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Advice for small business server

Last response: in Storage
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November 17, 2012 12:44:00 AM

I currently support the computers, printers and servers at my Family's business on the side. Recently the Raid array has been getting issues where one of the drives is constantly degraded, typically on port 0 on the controller card. I'm at my end with the server cause because I have another job that I work and I can't just go over there when there is a problem, everything has to be done after hours. It is a small business server and it only has 2 functions. 1 is to share the hard drive where the legacy MS-DOS program resides and is accessed by 3 other computers. The other function is sharing a Laserjet m525 and 4350N printer. The server just has Windows XP on it.

4 years ago when a new server was built by another tech the raid array was set to Raid 1 with 2 Seagate Barracuda ST3160815AS hard drives on a Adaptec 1210SA Raid Contoller Card. Fast forward to the present I have had to rebuild the Raid array 3 times now and I can't just leave my other job and deal with it. It did work well for the last 3.5+ years. I determined the one drive was bad and because it fell on a weekend (Murphy's law for ya) I was pretty much stuck with the drive options at Best Buy (even worse, sorry but I hate best buy). So I decided to go with 2 Seagate Barracuda ST3500641AS-RK and I ordered a 3rd if one ever failed I was ready. I installed the drives on Sunday and the next 6 hours building the array. 5 days later I get a text saying there was a another write error. These errors cause problems on the DOS based program they use and thankfully restarting the computer and reindexing in the program saved everything. I need to find something that will work better and not drive me to drinking. I'm probably going to need to upgrade the controller card as well because there probably is a problem with it too.

Should I be using SATA or SAS? If SATA would the Western Digital RE4 drives be better suited? It's only 3 computers accessing the DOS program and 1 additional for print sharing. But once everyone is at work the drives do get a workout and the drive has a grand total of 10 gigabytes used. Any thoughts? Please no smart @## responses. I'm looking for a solution that would work the best for everyone involved.

Server Specs

AMD Phenom X4 9150e
Asus M2A-VM mainboard
4gb DDR2 ram at 800MHz (3.5Gb 32-bit)
Windows XP Pro SP3 32bit.
Adaptec 1210SA Controller Card

Seagate barracuda ST3160815AS X2 raid 1 (System Drive, mainboard raid1)

Old Data drives

Seagate Barracuda ST3160815AS X2 raid 1 on a Adaptec 1210SA card

New Data Drives

Seagate Barracuda ST3500641AS-RK X2 raid 1



November 17, 2012 1:11:39 AM

I think you should use a SATA
a b G Storage
November 17, 2012 1:16:21 AM

Sata is plenty. I would pick up some of these. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168.... You don't really need that much space right? You could run software RAID off of the motherboard or you could go with something like this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168.... You need the cable on that page for it too. I actually run a 4 drive RAID 0 off of a Hi Point 8 port controller and it works great. I am using a cheaper model, but its very fast and so far has been totally reliable.
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a b G Storage
November 17, 2012 2:04:13 AM

Just my two cents, having been in a situation similar to yours: Unless you want increasing headaches for the rest of your life, convince the family business to migrate from the ancient DOS program to a modern Windows program. Then upgrade the server to Windows 7 or Windows 8, XP is already obsolete and isn't getting any younger.
November 17, 2012 3:46:30 AM

Unfortunately migrating the program from MS-DOS to something else is currently not available. Specialized software like the one I got to support has a significantly longer life and support cycle than any version Windows for example. I could migrate the computers to Windows 7 (absolutely not a snowballs chance in hell with 8) but there is some issues when it comes to software updates from the vendor of the software and yes it still gets regular quarterly updates. The program will work in a 32 bit version of 7 but when it comes time to update I would run into issues. I have thought of possibly using XP mode to accomplish the updates.

As long as Windows XP is still supported that is where the computers are staying on.
!