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Small Office File/FTP/Email Server First build

Last response: in Business Computing
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February 16, 2013 2:20:47 PM

Dear All,

I am a newbie, hope you guys can give me an opinions and advice. I am a founder of a small design house. There have 5 people working in the office (include me). My office have 3 PC, 3 Mac and 1 printer.

One of my old PC, and the hardware config in below list:

CPU : Intel Core 2 Duo E8200 2.6Ghz
Motherboard : Intel DP35DP
RAM : 4GB
Harddisk : Segate ST3250310AS 250G x 2

I don't need this PC anymore, so I decide to re-use them to rebuild a file/ftp/email server for my small office.

The purpose of the server

1. Storage - store all daily working data files. The major working files have psd, eps, tif, Indesign, Ai, and some minor files are doc,pdf.

2. FTP server - for my client to upload and download the files such as zip files. Sometimes zip files will bigger than 1G.

3. email server - since we are use gmail for company email. And gmail file size have limitation. So I want to make a mail server to make the limitation bigger.

I will use Ubuntu for os. And want to run RAID 10. I understand the minimal hd for RAID10 is 4. And it is difficult to find 2 more ST3250310AS hd. So I decide to buy Western Digital WD3202ABYS x 4.

Well, I want to know according to my old PC hardware config is it enough for my server setup ? I want the server is stable and fast for transfer data.

And I also want to setup a backup system for the server. So the 2 old segate hd can use for backup ?

Please give me any advice , thanks a lot.

February 16, 2013 4:06:20 PM

Maybe you get the WD drives very cheap. Otherwise i would recommend to use only two 1TB drives in raid1. 1TB drives are faster then the old 320Gb drives and don't need raid0.
February 16, 2013 7:16:37 PM

I agree with noidea. My dad owns a small sign business, we have two office each with three designers. Even then, we add about 350 GB a year PER OFFICE in art files and customer documents to our data storage. It goes by much faster than you might think, and while it might not grow exponentially, it definitely grows more every year non-linearly. Even if the 320 GB hard drives are an upgrade from what you have, and with a RAID 10 you get a total of about 550 GB (decreased size due to hard drive capacity difference in the OS) you're going to outgrow it in a matter of a couple years I would bet. Art files can take up a lot of room, especially if you're keeping hold of all your old customer data for archiving as you should be.

Go with two high capacity (1 TB or 2 TB) hard drives in RAID 1 instead. First, since you are only using two hard drives instead of four, you technically have reduced your chances of experiencing a hard drive failure by more than half (studies show that each time you double the amount of hard drives in your server, over time your chances of a failure increase much more than double, it is non-linear.) Second, data recovery, in the unfortunate event that your server or RAID fails, is MUCH easier to do from a RAID 1 array where ALL of your data is on each hard drive, compared to a RAID 10 that requires that specific RAID controller to rebuild your data before you have access to it again because of the striping.

To get you started with a file server, I'd say that the computer you listed is going to be capable of what you're intending. However, I'd be leery about rolling out a business critical system like a new server on old hardware. If it's already had a few years of life in use, that means its already had several years of wear and closer to it's chances for failure. ALWAYS keep a separate backup of everything that it completely separate from your RAID array. RAID is not a backup. Plan your budget to get a new server as soon as possible. In fact, honestly, I'd recommend you purchasing a new server, with more room for upgrades and performance, before you include the FTP and email server roles. Continual access with all of those large data files on already aging equipment is kind of inviting trouble.
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February 20, 2013 2:40:22 AM

Dear Choucove,

Thx for your advice. I have read many articles in this few days. I found that some people said it is good enough to use low-rpm 'green' drives for RAID. But some ppl said we should use “server grade” drives for RAID.

Actually, I have a bit confuse.

I have looking for the following hd, pls give me an advice.

if
RAID10
Western Digital WD10EADS
BARRACUDA LP ST31000520AS

Pro
save power consumption & the cost is affordable. (And I prefer to run RAID10) also have 2TB to use
Con
unknown, (consumer grade hd)?

if
RAID1
Western Digital 1TB WD1003FBYX

Pro
unknown, (server grade hd)?

Con
Only have 1T


And I decide to keep my old CPU and motherboard.

WIll upgrade to 8G Ram and change the PSU.

And new hd.

Please give me any advice especially about hdd issue.

Best Regards,


February 21, 2013 8:06:25 PM

I really would never recommend using the low power hard drives, especially for a server environment. Yes, for a couple people storing some music and document files at home, they can be great, but where you have a business environment pulling large files, I'd recommend at least the Western Digital Black series or the Western Digital RE4 series for their reliability and performance.

The difference in warranty coverage should show you the difference in quality as well.
February 22, 2013 8:37:23 AM

Dear choucove,

Thx for your replied. I have decide to buy
1. Segate st1000nm0011 or

2. Wd1003fbyx

For my raid 10.

Best regards
February 22, 2013 1:12:02 PM

Now on the RAID, the hard drives need to all be identical, so you would need to pick one of the above, and get all of the drives that model, not mix and match. Just wanted to point this out if you were unaware.
February 22, 2013 1:27:54 PM

i would go WD drives... and I agree that the computer hardware should be robust and not an old desktop - and should have a miniumum power supply redundancy...

you're talking about time=money / deadlines met=happy client
not - fun doing home videos...

my $0.02
February 22, 2013 8:43:50 PM

Go with SmartFile for your FTP server, it will save you tons on the cost and maintenance. www.smartfile.com
April 3, 2013 10:43:49 AM

Kokeefe said:
Go with SmartFile for your FTP server, it will save you tons on the cost and maintenance. www.smartfile.com


Agreed! I like that you can do the 14 day trial without entering credit card or commitment. Here's the trial link: www.smartfile.com/trial/
!