop being so confrontational, there's no need for it - a badly setup *nix environment can be every bit as dangerous as a badly setup Windows environment.

    EDIT - just as an aside: I use linux. I know how good it can be. It's not always the best solution though, and if there's one single thing about it that really grinds my gears it's zealots. Let the OS make the wins on it's benefits.
    Last edited by Splash; 09-10-2007 at 06:11 PM.

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    Re: small office server?

    Quote Originally Posted by kungpo View Post
    @aidanjt. No disrespect. but I can't do Linux or Unix. Doesn't scare me, I just don't get it. I find Windows so much easier to use, especially when it comes to problem solving/fault finding.
    No offence taken. But there's nothing really 'to get' when it comes to *NIX, especially SUSE, where practically all the services you're likely to use has a GUI configuration tool called YaST which does all the leg work for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by kungpo View Post
    And a good Windows implementation won't give you trouble if you maintain it properly.
    Well that's kinda the point, it always needs maintainance, it's like a little child that gets itself hurt or killed if you look away for more than 5 minutes. *NIX servers on the other hand require little or no ongoing maintinance, depending on how you have it set up, it shouldn't be any more than spending 5 minutes a day looking at your emailed cronjobs and the odd security patching (which theoretically could be automated as well, but it's best to test them before implimentation).
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    Re: small office server?

    5 mins a day should be enough on any server! Let's be honest, if a Windows server needs more than 5 mins a day it hasn't been installed very well...

    To be fair, I haven't looked at much else since Netware fell out of mainstream, but the marketplace I work in is very much a Windows one. The only exception seems to be with Apple.

  7. #23
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    Re: small office server?

    Quote Originally Posted by kungpo View Post
    I think windows is probably safest. At least there is a lot of commercial experience out there if they run into difficulties. But probably the most expensive as a decent-ish box with a copy of SBS 2003 is going to hit the region of £1000, with a small UPS, disk mirroring etc.
    For what he wants (a simple filestore) server 2003 is way over the top. As he says, a simple win2k box will do that, and allow printer shareing as well - it is a file server he wants, on what sounds like a peer to peer network, not a full scale client server network with a domain controller! So the admin overload will be minimal once it is set up, and for what is required the win2k solution will fit the bill. All I would suggest is possibly a raid one array and maybe a DAT tape drive for backup (as the OP says, it is only about 3GB/day, and I would guess that incremental backups would be less than that. The other advantage of using a win2k machine as a file4server is that it could be used as a workstation if one of the other machines in the office should fail.
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    Re: small office server?

    Firstly I'm going to assume we are talking Windows 2000 server, rather than Windows 2000 Professional, so yes, but Windows 2000 is end-of-life and unsupported, and SBS is cheaper than Windows Server anyway.

    I can't think of a cheaper way of getting an MS server product than SBS2003, which is around £250 for oem and 5 CALs.

    Windows 2000 server can only be legitimately installed now if you have a Windows 2003 server volume license. Which is expensive.

    Unless you can get an unregistered copy of Windows Server 2000 oem somewhere?

    The only other solution I can think of is using an XP machine as a server, but you are limited to 10 connections with Pro.

  9. #25
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    Re: small office server?

    No, I was talking win2K pro - it would do the job he wants, he has a licensed copy of that lying around then use it. (And he implied from the first post that that was the solution he was looking at). There are only 5 users after all - it isn't much more than a home network.

    (Just re-read the OP and it was win2k server that was mentioned, but the fact remains that win2kpro would still do the job - it is effectively what he is doing at the moment - using someone's machine as a filestore - all he wants to do is add a dedicated machine just to use as a filestore - nothing more complicated than that!)
    Last edited by peterb; 09-10-2007 at 08:34 PM.
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    Re: small office server?

    Hi all, this has turned into a bit of a debate. Let's just re-iterate.

    The office has 4 workstations and 1 laptop. We are at our capacity with staff so this is not likely to increase anytime soon.

    they all connect to the internet through a router and additional switch.

    Workstation 1 has a shared drive containing all our data. This is backed up onto a usb hdd everyday, which takes time out of that persons working day.

    we need two things:
    1) to be able to store our data on a non-workstation device
    2) the ability to back up data quickly and easily

    Windows 2000 was just a thought as was imagining going with an old PC for a server, someting like an old athlon xp.

    At home I run ubuntu, I have once installed gentoo from stage 1 on old pc and played about with linux in the past. I have however never setup Samba or cups.

    Once the new system (whatever that me be) is setup and backups scheduled etc.. I don't want to have to touch it, unless there is a problem. Administering this is just a peripheral task.

  11. #27
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    Re: small office server?

    essentially you are running a peer to peer workgroup with one machine (also a user machine) acting as a filestore and backup machine. Essentially you want to add one more machine to the peer to peer to take care of the filestore and backups.

    You could use a NAS device, but backups might be a little harder and require more manual intervention.

    Quick and dirty is to add an old PC with Win2kpro as the filestore. You could add RAID 1 to give a bit of fault tolerance, and a DAT drive to do backups, scheduled to run overnight. PC wqould run 24x7 (doesn'r have to though - backups could run anytime during office hours) all you need to do is change the tapes. You could also use the machine as a printerserver.

    You could do the same thing with a linux distro, setting up SAMBA and CUPS. Very reliable, once up and running, just change tapes. Probably a bit harder for you to configure initially.

    You could move up a notch and configure a domain controller (Linux or Windows, Linux cheaper but a bit more effort) and have a true client server network, with al users storing there data by default on the server. (By the way, a UPS would be strongly recommended on the filestore machine)

    I guess option 1 would be the one that appeals as it is quick to set up and not that much different from what you have now. The others offer more felixibilty which you may want to exploit later.
    Last edited by peterb; 10-10-2007 at 09:45 AM.
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