Small server storage solution

Jeff7181

Lifer
Aug 21, 2002
18,368
11
81
So an acquaintance of mine has offered to pay for my services in setting him up with a small file server that will also double as a print server.

I decided I'm not going to build it because I don't want to be stuck supporting it for more than the initial installation/configuration. I'll be setting him up with a low end Dell or HP server.

Basically right now he has 1 TB of data and I figure this needs to be about 3 TB in size so he doesn't outgrow it in a couple years and have some sort of redundancy or backup and needs to have good throughput as multiple users will be reading/writing files up to 500 MB in size at the same time.

At first I thought 4 of Seagate's 1.5 TB drives using a combination of striping and mirroring. Then I thought two spindles probably wouldn't provide the performance it sounds like he'll need.
So I thought, what about 3 of those 1.5 TB drives in RAID 5, which would give better performance and redundancy that protects against hardware failures, but that doesn't really protect against data corruption and accidental deletions and stuff like that.
So I figured 4 1.5 TB drives in RAID 5 would provide enough space for the data storage, plus I could partition it off and have a partition to store nightly backups and have the performance of 4 spindles.

That's what I'm planning on now... anything I've overlooked with that solution aside from the "more spindles = more points of failure" argument?
 

ch33zw1z

Lifer
Nov 4, 2004
37,760
18,039
146
With 4 1.5TB drives, it may be worth it to try RAID10. Also, partitioning a space for nightly backups does not count as a backup...RAID is not a backup solution.
 

LittleNemoNES

Diamond Member
Oct 7, 2005
4,142
0
0
4x 1.5TB drives @ RAID 5 here.
I figure if you're going to configure storage, you might as well go all out.
 

RebateMonger

Elite Member
Dec 24, 2005
11,588
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If it's a 3 TB array and if it's Windows Server you'll have to boot off a different array since you'll have to make it a GPT partition.

Yeah, assuming a single data partition and redundancy are needed, RAID 10 would be a reasonable choice for the data prtition. Might as well go RAID 1 for the OS boot partition. I'd also recommand Hot Spares for both partitions, so that's two more drives.

Last I checked, there are NO 1.5 TB drives that are on the "Approved Hardware" lists for Areca or 3Ware right now, so you'll be on your own, support-wise, for the RAID controller.

Hopefully you have a backup solution planned.
 

Jeff7181

Lifer
Aug 21, 2002
18,368
11
81
I realize this isn't ideal, but I'm trying to accommodate him. I've already gone over the problem with not having a real backup solution and he's not willing to put one in place despite the likelihood that a catastrophic failure will put him out of business.

That said, I'm trying to find a solution that will do what he wants... perform well, have some redundancy to protect against hardware failure, and provide periodic backups that he can restore individual files from as needed.

So... I was under the impression if I put the disks in RAID 5 Windows would see the array as a single physical disk and I could partition it from there. Is this incorrect? The idea was to do that, and partition it out from there which would provide protection against a (single) disk failure and allow space to dump backups that he could restore from as necessary.

By the way, we'll be using Server 2008 since he has a license through Dreamspark and doesn't see any reason to pay for anything else and I'm not about to dive deeper into Linux to make this happen for him right now.

More thoughts?
 

RebateMonger

Elite Member
Dec 24, 2005
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I suggest you back out now and suggest finding somebody else to help him. Obviously the use of Dreamspark software for a business is not "legal" and you really don't want to be dragged into it.
 

Jeff7181

Lifer
Aug 21, 2002
18,368
11
81
Originally posted by: RebateMonger
I suggest you back out now and suggest finding somebody else to help him. Obviously the use of Dreamspark software for a business is not "legal" and you really don't want to be dragged into it.

You're right... I didn't really want to get involved but the money he offered to set it up would really come in handy right now. Turning out to be a bigger pain than I thought, though.

I might just point him to a few pre-configured Dells and let their small business sales people figure something out for him.