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Server & Backup Options

Last response: in Business Computing
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July 15, 2011 1:41:55 AM

I am trying to decide the best route for my company. Unfortunately we do not have an IT department, so I would greatly appreciate any input you can offer! We're a small engineering firm (4 employees total). Right now our computers are simply networked together, but we're considering a server. Our main concerns are remote access to files, efficiency, speed, and backup. Would you recommend a server and/or something like Carbonite? Our files tend to be large (since we use AutoCAD, Photoshop, etc.). Right now we have 200-300GB of data and growing. We're also looking for a way to backup e-mail. Should we bring this in house? We use Outlook, but it's hosted by GoDaddy. Again, I really appreciate any and all help!

More about : server backup options

July 15, 2011 9:32:50 PM

So the big question is cost. What is your budget? Factor in time as well. How much is your time worth? If you spend 10 hours into this project, would it be cost effective? Lets say 10 hours of work brings in 2000 to the company, then you should factor that cost into the overall budget.

also, how valuable is your information and how proprietary and secret?

Carbinte can handle your data but you essentially give it to them, regardless if they say its encrypted or not. They can still access it.

In house options:
NAS: A very easy setup with multiple drives, networkable, and with internal raid, provides some level of redundancy and performance.
http://www.newegg.com/store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategor...

The more expensive, the more storage options and the faster the box.
Buffalo makes decent stuff. Here is one that can support 6TB in RAID 10.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

However, one very important thing: BACKING UP.

Carbonite, NAS, server... none of these are a backup tool by themselves. Your data requirements are low. Every week, or in intervals you see fit, make sure you are making an offsite backup to an external hard drive. If your building burns down, you don't want to be stuck with nothing.


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Email:
Same question, how much is your time worth? An inhouse email system will cost you TIME as well as MONEY. Some small business use GMAIL which is free and fine if you send nothing of strict value over email. Gmail can manage your own personal email address such as me@mydomain.com. Otherwise, you are looking to host your email somewhere else.
July 16, 2011 2:51:05 AM

LSmith22 said:
I am trying to decide the best route for my company. Unfortunately we do not have an IT department, so I would greatly appreciate any input you can offer! We're a small engineering firm (4 employees total). Right now our computers are simply networked together, but we're considering a server. Our main concerns are remote access to files, efficiency, speed, and backup. Would you recommend a server and/or something like Carbonite? Our files tend to be large (since we use AutoCAD, Photoshop, etc.). Right now we have 200-300GB of data and growing. We're also looking for a way to backup e-mail. Should we bring this in house? We use Outlook, but it's hosted by GoDaddy. Again, I really appreciate any and all help!



I am a SMB (Small Business) specialist. I have worked for 15 years in SMB and large enterprise environments. I like to do things economically and KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). What I have done in the past when upgrading a SMB customers server. Is to take their old server, install Linux. RSYNC their data from the new server to the old one. While server is on-site, this is the initial sync. Then have the customer take the server home and stuff it somewhere out-of-site while connected to the Internet. Then the data can be sync'd as often as liked and multiple file versions can be retained as well. RSYNC only transfers the delta of the file over an encrypted connection.

This allows you to have complete control over your data. In the event of a disaster, you are not depending upon a company to provide your data. Should you desire to work remotely and have a central file server. You can use Novell Open Enterprise Server and iFolder. Each workstation would have iFolder installed and it would transfer the delta file changes to your centralized (cloud based) server.

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August 29, 2011 12:46:25 AM

Yea CompTIA_rep is spot on, I have serviced a few small servers over the years, and Buffalo seems like the way to go, even for a small company, just means you will have more room to grow, and using software like Autocad, Pro desktop, and Revit, you will find that your data will wash away faster than expected.
September 13, 2011 1:30:11 AM

Check out out a backup service likeDynamic Vault, www.dynamicvault.com They offer onsite and off-site encrypted backups with multiple keys and turn-key DR services.
September 24, 2011 2:49:43 AM

For a small office I suggest avoiding the complexity of a server. Yes, you can look at something like ClearOS or ever Microsoft Small Business Server (ClearOS is the winner in my book) but why bother?

Go to the cloud.

Do your e-mail online via something like gmail.

Do your backups online via something like carbonite.

It is *way* easier than maintaining your own systems, deailing with the constant updates, and coordinating backups. Gives you time to focus on engineering, rather than acting as your own IT department.

You may want to review the stuff at www.easy-home-networking-guide.com/Cloud-Computing.html
!