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Hardware Thread, New Fileserver spec in Technical; ...
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    pjm1974's Avatar
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    New Fileserver spec

    I have £3K approx to buy a Fileserver to which I want to move all the student home and shared areas to (and possibly staff ones too) and perhaps networked software such as Kudos, Edexcel, Eduteams

    I was thinking along the lines of:
    HP's ML350 pedestal (no room for a server rack )
    Intel Quad-core Xeon E5410 2.333GHz
    4GB RAM
    2x 72.8GB hot-swap 2.5" SAS 15K - OS/Progs RAID 1
    2x 300GB hot-swap 2.5" SAS 15K - Data RAID 1
    (+2 free slots)
    Raid controller SMART ARRAY controller + 256MB Cache
    LTO3 internal SAS backup with contoller
    Planning to buy some Backup Software BackupExec, ArcServe or backupassist...

    all advice welcome

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    Looks good, bare in mind the ML350 is being withdrawn so you'll have to get one while you still can.

    I would consider trying to get some more Data drives so you can use RAID 5 which is more efficient with disk space.

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    GlennT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K.C.Leblanc View Post

    I would consider trying to get some more Data drives so you can use RAID 5 which is more efficient with disk space.
    Agreed.
    If you can afford it, get another 300gb drive and go for a Raid 5....

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pjm1974 View Post
    I have £3K approx to buy a Fileserver
    I should think for £3,000 you could get something with a bit more apparent storage than 300GB. We've just bought a similar machine with 1TB of storage for around £1,500, although SATA-based rather than SAS. No backup tape drive drive, either, as backups are taken care of somewhere else on the network. I should think you'd be able to find a case with a bit more room in, too, allow for further expansion.

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    David Hicks

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Raid-10 is better for Files, better read\write then Raid-5, which is best for SQL\Exchange.

    Get 2003 R2 Enterprise

    Poss look at two

    It's about £1k for a basic Supermicro server, Quad Intel, 8GB RAM, 2x1TB RAID-1, so I figure you could get about, 2:

    Supermicro, Quad Intel, 8GB RAM, 2x 80GB 4x 1TB, 3ware\Dell\Such RAID,
    Raid-1 and Raid-10

    That's assuming you want to put it together.

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    OverWorked's Avatar
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    I also agree with K.C.Leblanc and GlennT. Buy more drives - they're relatively cheap. As you've got 2 free slots, have 4x300GB drives in a RAID5 array for the data and increase your space.

    You're right to have separate arrays for OS and data. This will improve the speed. (I wish I'd done that. I got a new server with 1TB of space last year and just made one array with several partitions. It'd be a big job to split it into two arrays).

    For backup I've only used Backup Exec in a working environment. It's good, but it takes a while to get your head round if you're new to it.

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    OverWorked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    although SATA-based rather than SAS. No backup tape drive drive, either, as backups are taken care of somewhere else on the network. I should think you'd be able to find a case with a bit more room in, too, allow for further expansion.

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    David Hicks
    David,

    I thought SAS was faster that SATA. Am I wrong?

    I agree with the backup solution. I gave up on tapes a few years ago. Too expensive and unreliable. Plus it's another job to do to keep changing them.

    For backup-to-disk, I have a cheap Buffalo Terrastation (1.5TB in RAID5, I think) way down at the other end of the school in a secure plant room. Little chance of it burning down with the servers.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OverWorked View Post
    I thought SAS was faster that SATA.
    Yes, hence why our machine was on the cheaper side - couldn't stretch to snazzy SAS drives, so made do with 10,000RPM Raptor drives off eBay.

    I gave up on tapes a few years ago.
    Me too, but I can see where a tape drive might come in handy if this is the main backup point for the whole school - backup to disk, then to tape overnight.

    Little chance of it burning down with the servers.
    We bought a fireproof safe, around £800, rated for 2 hours fire protection of magnetic media.

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  9. 2 Thanks to dhicks:

    pjm1974 (6th August 2008)

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    If you can possibly back up to something somewhere else then do that rather than using tape.

    It seems like a good idea but it's (a) expensive and (b) a pain

    If you don't remember to take the tape out then you're not covered by the fireproof safe when it all goes horribly wrong over the bank holiday weekend :-)

    If you can have a backup machine somewhere secure but a long way from your servers then that may be a safer way to work.

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    pjm1974's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone picking up on a couple of points:

    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Me too, but I can see where a tape drive might come in handy if this is the main backup point for the whole school - backup to disk, then to tape overnight.
    It would be our main solution, planning to move from our LTO1 as they'll not be big enough soon.

    For backup-to-disk, I have a cheap Buffalo Terrastation (1.5TB in RAID5, I think) way down at the other end of the school in a secure plant room.
    OverWorked: do you use memeo to keep track of changes in real time? or just have scheduled disk to disk copies overnight?

    Interested in the debate over RAID 1/10 vs. 5
    Due to quotas there's currently just over 130Gb to backup (archives will reduce it to nearer 100MB) just assumed I could get 2 more 300Gb drives next year... I guess 5 is necessary if I want more storage space NOW (matt40k: I've no time or inclinationto build a server how much money that it saves me!) or I could scrap idea tape backups and get just a terrastation hmmm (like having data offsite tho).

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    Quote Originally Posted by pjm1974 View Post
    OverWorked: do you use memeo to keep track of changes in real time? or just have scheduled disk to disk copies overnight?
    I just use Symantec Backup Exec to do overnight backups. The usual grandfather/father/son type thing. I think real-time backups are a bit overkill for a school.
    Last edited by OverWorked; 6th August 2008 at 05:34 PM. Reason: spelling

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    I hate when people use hard drives to backup. It's not really a backup.

    I've had people backup to hdd which they take home... which they drop, then it doesn't work.

    I've had people backup to NAS boxs at the other end of the school, said woo it's so great, up until some say, Umm... last yr I had some work, can you restore? Then they go to have a look and either they've delete to make room or someone has deleted it by mistake such as a sync wasn't setup correctly or a virus or just the school had a power surge that took out a load of hdds\psu etc.

    Fine tape isn't perfect. I would have tape for files, possible dvd as well for SIMS. Online backup is an option, but what happens if your router dies and you need to restore?

    As for building a server, fine, some people do it, some people don't. Whatever. Dell can do some really good offers, HP are doing extra RAM \ HDD at the moment. Personally I get the one with the 3 yrs onsite next business (or better) as standard and is within the buget and is a good spec (ie over the recommended so it WILL last 3 yrs)

    At the end of the day, whatever you get, you'll get blamed when it doesn't work. So either try and get the best stuff, rather then trying to save some money, or get some cheap rubbish and fiddle the books\finance person\whatever and have enough money to run away when it all goes wrong

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    RAID 5 or RAID 1

    Quote Originally Posted by GlennT View Post
    Agreed.
    If you can afford it, get another 300gb drive and go for a Raid 5....
    surely the best performance to cost scenario would be to have
    2 pairs of 300GB disks mirrored RAID 1
    4x£300=£1200

    rather than
    3 300GB disks RAID 5 and an array controller
    3x£300+£200=£1100

    ???

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pjm1974 View Post
    surely the best performance to cost scenario would be to have
    2 pairs of 300GB disks mirrored RAID 1
    4x£300=£1200

    rather than
    3 300GB disks RAID 5 and an array controller
    3x£300+£200=£1100

    ???
    Not if the integrated RAID controller is junk compared to a proper one. RAID 1 on a cheaper controller will actually do the writes one after the other rather than simultaneously. A proper RAID controller could do this simultaneously in RAID 1 or at hardware speed in a RAID 5 configuration as the data was read off the cache, paritied and written out. The cache in a dedicated controller will also give you a large speed boost.

    The other issue with RAID 1 is when something goes wrong, as there are only two disks in the array if one starts to go bad it is up to the controller to pick it up early and identify which disk if faulty correctly. If it blames the wrong disk or does not pick it up quickly then bad data can be replicated onto the good disk. Rebuilding can also be a concern as it must mirror from only one source disk at a high rate, this can induce failure on your one remaining source disk destroying your data again.

  16. Thanks to SYNACK from:

    pjm1974 (7th August 2008)

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    pjm1974's Avatar
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    would the HP ML350 G5's inbuilt smart array E200i with 128MB BBWC class as a proper one due to the cache? the £200 additional smart array P400SAS controller has a larger 258MB cache so would this desireable?



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