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small office lan setup

Posted on 2007-07-24
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Hi,

present status:
office with 4 machines (win xp), main machine acting as the "server" with printer and internet sharing, with an inventory/invoicing/accounting/cataloguing software installed on them, the main machine has the server part of it with the central db, so that all the info is stored there.

Need:
daily back-up of the data, and of course the sharing and use as it is now.

Proposed solution:
A raid5 server with iomega rev.

But:
does it make sense to spend on the hardware, and have a linux server that takes care of the printer, internet, and back-up, while the software resides on the actual main machine?
Or wouldn't it at this point be more suited a windows server to have the software installed on it, to take the load off the actual main machine as well?

Thank you.
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Question by:keneso
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10 Comments
 
LVL 88

Assisted Solution

by:rindi
rindi earned 480 total points
ID: 19554830
Raid isn't used for backup but helps if a disk breaks down.

For your case I'd use something like acronis trueimage which works very well for backups, and it should also be able to backup to a rev. You don't need an extra PC for that.

http://acronis.com
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Assisted Solution

by:ABLComputers
ABLComputers earned 480 total points
ID: 19555193
I would go with the Windows server to take the load off the current system. Like Rindi said Raid is not used and a backup but as a Fail drive back up. Since this is a small office i would suggest instead of going with an actual server with Windows SBS i will suggest going with a NAS system. They are rather low cost. You do this if you the office don't expect to grow significantly in the next 2 years. A Significant growth is 3 or more computer added to the network or users.  
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LVL 5

Assisted Solution

by:ABLComputers
ABLComputers earned 480 total points
ID: 19555199
I would go with the Windows server to take the load off the current system. Like Rindi said Raid is not used and a backup but as a Fail drive back up. Since this is a small office i would suggest instead of going with an actual server with Windows SBS i will suggest going with a NAS system. They are rather low cost. You do this if you the office don't expect to grow significantly in the next 2 years. A Significant growth is 3 or more computer added to the network or users.  
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LVL 7

Assisted Solution

by:trickz_2
trickz_2 earned 480 total points
ID: 19555880
Is the main machine a workstation that someone sits and works at? If it is i would definatly recomend getting another machine. Way too often I have seen small offices that would have benifited by having a dedicated server that did store all of the companies data, and had regular backups.
a raid 5 server is a good idea and although it is not a backup it does improve the reliability of your server. There are dozens of options for backing up and i still like tape drives. Too many folks that go to tape only get one or two tapes and that is problematic. If you have a tape for each day of the week and one for each week of the month and one for each month of the quarter you are sure to have good backups and the ability to restore quality data as needed. Don't be afraid to spend the money and do it right.
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Author Comment

by:keneso
ID: 19556554
Thanks.

Hmmm ... maybe I was not very clear in exposing the question.

By now I know that raid is for hardware redundancy, indeed I said the back-up is suggested to be iomega rev.
The question is if it is worth having a server class machine to just run the back-up, while leaving the work software on the actual main machine, an average desktop class.

>>rindi

I'll look into acronis.

>>ABLComputers

What is NAS?

>>trickz_2

The main machine is like the others, an average desktop class.

By combining the replies from all of you I am understanding a good solution would be getting another machine to take out the load, and use NAS (whatever that is ... I shall google meanwhile).
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LVL 7

Assisted Solution

by:trickz_2
trickz_2 earned 480 total points
ID: 19556669
NAS is a network storage device.

I ask about the use of the machine, is it used by a regular user. Not os much to determine the type of machine but the load on the machine. many times in small offices a shared application is installed on one persons machine and other people access it across the network. The machine ends up being used as an everyday workstation for a specific user and as an application/file server for the rest of the office. Or the other case would be do you have this machine set aside and no one actually sits at the keyboard and uses it on a daily basis, is it dedicated for network use. If it is a dedicated machine then i would say just add a backup option. If it is also used as a workstation by a particular user then get another machine and dedicate it as a server.
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LVL 88

Assisted Solution

by:rindi
rindi earned 480 total points
ID: 19556726
Your load probably isn't big. I'd add a raid 1 to your current "server", then install acronis to it and use it to backup to the rev attached to it. Rev's come with USB ports, SCSI, and the older 35GB version also came in Firewire versions, all of those can be used externaly. You could also use an internal IDE or SATA version. The disk of the REV itself is removable, that's what is important, so you can take the backup offsite.
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LVL 97

Accepted Solution

by:
Lee W, MVP earned 560 total points
ID: 19556762
I would suggest you read my backup comment/article -
www.lwcomputing.com/tips/static/backup.asp

In summary, I would not use REV drives - they are proprietary and if the drive breaks, how do you access any of the REV cartridges?  What happens in 3 years when REV drives aren't sold anymore and you can't replace them?  Remember JAZZ drives?  How about Bernoulli drives?

NAS is Network Attached Storage - it is where you have a device that specifically handles file sharing only.  Like a networkable hard drive.

Frankly, why wouldn't you want a server?  An SBS Server is relatively inexpensive for 5 users or less (Yesterday I saw a server on Dell's site, including SBS for about $800 - with RAID.  Servers provide:
1.  Centralized administration
2.  Single sign-on that allows you to create 1 user account and use it (and the associated password) on all computers.  Change it on one and it's changed on another.
3.  Volume Shadow Copy - a form of online backup (I mention this in the article above).
4.  Extensive and secure remote access through VPN and Remote Web Workplace
5.  Exchange server for E-mail and groupware functionality, allowing much easier e-mail backups and numerous other advantages.
6.  Easily managed through wizards.
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LVL 7

Author Comment

by:keneso
ID: 19584124
Points 300 > 500

Thank you all.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 19584169
your welcome
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