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  1. #1
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    Building 1st server, need advice

    I need help building a server, and need a reason to get back to the pond on a regular basis...... so this thread serves two purposes! I could post this thread in other places, but I know we have some server buffs who frequent this forum..... so there you go!

    I have been asked to possible build a server for a small business, who currently has 4 computers. They mainly are looking for "storage", "reliability" and "automatic backups". This will be my "first" server build..... so I want to play it safe as possible.

    here is what I found in a hurry...... just as a baseline......

    ASUS P5M2/2GBL LGA 775 Intel 3000 ATX Server Motherboard - Retail $260
    Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 Conroe 3.0GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail $200
    Qty-2 Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM ECC Unbuffered DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Dual Channel Kit Server Memory - Retail (8gb total) $99/ea x 2= $198 Is 8gb overkill? LOL
    Qty-3 (RAID-5) Seagate ST3640323AS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $85/ea x 3= $255

    This is only a start..... and a baseline, all recommendations welcomed......

    Need advice on software..... saw where this board may not support webserver 2008?

    Also, what is the best way to obtain automatic backups? Is there a good software that will provide this?

    What size power supply, and what Manufacturer?

    Raid 5..... with the drives selected, this would give me 1.28TB storage, correct?

    Need a recommendation on a UPS..... what size/vendor would be good for this setup?

    Throw in your 2 cents.... please!

  2. #2
    Joined
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    Re: Building 1st server, need advice

    I would use this board and a Q6600 quad processor. This combo has all the features needed, more processing power, and lower cost.

  3. #3
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    Re: Building 1st server, need advice

    thanks red.... I'll give it a look see!

  4. #4
    Joined
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    Re: Building 1st server, need advice

    How are the backups to be performed? Offsite? Automatically from the workstations?

  5. #5
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    Re: Building 1st server, need advice

    I used to work for a whitebox PC manufacturer. From experience I can tell you that you don't have to have a server board for a server application. Probably 70% of the servers we sold had desktop boards in them. So I would agree with Big Red's suggestion. Also, since you will be saving money on the board, I would look into an add-in RAID card. Onboard RAID 5 is generally very slow. You can get a decent hardware RAID 5 card for around $300 that will perform much faster. I recommend a HARDWARE RAID card if you go this route. I'd look into something like this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16816131003 But if money is tight, software RAID 5 works, it's just not fast. I would, at the very minimum, recommend a software based RAID card for reliability, performance, and recovery abilities.

    Another reason for a RAID card as opposed to onboard is disaster recovery. Even if you get a software RAID card, it would be better than oboard for disaster recovery. Should your motherboard fail, you will have to find another motherboard with the same southbridge to easily recover the RAID array. With a RAID card, mfg usually use the same chips for longer periods of time, making it easier to recover if your RAID card dies. If your motherboard dies, it doesn't matter because your RAID card probably didn't, making getting back online much quicker because you won't have to rebuild the array or try to make a new southbridge recognize the array and rebuild it. Furthermore, major mfg of motherboards like Asus will discontinue a motherboard sooner than RAID card companies discontinue their card models, making finding an exact replacement that much harder.

    Also, if you do use a desktop board, STAY AWAY from Intel brand boards. Their desktop boards do not like to install Windows Server. It can be done, but it's a pain in the ass.

    Lastly, if they are wanting automatic backups. I would suggest an entry level LTO3/4 drive tape backup. For this you will also need a SCSI interface card to match it. If they don't need off site backups, then you can just backup locally. I don't like this practice as if there's a disaster, everything is lost. Don't forget adding in the backup software cost too.

  6. #6
    Joined
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    Re: Building 1st server, need advice

    ^^^ Vary good points on the RAID cards Barbuda! I was going to suggest the same thing. Either get a real RAID card or run RAID1. For with a motherboard failure you *should* still be able to use another motherboard to extract the data. But on the downside, RAID1 will be a lot slower then RAID5.


    * notice the word should. I expect most RAID1 systems should be able to be read as individual drives when taken to other motherboards. For the few that I've seen, this was possible.
    Last edited by Spankin Partier; 09-15-2008 at 01:35 PM.

  7. #7
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    Re: Building 1st server, need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by thelmores View Post
    What size power supply, and what Manufacturer?
    Unless you stick dozens of disks in the thing, it's unlikely to draw more than 100W at idle and 150-200W peak. A good 300W would probably do the job but something around the 4-500W mark will give you some headroom. Any HIGH QUALITY consumer PSU in that range should do fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by thelmores View Post
    Need a recommendation on a UPS..... what size/vendor would be good for this setup?
    APC all the way. How big depends on how long you want the thing to run without juice. Even a basic UPS should give you 10-15 mins runtime which is ample to do an automated shutdown in the event of a power failure.

  8. #8
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    Re: Building 1st server, need advice

    well, after going round and round, the customer has made the decision not to use a server, cause they fear lightening strikes! LOL

    "If we leave the server running, it could get struck by lightening!"

    Never mind we only have lightening half the year!

    I then recommended just buying a External drive to back things up

    "Well, we would want a copy of the data offsite in case of a fire!"

    At this point I am thinking.... "Damn, and I thought I was paranoid!"

    Well, then I recommended an offsite online backup......

    "Well, that wouldn't work either...... our DSL is too slow!"

    So the last option I offered, was 2 external drives...... take one home, and backup/ switch out weekly!

    Geez, some people are so damned difficult! LOL

    Anybody else have any comments/ suggestions?

    I started to tell them if we get nuked, it "could" render both drives useless! LOL

  9. #9
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    Re: Building 1st server, need advice

    Honestly they would be best off with something automated. I did the tape swap thing at my old job. For the first year or two it was alright, but after that it started to get um, how to I put it...optional.

    So I eventually was able to buy a real server and install Linux on it I was able to build my own backup scripts using [b]rsync[/i] (a common Linux command) to back up the data through an encrypted SSH tunnel to my home computer. The neat thing about rsync was that it would only send altered data to my house hence speeding things up drastically! For if only 1kB of data was altered in my 10MB file, only that 1kb would be sent, not the entire file.

    I even configured the backup script to e-mail me each night when it was done. Thus I knew that it did work.

    It really worked well. In fact I'm still using it every night to back up my new server at my new job. Mind you that server hasn't been put into full use yet, but it is sending it to my puny 1Mb/s download speed and still works well.

    I'm sure there would be similar programs for Windows.

  10. #10
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    Re: Building 1st server, need advice

    But see.... there in lies the problem...... they don't want to leave their computers on after hours..... for fear of lightening or a surge! LOL

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