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File Server

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware' started by OADesign, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. OADesign

    OADesign Active Member

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    Hi All,

    Question for the group:

    Any tips on setting up a file server/network storage. (I have searched here and read a ton, But I thought to start a new thread to get some new fresh ideas.)

    Currently, we have all of our job files stored on an older XP based machine. This PC also serves as the design station. Everyone accesses the files via a simple shared folder. I know its not the ideal situation, but this is the way it was upon my arrival.

    Backups are handled by a combination of a freeware product, Everyday Auto Backup, Carbonite and another external HD that is swapped out with a duplicate quarterly. So we have redundancy covered.

    So I have built a new design station (I will start a new thread to share details on that) and I want to keep the job files off of it. So the plan is to make the old unit a server of sorts. Now I have looked at other NAS setups (Drobo and the like) But the reviews on those types of devices are all over the place. We don't want to spend the money on, nor to we need fancy RAIDS with multiple TBs of expensive HDs. Not yet anyway. Nor do we need the additional features like email hosting, etc.

    So my question is, should I just leave the XP machine as is, using a simple folder share to the network? Or some other scenario using the existing hardware? At the moment I am researching FreeNAS.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance for your opinions.
     
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  2. SignBurst PCs

    SignBurst PCs Very Active Member

    If it works and is backed up, why change it? This is an honest question, not rhetorical.

    I love NAS devices and I wouldn't discourage going that direction. They have their merits for sure.
     
  3. choucove

    choucove Active Member

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    The only thing that I would be hesitant with it would be the vulnerability and lack of support for the older Windows XP operating system. Though, if you're looking between that and FreeNAS you may be in a similar situation either way as you're going to have to know some about Linux to be able to get the FreeNAS set up and hope that all of the drivers will load and work as needed.

    If it's working as it is, leave it be and let it run to fulfill your current needs. However, I'd highly recommend starting up a budget plan to order a true solution for future data storage that is built with the intention of file hosting and does support some of the better features like hardware RAID as it may be necessary in the future.
     
  4. signswi

    signswi Very Active Member

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    Unless you have years and years of experience running your own NAS I'd recommend a Synology or Qnap NAS over a self-built. Even the (nicely done) dedicated distributions like FreeNAS and OpenFiler can go very wrong and then it's up to your experience to fix it. This is a terrible position to be in for a business.

    I have 15 years experience, yet I've gone entirely to Synology after doing self-built for most of that time and been very happy as a result.

    You can get into a Synology 512+ with 4x 2TB Western Digital Red* drives for ~$1200 and be in a very good position. You should still be backing up that NAS to a cloud service though (I like CrashPlan as it supports more platforms and can be installed directly on a Synology NAS)--you still need offsite.


    *WD Red drives are built for 24/7 NAS use and are tested for compatibility with prosumer/SOHO NAS systems, including the Synology lines.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2012
  5. petesign

    petesign Very Active Member

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    I went on newegg and bought a 6tb NAS backup drive made by Buffalo - its slow(ish) even on the gigabit hub.... it gets the job done and in RAID 1 I have 3tb storage... it works for me, all the stations here share it. Mine's a linkstation Duo, but you can spend a little extra money and get the linkstation pro, which is a good bit faster. the 6gb pro is $450, the duo is $373
     
  6. Bly

    Bly Very Active Member

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    I got a QNAP TS-412.
    Easy to set up, accessible from everyone on the network and one button backup to a USB HD.
    Already configured FTP server comes with it too so clients can have 24hr file transfer access.
     
  7. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    i've got a 4tb Linkstation Duo, love it. easy to use and works just fine for our mild-filesharing needs (2 design, 4 production, and 10 sales/staff computers)

    RAID 1 setup has already come in handy... despite both disks failing at the SAME TIME this summer, I was able to scan and rebuild my file system with additional recovery software and the two drives.

    I'm now fully restored and also implemented an automated/scheduled backup to another external drive (that you can plug right in to the linkstation) that we swap-out with an identical drive every other week and into a fireproof safe offsite.
     
  8. jrsc

    jrsc Member

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    I bought one of those hp mini servers when they were on sale and got windows home server on it. Way faster and way more features then most nas devices. You can also use must regular windows software on it like cloud backup software.

    And it has the added bonus of backing up everything on all your other computers. You may think that's not necessary if all your files are on the server but it is really convenient if you need it. For example my main workstation wouldn't boot correctly a couple months ago. I messed with it for about 20 minutes and couldn't figure it out. Normally I would have 2 options: keep messing around until I figure something out or reinstall windows and all my software which would take most of a day once i find all the software and keys. Instead i just re-imaged the hard drive over the network from the backup a couple hours before. Took about a half hour. That was a major time savings in the middle of the work day when I had tons of work to get out.
     
  9. KevSign

    KevSign Member

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    We had QNAP TS-459 too. Work great on Mac and PC a lot feature but not using all.
     
  10. CanuckSigns

    CanuckSigns Very Active Member

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    I have a similar setup to you, we have a desktop computer, running windows 7, that has a shared folder with all our customer files on it, it's fast, reliable and with the addition of carbonite, it's redundant.

    I don't see an issue with this setup. Having just recently gone through a disaster, my system was very simple to integrate into a new setup (copied HDD to new computer, shared it, done)

    Multiple drives set up in a RAID configuration sound all well and good, but if something happens to the physical server (fire, flood, power surge) the files are all still gone, all you really need is a single drive, backed up offsite. some of the backup providers even have a service where they will fedex you a HDD with all your files next day if you need it.
     
  11. signswi

    signswi Very Active Member

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    The problem is HDs are mechanical and the most failure prone part of a computer. Even having 1 non-redundant offsite is not true backup. The offsite should have redundancy as well.

    I've been through hundreds of crash recoveries, I did SOHO tech support in college and trained as a MSCE and CCNA, seriously anything less than a RAID-5+ NAS onsite with cloud offsite I simply don't consider backed up.
     
  12. signswi

    signswi Very Active Member

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    The state of SOHO NAS systems has changed a lot, Synology and Qnap offerings blow away windows home server in speed and feature set. Home server is basically a dead product as well. If you're happy with it that's great, but it's not something you'll be able to use forever. The pooled JBOD RAID approach they use, which actually originated in ZFS filesystems, is also now in use by the major NAS companies.

    However your point about doing workstation mirrors is also a good point. I too mirror every workstation to our NAS every night in addition to the NAS for fileserver use. It just gets you up so much faster if you have a workstation drive die. Synology provides software to do so and there's also a pretty good backup built into Windows 7+.
     
  13. CanuckSigns

    CanuckSigns Very Active Member

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    I believe that Carbonite is redundant no?
     
  14. jfiscus

    jfiscus Map Wraster

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    We have a new NAS box here, previously we were on a windows server, but kept filling it up and slowing down the server. Our computer company recommended switching to the NAS instead of upgrading. It has sped things up for the others who access the server for other tasks.

    Our server, workstations, and NAS are all backed up with Gorilla Backups. They are a customer of ours, and their product is excellent. The best part about it is, one of the company owners answers the phone if you ever have an issue or need a file restored. www.gorillabackups.com
     
  15. CanuckSigns

    CanuckSigns Very Active Member

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    We had a netgear readyNAs at one point, I got rid of it as it was incredibly slow to pull files from.
     
  16. particleman

    particleman Member

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    Another vote for synology. These are really nice, I've used a few different brands. As others mentioned you can load crashplan on a synology nas along with a lot of other stuff.
     
  17. OADesign

    OADesign Active Member

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    Wow. Thanks for all the info.

    For the moment I just bought a gigabit switch from Fry's. Rearranged some of the cat5 and i'm done. Works great. Just as fast as it was before. I use Synergy to control the other machine (although MS's mouse with out borders looks good)

    But we are moving to a bigger place early next year and I have to figure out the PC/network set up in the new space. The solutions offered by Synology look really good. I think that is the rout we will go once all the TI is done on the new space.
     
  18. JoeBoomer

    JoeBoomer Member

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    I had a Drobo NAS at my last shop. It was super easy and basically took care of itself. Plus you can mix and match almost any hard drives you have. If a hard drive failed you would simply slide out the old one and pop in a new one. It would automatically rebuild itself.

    I think DROBO is one of the simplest NAS that you can get. However, if you want more options or server-type options, your better off with a WD nas/server or something similar.
     
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