New Server build suggestions

Hey gang,

Building a new server for work.

1. 40 employees
2. ~800MB database, slowly growing.
3. hosts shared CAD files and other various files.
4. hosts an in house data program that uses the 800MB database which is accessed by all users. (40)
5. I will be running a RAID 5 setup

Any suggestions on hardware would be welcome.
I don't want to buy your standard blade server, I was more wanting to build server from ground up.
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  1. Should be about a bijillion responses for this, but I figure you've got 2 basic choices.

    1. White box server with multi-core processers and decent raid drives. Your basic game PC where the $$ for gaming video gets shoved into ram/raid instead. See following posts for hundreds of parts recommendations - I just don't have the time to post links for that kind of stuff anymore. Looking at your sig, just build another one of those (sans video and lcd) with a dedicated raid card and 5 500gb sata drives for raid and it should be good for a few years, dontcha think?

    2. (try also)

    If you build it, YOUR the 24/7/365 tech support and warranty on the system. I hope for your sake you can do a bare metal restore on replacement hardware within 4 hours of a system failure. A lot of SMB's cant survive system loss of much longer than that once you factor in productivity loss and recovery costs.

    Good luck.

    Ok everyone - post your hundreds of hardware recommendations with link here.
  2. supermicro superserver, whatever fits your budget, but i'd do raid 10 and make sure it's got a gig pipe to the network, or two. also have a raid 1 for the db files. I wouldn't recommend raid 5 for this application, too much write potential.
  3. 2 twin pcs, one mirroring the other is the ideal solution

    raid 15
  4. Already have one older Server, need this new one as a complete back of of the first if it fails or catches fire etc...
  5. I would suggest before looking at the performance aspects, look into the value of the data, and the value of uptime (including disaster recovery). If you are the only one administrating it, you will need to evaluate the uptime outside of your work schedule as well.

    Personally, I would start with looking at backup solutions then work from there. Chances are the inhouse database would be difficult to recover in a hardware failure. If you require offsite backups for means of fire/quake/theft protection that alone can add significantly to the bill. I know of a few small businesses that have moved to using USB harddrives for backups, the downside is that unlike tapes, they are much more easily accesible/corruptable by malicious software and are more susceptible to damage from power cycling/being dropped. They are also slightly more difficult to pack into safes especially if you have a similar system a my old work. It totalled:
    2 weeks M-F
    (25 sets of tapes in the safe)
    1/week sent to another office
    1/year stored in safety deposit in bank

    If you're doing multiple backups per media, or using incremental/differentials, its a different story. The way that place was setup is so that any tape could be destroyed and recovery would be unaffected unless it were from that day. Anyways, for that place, I liked tapes. Where I work now, its all backup servers on raid 5 arrays. When it comes to putting my job on the line, I prefer tapes, when it comes to convenience and speed, definetly harddrives.
  6. I already run a full backup every night.
    I swap external USB drives daily and take them offsite once a week then exchange the drive with another external USB.
    So if worst came to worst I would have at least all the work saved from one week ago. If it wasnt the worst case I would have the previous day from the drives on site. I have 3 Externals that I swap between. 2 staying on site. One comes home.

    We have 2 buildings side by side. I want to put the new server in the 2nd building in case of a fire so that I can just change my Router tables and point everything to the new server, or even the fact if I need to do maintenance on the old server I can swap over to the new server temporarily.

    PS I have the main idea of what I want to do and how to do it. I just wanted some viewpoints and hardware ideas from the community. You guys have a lot of combined knowledge out there. Its great to take into consideration before I build.

    Thanks in advance.
  7. for externals FIREWIRE / e-sata disks are better and work better then low end usb cases.

    also you can get a amd x2 cpu with a nforce board that had dual gig-e nics with teaming and tpc/ip off load.
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