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Small form factor or large form factor. Is either a good choice?

Posted on 2007-08-03
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Small form factor or large form factor. Is either a good choice? I'm looking for ultra reliability out of a new server purchase. I'm considering a HP ProLiant ML350 with eight 146GB SAS drives (Small form factor).

Also, I've spec out an Intel 5140 Dual-Core 2.33GHz processor to run the thing. It will be used primarily as a file and print server. Does this seem like enough fiepower or should I consider dual processors? We are a small company and need to economize where we can.

Thanks.
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Question by:jpertchik
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by:Brugh
ID: 19625136
If its strict file storage that you need, purchase a NAS or SAN Device.

If you need the server to run DHCP, DNS, ActiveDirectory or another application,

then you should be fine with what you have spec'd out. I would make sure to get enough RAM and configure your storage for some type of Raid, I suggest RAID 10.

 -Brugh

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by:jpertchik
ID: 19625327
It will be running DNS, and AD. I've also set it up as RAID 1 OS, RAID 5 Data. I've  got a NAS spec'd out as online backup with a built in tape drive for offsite backup. Is this sensible?
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cinini earned 200 total points
ID: 19625537
Your solution seems fine. As far as the choice between SFF and LFF drives, go for the SFF as you will fit more drives in the box, with lower power consumption and better reliability. It is the way to go for servers for sure. Make sure you have a SAS controller that supports your RAID levels thru hardware.
On the product choice side, there is a product you can check called All-in-One storage also from HP that includes hardware and software for the functions you pointed. It might be cheaper to get the whole package (includes OS, and utilities) and easier to get support later from one single vendor.
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by:andyalder
ID: 19625750
AiO isn't allowed to be an AD server since it is using Windows Storage Server which is restricted to file/print and associated tasks like backup and virus scan under the license agreement.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 19626538
You say you are a small company... is there any reason you aren't going with Microsoft Small Business Server?  It's CHEAPER than Windows Server and INCLUDES Exchange Server.  

As for file serving, People LOVE to think that they need a powerful server... but file serving is just not a resource intensive thing.  You could run it on a single Celeron that's 3 years old and never know it.  I ran 600 users off a single 500 MHz system for YEARS with NO COMPLAINTS.  Further Active Directory, DNS, and DHCP are resource intensive things either - We ran those on a couple of Dual CPU 300 MHz Pentium 2 systems without a single complaint (and if you checked the CPU utilization, for 600 users, it hovered around 5-10% - hardly excessive.

What you start to need processing power for is when you bundle major services on top of it - things like high-volume web sites, Exchange, SQL, and others.  And even then, the MOST critical component (except maybe for SQL) is going to be RAM - you need lots of RAM when you add services.  For purely AD and file serving, 512 MB would be sufficient.  You want to focus your money on a GOOD disk subsystem and network adapter/network switch.  Try to figure out what is going to cause "poor performance" and on a file server, it's far more likely to be a poor choice of RAID or using a 100 Mbit NIC or switch when you should have it connected at Gigabit.
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