New Server Purchase

Posted on 2006-05-04
Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I have received bids on 3 different servers...with all things equal and cost being low consideration, I have to make a decision based on very little server knowledge.  The following seem to be the critical differences in the bids.

1)  Dell vs. Gateway vs. HP

2)  Raid 1 vs. Raid 5 (we currently use less than 10 GB of file space now)

3)  Tape vs. External Harddrive for offsite back ups.

I have read many of the past expert solutions but keep changing my mind on which is best
Question by:curryseed
    LVL 9

    Expert Comment

    We use dell for their warranty support. 4YR Gold with 4hr On-Site is the given.

    RAID 5 would be the best choice if money isnt an issue.

    Tape vs External...well, for safty both should go off site should their be a fire or some other disaster which ruins the tapes.

    This depends on how "critical" the data is. If its highly critical i would go disk to disk to an off site webhost. Make sure the traffic is encrypted.

    Tape: Magnetic Tapes go bad...but are still the heart of a lot of data backup systems to this day.

    Disk: If not there are serveral solutions you can do with disk to disk backups. Remember 10GB is a lot of data if your on a slow connection(will take a lot of time).
    LVL 7

    Accepted Solution

    1)  HP then Dell then Gateway.  Reliability is slightly better with HP in my eperience, but Dell has better tools for install/config.

    2)  If the disk usage is low, go Raid 1.  Mirroring is fast on reads and writes.  If you blow a disk, it is a reboot away from being back up.  If it is the boot disk on reboot the raid controller will acknowledge that the boot drive is dead and boot off the other.  if it is the secondary you'll get a warning.  You replace it when you get another.  Turn off the server, swap it out, and on the reboot tell it to rebuild the array.

    3)  I like tape.  More reliable than a drive.  Slower for backup and recovery, but very reliable.  Plus, the newer ones back up 10-20 gigs per hour, so it's not that long in your case.  Hard drives go too fast, stick with the tape.  I have other optical options if you get to 30-40 gigs of disk being used....

    Hope it helps,
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    I disagree with jimbo.  Money isn't an issue, it won't matter anyway.   Not at your size requirements.  Disk is pretty cheap.  Let's talk uptime availability.  Raid 5 needs 3 disks for the array.  If you want a 80 gig array you need 3 - 40 gig drives to make 80 gigs.  Then probably a 4th for hot swap if one blows.  God forbid 2 go down (unlikely) then your really up the creek.  Don't get me wrong, I'm a big raid 5 guy with ibm sharks which are raid 5, but based on your size needs, you can buy 3 80 gig drives, use 2 mirrored for the same 80 gigs and have one on the shelf just in case.  Then in failure recover (uptime) is instantaneous.  In raid 5 the hot swap is rebuilt by the other drives.  That takes a lot more time than a reboot.

    Author Comment

    Currently we have disc backup and I hate takes all day to catalog and restore a file that has been accidently deleted.  Of course tape back-up system is about 7-8 years old.  Will a new tape system be faster?  
    Will harddrives be more expensive in the long run?

    Author Comment

    I meant to say we currently have TAPE backup...and I hate it
    LVL 16

    Expert Comment

    You should look into something like a FireWire external drive or something for offsite backups. We have a 1 Terabyte external drive we alternate for offsite backups, it works nice. The drive make is a LaCie drive.
    LVL 23

    Expert Comment

    by:Mohammed Hamada
    I totally agree with  bigjimbo813...  

    Sure curryseed the new tapes will act faster if you have any clue about the new tapes and thier speed features these days... as at 2004 thier speed reaches up to  6-12-megabytes-per-second native transfer rate...  But also using external drives can be useful..

    You can use Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo, with a buffer speed of 16, and it supports USB 2.0 and firmware, It's speed is 7200 RPM.. this cost about $825 for 1000 gigas of storage..

    Good luck

    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    I have also implemented 4-5 of these solutions in the past year.  Very effective.

    I've done the internal and USB.  They are very fast, protable, and with the internal the staff has 5 cartridges, Mon-Fri.  Each day they swap it out and take the 2 day old one off site, so they have prior day on site for recovery and 2nd day off site in case of catashtrophic emergency (ie fire, flood, etc.)

    Price is comparable to a 20/40 gig tape drive and the software is easier to use.  Plus it is very fast....

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