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Thread: small office server?

  1. #1
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    small office server?

    I work in a small office of 5 people. 4 of which are using desktop pcs with either XP or Vista and the 1 (the boss) is using a laptop.

    All computers connect to our network and to the internet through a switch/router.

    All data however is stored on PC1 which happens to be someones desktop machine. Further more this needs backing up every day (take about an hour) which eats into that persons time.

    I have suggested we keep a headless server (sticking with windows, probably 2k Server) in the corner somewhere and have all the data on that.

    The server would only serve files and need to back them up to a removable device/media each day

    what issues do I need to think about here?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Splash
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    Re: small office server?

    First things to think about in my eyes is support for the server - do you need sameday service in the event of a failure? How much storage do you need? Who will manage this? What is your budget? Do you have a backup device already that could be pressed into use with this server, or should the server come with it's own backup device? What format of backup device will you use? How and where will backups be stored? What kind of DR will you be looking at? Who will manage the server in terms of day to day maintenance?

    It may sound scary put to you like this, but these things really need to be planned out and documented before you take this kind of thing on board, trying to get people to take ownership once it's in place will be a nightmare.

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    Re: small office server?

    At the moment, we use an external hdd which is taken off site daily. Not ideal at all but better than nothing. obviously hdds can fail but so can anything else.

    We only need to back up about 3gb. The main issue is just to get the files off my collegues desktop and onto a seperate computer.

    The budget is absolutly minimal, its about the cost of base unit and some software.

    The file server will not need to be anything flash at all, a low spec machine would easily cope. We just want everyone to be able to access it (thats no problem) and to be able to have it back-up the data on it towards the end of each day.

    We are a very small company, and the data isn't life threatening, so we don't need anything complicated.

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    Re: small office server?

    If you have a low ammount of file to backup , Then why not look at one of the online backup offerings - for $50 a year , carbonite is pretty good (http://www.carbonite.com/) It integrates nicely with explorer and will have no problems backing your data up. It also means you dont have to worry about taking data offsite yourself.

    You could possibly look at a small linux box running one of the more dedicated SOHO/NAS distros ( something like clarkconnect might be good ) getting one to work with an online backup service might be harder.
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  5. #5
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    Re: small office server?

    Given the amount of data what Moby is suggesting would probably nail it. Do you even need a Windows Server OS, or will a Linux box setup for SAMBA do the job for you?

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    Re: small office server?

    Moby Dick's solution is a good one, but the company he quotes is USA based (which may or may not be an issue for you) A Google search on "online backup" gave several UK based, including this one

    http://www.perfectbackup.co.uk/

    If you are still thinking about the office server solution, Splash has covered most of the details (much of which are management issues - which are important). On a technical side, you might want to consider raid (raid one would be entirely adequate for this) and with that amount of data, a DAT tape drive would be another relatively low cost option. You could set up Windows task scheduler to do the backup automatically.

    having a server does offer other benefits such as printer sharing etc, which may be useful in your situation.
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    Re: small office server?

    What about the NSLU2 and a few EHDD?

    Edit to add link - http://www.linksys.co.uk/acatalog/NSLU2.html
    Last edited by mycarsavw; 09-10-2007 at 01:30 PM.
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    Re: small office server?

    I will look into the online solution, but we'd still need a headless box, so store out data on anyway. I guess it wouldn't matter what operating system is was running, so long as the other 5 pcs could link to it, so save/edit files and we could schedule a backup.

    The main thing is just getting the data of a desktop pc and onto a dedicated box/NAS drive.

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    Re: small office server?

    simple solution would be a NAS box with a few relevant shares, then simply map the shared drives on the users PCs and make sure they work live from that data

  10. #10
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    Re: small office server?

    Quote Originally Posted by d3fiant View Post
    simple solution would be a NAS box with a few relevant shares, then simply map the shared drives on the users PCs and make sure they work live from that data
    Sadly this still leaves offsite backups lacking, unless said NAS box has an ability to back itself up elsewhere?

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    Re: small office server?

    Quote Originally Posted by englishpremier View Post
    I will look into the online solution, but we'd still need a headless box, so store out data on anyway. I guess it wouldn't matter what operating system is was running, so long as the other 5 pcs could link to it, so save/edit files and we could schedule a backup.

    The main thing is just getting the data of a desktop pc and onto a dedicated box/NAS drive.
    OpenSUSE has a pretty easy to use interface for installation and post-install configuration. That, plus some old hardware and a few new disks would do the job fine for buttons.
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    Re: small office server?

    Quote Originally Posted by aidanjt View Post
    OpenSUSE has a pretty easy to use interface for installation and post-install configuration. That, plus some old hardware and a few new disks would do the job fine for buttons.
    True, and would give scope for lots of extra functionality later, but it depends who is going to manage it, andf if they have any *nix eperience (reading between the lines of the OP's comments, I suspect not) so an old Win2K box (as he suggested) would cut the mustard for basic shared file store with back up facilities.
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    Re: small office server?

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    True, and would give scope for lots of extra functionality later, but it depends who is going to manage it, andf if they have any *nix eperience (reading between the lines of the OP's comments, I suspect not) so an old Win2K box (as he suggested) would cut the mustard for basic shared file store with back up facilities.
    TBH, if you can't administrate a SUSE box you don't have much more hope of administrating a Win2k box. It's rediculously simple.
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    Re: small office server?

    Quote Originally Posted by aidanjt View Post
    TBH, if you can't administrate a SUSE box you don't have much more hope of administrating a Win2k box. It's rediculously simple.
    Question of experience I suppose, if he is familiar with windows, but no Linux experience, it might seem a bit daunting, particularly when you start configuring Samba share, CUPS (if ypu want networked printers) cron jobs for backups, and I guess administering this is a peripheral task, not a full time one.

    But I agree with you - if I was doing this, I would go Linux, but I can see why he might prefer Win2K.
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    Re: small office server?

    I'd say something like Clarkconnect is easier than Windows to admin , on the surface of things
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  17. #16
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    Re: small office server?

    Quote Originally Posted by aidanjt View Post
    TBH, if you can't administrate a SUSE box you don't have much more hope of administrating a Win2k box. It's rediculously simple.
    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.

    I think the same applies to Clarkconnect - I personally think it might well be a good fit for this purpose, but again if the OP is more comfortable with Windows I'd stay stick with it for work purposes.

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