Motherboard for file server. Help!

Hello fellows! I need your help in selecting motherboard for file server. my situation is: i need to assemble a rack mount file server for one organization with 200-250 remote users (teleworkers) who constantly download/upload different type of traffic. This is my first experience in putting together such a server, so i really rely on you!
What i currently have from requirements that it has to be 2U 6 Bay server on 100 Mbps channel, with 6 SATA3 or SATA2 drivers, RAID controller 0,1,5,10. There are lots of data, so i plan to buy 2 TB driver each. There are lots of details to consider before buying a motherboard, like type of chipset, processor, power unit, RAM etc. I'm afraid that i will buy lots of memory, but the server will not be able to perform such tasks. So i wanna hear your suggestions about requirements to hardware and maybe you can give me some examples of motherboards which fit the file server.
Thank you!
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  1. dear community, i still believe in your help!=)
    where are you guys? Give me a push!
  2. Welcome to Tom's Forums! :)

    I build PC's and Workstations, but I purchase/lease Dell Servers. The issue isn't the number of 'potential' remote users it's the number of concurrent (simultaneous) users.

    I'd look at the Dell PowerEdge R710 or R815 Rack Server if any processing is required -> If it's just data then NAS PowerVault NX Series.

    So what exactly do you mean by 'File Serving'?
  3. Thank you jaquith for your respond! I was thinking first about buying already assembled Dell server, but as i know if you need to expend your hard drive capacity you need to buy HDD only this manufacture, but the prices are higher. So, i decided to do it by myself, so i will have more options for expansion.
    I wanna run this server on FreeNAS software, that users were be able to keep files in their personal accounts and share them with coworkers. What main consideration for hardware i need to think about for such a server?
  4. If not Dell then I'd look at SuperMicro; couple of examples:

    SuperServer 2026T-6RFT+ (16XSAS) -
    SuperServer 6026T-URF4+ (8XSAS) -

    You're not going to simply slap together a 2U unit and get what you want and have it work. My strong suggestion is to find out exactly what your needs are and have SuperMicro spec out a system for you.
  5. I've been looking at building a server and was looking at a few of the Norco cases (this one will allow for 12 hot-swap drives)

    I think the only issue would be SAS cards...haven't looked at it too hard.

    Honestly, most file servers are relatively low CPU and RAM. I think you could do OK with 1155 motherboards and Xeon 12xx (1230 or above contain the hyperthreading feature too).

    I've had luck with SuperMicro as well...not a bad brand to check out.
  6. I normally agree, my NAS servers have the single 4-6 core Xeon with 16 bays and considerable lower amounts of RAM. However, I don't have 200+ users accessing my NAS data. In my case, it's about Web Servers, Image Servers and Data (SQL) Servers. I do IDX/REO/TAX data, NAS if simply for backup.

    So if I were in your shoes I'd certainly have the option of Dual Xeon's and sufficient RAM. Worst, if had a large number of concurrent users then I'd probably look into or use (2) load balanced servers.

    You need to know the load. I'd look at what you have now and look at the load then depending on the load make my selections.

    The reason I typically lease is scalability, service, taxes, capital, etc -- with a 36 month lease.
  7. Recently I stopped on motherboards with s-1155 or 1156 sockets 4xcore Xeon. And I thought that it would be enough, but I still hesitate. But SAS drives are very expensive, especially 2 TB, almost in two times than SATA. What about 2 load balanced servers-my budget will not allow me to buy second server, but this is a good idea i didn't think about that, than you! I read lot's of articles how to built a home NAS server, but in my case this is different. I have lot's of simultaneously connected users, not one, and need hardware that would provide users with sufficient speed of reading and writing data.
    My concern is ok, i have enough space on hard disks, i have sufficient channel, but the performance of my hardware is not enough (200-250 users!)
  8. Well the alternative to SAS is SSD's with SLC or eMLC which aren't cheap and are not designed with NAS (cost) in mind. Consumer SSD's won't last. IMO - SATA HDD's are okay, just steer clear of WD consumer lines since they don't support TLER.

    Since cost is a big limitation then again Lease.

    Q - How much storage do you need ; total TB?
    Q - What's you budget?
    Q - How many simulations users?
  9. I need 8 TB storage, 200-250 users, budget $1500.
  10. Also i'm interested what RAM which supports ECC to buy?
  11. You're kidding.

    $849.99 5 X in RAID 5: Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache -
    $259.99 SUPERMICRO CSE-822T-400LPB Black 2U Rackmount Server Case 400W -
    $254.99 SUPERMICRO MBD-X8STE-O -
    ref -
    $234.99 Intel Xeon E5606 Westmere-EP 2.13GHz 80W -
    $104.99 Kingston 12GB (3 x 4GB) ECC Unbuffered DDR3 1333 KVR1333D3E9SK3/12G -
    $1,709.95 **

    Chances are you'll need a low profile RAID Card since RAID 5 is limited to Windows support. Adaptec, LSI or Intel with 6/8 SATA/SAS $300+. Example see -> ; verify with SuperMicro their support is excellent.

    RAID 5 2TB (5-1) = 8TB

    FreeNAS support?? (OS and RAID) - verify with SuperMicro ; list OS support -

    RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 support (Windows)
    RAID 0, 1, 10 support (Linux)
  12. Thank you "jaquith" for your help and suggestions. This configuration is similar to what i was watching, so you gave me more confidence in my choice.
    Thank you so much!
  13. I have one more question: on this motherboard is SATA2 controller, but this HDD is SATA3
    Is this ok with compatibility between SATA2 controller and SATA3 drives? Because i read that some OS don't see SATA3 drives in SATA2 slots (like Windows 7).
  14. Yes, SATA3 is backwards compatible with SATA2 and on a mechanical HDD there's no difference in speed. SATA2's limit is 300MB/s and the fastest 10/15K HDD is ~150MB/s aka 1/2 SATA2 speeds and 1/4 SATA3 speeds.
  15. I'm completely agree with SuperMicro motherboards, but it will be bought in Europe, and i didn't find this motherboard. so there are some difficulties with buying SuperMicro products. Can you suggest maybe equal Intel motherboard ?
    And also i was curious how good are integrated RAID controllers? or maybe it's better to buy separately?
  16. This is impossible for me, example - 1. Knowing what's available in Europe (UK, Germany, etc), 2. Verifying compatibility. For example, I had to make sure the SM MOBO would actually 'fit' into the 2U case; compatibility.

    The integrated RAID controllers as I mentioned might not work or work reliably with FreeNAS, but in general they're slower especially when comparing Caching and Parity calculations not to mention no battery backup to the Cached data. RAID with no parity e.g. 1 and 10 are not noticeably faster when you eliminate Cache. There's not one server I have without a dedicated RAID card + battery backup.

    IMO - post in the following sections and let them know your Location.
    Sever section -
    Systems section -
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