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Files hosting servers setup

we are contemplating to start building our files sharing portal and I am curios to see what would experts suggest in terms of the servers setup - mainly disk space.

- For now we decided to go with Linux/Unix OS, MySQL, PHP.

What we approx. expect to have within 2 years:
A. 5,000 members - each member account will have approx. 2 GB of dedicated space
B. Files stored will be each up to 50Mb (zipped files will be split into smaller units). We will not store/share any big files like movies. It will be mostly pictures, graphics, flash, small videos.
C. Our pages will mostly contain pictures. Users will be browsing through many pictures (mostly thumbnails). As for the traffic not sure yet, let's say we will have 20,000 visits a day.

- What would you suggest for the server setup (processor, RAM, drives). For now we plan to go with RAID 1.
- How is it technically done, I mean storing the files across 3 or 4 servers.. Or how the storage (disk space) should be set up?
- We will need something which will support fast uploading and downloading files. What connection should we go with 100 Mbs or 1Gbs? What bandwidth to expect? What data center to use (mainly for North America users).

Please, think of it from the "growing perspective" point of view - starting out with one server and trying to reach our first 1,000 members.

Thank you.
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Plan for the Purchase of good servers like HP Gen 8 servers which supports all the levels of Raids.

Configure your Network for Maximum Bandwidth for Users and servers end 1 GBPS would be idle.

Raid 1 is mirroring which will need the same size of Disk Capacity .. All the data will be Mirrored and has redundancy for user data .

Raid 5 will be Idle in your situation where data will be Striped and Parity will be used to store data .. Minimum 3Hard disk is required for Raid 5..
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Thank you guys, both comments are useful.

Still waiting for another inputs/suggestions..

What I'd like to hear is what exactly the best setup should be to start with so we won't be having any problems to keep ADDING SPACE (drives) as we go on.
I just don't feel it's a good idea to spend lots of money and buy a new top notch server while we are still developing and gaining our new members (or maybe yes if that's a necessity).
So again I am looking more at some good STARTING point.

Based on your posts, for now we have agreed on using 100Mbit/1GB port and working with a provider that can continuously/gradually increase the bandwidth according to our needs (we are starting off with 10TB).

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Thank you Doug! Finally a very valuable input!
This is something that I was expecting to hear.

I'll wait for one or two more replies, but Doug, you have definitely earned some of the points.