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Ideal server for a small company of employees

Posted on 2004-09-29
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What type of server would be ideal for a small company of 20 employees.  Any price range, any configuration.
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Question by:raymm
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by:FatherErvin
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That really depends what you need to do with your server.
Is this going to be the only server?
Will it handle file and print sharing - if so, does it need to be redundant? Are nightly backups performed?
Will it act as a DHCP server
Will it act as a mail server
Will it handle NAT?

Let us know what the server will be used for and we can take it from there........

fE
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by:TRobertson
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With any unix/linux experience, that is the way to go.  *nux is very robust and has a great selection of services available.   The true question is, which distrobution?  From a Unix/BSD standpoint OpenBSD and FreeBSD are popular options for those who do not want to invest alot of money.  There are also distros of Unix which offer a bit more but cost a bit more as well.  Linux is becoming a very popular alternative option to the Unix environment.  With linux some of the distros you can add technical support and automatic updates however you will have to pay a bit more for the, ie. Suse Enterprise Linux and Redhat Enterprise Linux.  
I would recommend taking a look at http://distrowatch.com/ for more info.
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zerofield earned 500 total points
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TR just became my new favorite person that answers questions with me :)

I've setup several small companies on *nix solutions.  They usually look at you like an AID's infected alien when you walk in the door, but 99% of them would give me their first born by the time I walk out the door.  One of the things opensource can DEFINITELY do better than anything MS based, is make hardcore solutions possible for small companies.

With that said, I actually dont recommend suse (thought my exp with it is very limited) or redhat.  RH is grotesquely expensive.  It's all the same kernel, and for the most part, the same software wrapped around it in each distribution.  Debian has the ability to use apt to pull/install/update packages with great ease.  It's also been the fastest growing distribution for 2 years accordding to numerous polls :)

For a 20 person company, if you want to consolidate every single user into ONE server, have fault tolerancy in mind.  With all of your eggs in one basket, you can be begging for disaster.  Singling out and eliminating single points of failure (SPF's) is easier with a bigger corporation with bigger budgets, but it can (and should) still be done with small companies.  Look towards something such as:

dual cpu (low end 2.4 p4's is fine, even dual 1ghz p3's would likely suffice)
1 gig of ram (dont skimp! even more if you run SQL or exchange on this thing)
at least a raid 1 with scsi or high end SATA (segate has 5 year warranties on their SATA)

I cant recall seeing a Dell server with sata, and personally I would be crucified before using Dell in a megacorp enterprise, but for a small company that depends heavily upon a small number of servers, I wouldnt mind recommending their poweredges due to their cheap prices.  the 1600SC and a few others should be very affordable.

You'll want 2, at LEAST, for this.  If they act apalled and as though it's too much money, ask one of them what they'd do if they had no friends/taxi's/buses/subway and their car broke down.  They'd want another damn car!

You'll want a tapedrive for daily incremental backups and weekly full backups.  Hopefully with the Raid-1 present, and a duplicate server ready, AND recent backups just in case, you could fail to the cold standby unit within minutes.
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by:ngravatt
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dell poweredge 1650, cost about $2000.00 - $3000.00
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by:zerofield
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you'd have to plate the thing in gold to make it cost that much..

http://www1.us.dell.com/content/products/compare.aspx/sc?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd

choose the 1650 series or the 1420 series.

If you want REALLY cheap, but still not bad at all (one of my personal favorites for el cheapo servers) try supermicro.  There's several vendors out that handle them.
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by:zerofield
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whoa, ok, you're right.. back when i bought a 1650, they were the lowest speed xeons possible, with pc2100, and it was right at $1600!

Well, heh, you get the point/idea at least ;)  Maybe shoot for a 1420 or an older p3 based unit.
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