Go Back   Computer Forums > General Computing > Server Administration
Click Here to Login
Join Computer forums Today


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 06-02-2014, 08:42 PM   #1
Solid State Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 6
Default Advice on Small Business Server with 4 Drives

Hi All,

I need some advice on how to set up a small business server for a company with less than 6 employees typically. The server is mostly used for sharing files and to allow an accountant to RDP and use quickbooks remotely.

I have a ThinkServer with four 2 TB drives. I am about to install Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 but am not sure how to set it up as far as RAID and disk partitions.

We won't use the server for anything but file sharing and allowing the accountant to RDP. We typically have about 500 GB of data and may expand up to 1TB but probably no more than that in the next few years.

Does anyone have advice on how to set up the partitions, and RAID for this server with four 2TB drives? I was thinking of having a partition for the O/S, a partition (maybe 500GB) for our Data (1TB or even 2TB), and an additional partition for nightly automatic backups (probably 1TB or even 2TB). Then I was thinking RAID could help on top of that? Or should I have completely separate drives for the O/S, for the Data, and for the nightly backups, and then set up some type of RAID scheme?

In addition, I plan to connect an external 1TB USB flash drive and perform a second automated nightly backup to that drive every night.

Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks.
__________________

drocker21 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2014, 12:51 PM   #2
In Runtime
 
briggs&straton's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: n/a
Posts: 283
Default Re: Advice on Small Business Server with 4 Drives

Would you mind providing the server model? If I were you I would have the OS on just one drive. Then the other drives in a RAID 5 for redundancy. You can do the raid with the built in RAID software on the OS in computer management. Then just use the USB for the back up.
__________________

briggs&straton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2014, 01:17 PM   #3
Solid State Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 6
Default Re: Advice on Small Business Server with 4 Drives

Thank you,
I have a TS140 ThinkServer with a Xeon processor.

So should I partition Drive #1 (2TB drive)? A partition of 250GB for Windows Home Essentials 2012 R2 and the remainder of the partition for Data? Then leave the 3 other drives alone and do RAID 5? We have about 500GB of data now which could grow to 1TB in the next few years but probably not much more.

I would like to have nightly backups to a physical drive and also to the USB flash drive. Is this too much overkill? The reason why I want both is that the nightly backups on our old Windows Home Server setup allowed us to go back to any specific date in case we deleted a file or overwrote it, etc. I would like to have the nightly backups for referencing older version files when necessary.

Any advice is appreciated.
drocker21 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2014, 10:35 AM   #4
Site Team
 
root's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 8,004
Default Re: Advice on Small Business Server with 4 Drives

typically,

I'd suggest RAID 1 for two of the disks, and install windows on these disks.

(essentially this offers the best protection/performance of all the raid levels) -raid 5 on a system disk is not optimum, your controller will need to calculate parity for writes, on a system disk where the page file is that's going to have a pretty big performance impact.)

then the remaining drives, I'd setup with either RAID 5 (good protection and not as big of a space sacrifice) -but in your case you can't as there are only four disks. or with RAID 1 again as there are only 2 disks left.


or setup raid 1+0 array of all four disks.

basically, to keep it simple

disk 1+ disk 2 as a RAID 1 array, split into a 100GB system disk and everything left as data.
(100GB C disve and 1.9TB D drive!)

the remaining disks are a bit of an enigma...

you don't need to format them, you've got more space than you require now, and more space than your growth prediction requires.

you may decide to not protect these with RAID at all and just have copies of your data on these drives sorted by date to allow for your backups. (note that you should use this in order to provide fast restore solutions, not in place of a long term backup scenario) (e.g. tapes taken offsite).
__________________
I didn’t fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian…
Im sick of people saying 'dont waste paper'. If trees wanted to live, they'd all carry guns.
"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; The inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."
root is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2014, 07:45 PM   #5
In Runtime
 
briggs&straton's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: n/a
Posts: 283
Default Re: Advice on Small Business Server with 4 Drives

Roots raid 1+0 suggestion looks better in my opinion. I don't know why I didn't think about that

Partitioning a drive with an OS and using it as a shared folder will make the server slow because you would only be using one hard drive to do all operations. Which is a big bottle neck.

To do this raid 1+0 you will need to go into your raid config and do it that way which means it is a hardware raid.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N900A using Computer Forums mobile app
briggs&straton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2014, 08:23 PM   #6
Solid State Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 6
Default Re: Advice on Small Business Server with 4 Drives

Thanks for the advice!

I'm really open to any solution. I have a TS140 server.

For RAID 1+0, I still should format drive #1 and partition 100GB for C: (OS) and the rest for Data? I'm not sure if the TS140 server can do this in hardware?

Or is there a better solution? The nightly backups are definitely desirable still since we have daily versions we can refer back to. Doing this to one of the internal drives would be nice. I will have an external 1TB USB drive connected externally to store additional nightly backups.

Basically we've had instances where our old server was down (power supply failure, etc) and we could take the USB drive and get certain people running off their own laptops for the meantime.

We also have a system where the owner brings in an external backup drive every Wednesday and it goes offsite after the backup is done.

Thanks for your advice!
drocker21 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2014, 11:04 PM   #7
In Runtime
 
briggs&straton's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: n/a
Posts: 283
Default Re: Advice on Small Business Server with 4 Drives

You will not need to do any partitioning. You can if youd like to though orginization purposes im guessing. And if the server is not capable of doing the hardware raid then you won't be able to do it at all and you would have to revert to the previous solution. It seems like it is capable because of how many slots it has.

With the amount of slots you have which is only 4, you would not be able to do the back up internally with going raid. Just not enough slots.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N900A using Computer Forums mobile app
briggs&straton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2014, 01:37 AM   #8
Solid State Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 6
Default Re: Advice on Small Business Server with 4 Drives

Hi,

Thanks for the advice. I've looked into the TS140 ThinkServer and it does support RAID in the Bios, it does have option to do RAID 1+0

I'm considering two options but not sure what to go with.
Option 1:
---------
Partition drive #1 into three for organizational purposes. (C - 100GB for OS, (D - 0.8TB for Data, (E - 1.1TB for Nightly backups.

Then RAID 1+0 to use up all four disks. Right now all our Data takes up 480GB and it might grow to 700GB in the next few years but there is always possibility it could exceed that. I would use C: for the O/S, D: for our Data, and E: for our nightly backup versions. I would have an additional USB flash drive connected at all times for nightly backups as well. Once a week we would backup to a flash drive that lives offsite.

Option 2:
---------
Partition drive #1 into two. (C - 100GB for OS, (D - 1.9TB for Data.

RAID 1 with drive #1 and drive #2.

Drive #3 for nightly backups.
Drive #4 for weekly system restore points

..or maybe Raid 1 with drive #3 and #4 if I can fit both nightly backups and weekly system restore points on a single 2TB drive.


I would have an additional USB flash drive connected at all times for nightly backups as well. Once a week we would backup to a flash drive that lives offsite.


I'm having a hard time deciding. Any more advice? I like the second option because I have more hard drive capacity if the company grows and needs more data. Then again if the company grows that much, it shouldn't be a huge problem to buy four 4TB drives, but then I have to do all the work of installation of the O/S, etc..
drocker21 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2014, 07:03 PM   #9
Solid State Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 6
Default Re: Advice on Small Business Server with 4 Drives

I decided to return the four 2TB drives and just purchased four 4TB drives.Should I do RAID 5 at this point? I will partition drive #1 into three partitions. C: 200GB for O/S, D: 1.8 GB for DATA, E: 2 GB for Nightly backups and weekly restore points.

Does the above seem pretty reasonable? I am guessing I could change partition sizes easily later on as necessary. We currently have about 450GB of DATA and I will install Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 on the C:

Thanks!
drocker21 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2014, 08:16 PM   #10
In Runtime
 
briggs&straton's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: n/a
Posts: 283
Default Re: Advice on Small Business Server with 4 Drives

No if I were you I would do raid 1+0. And when you do this you will only see 1 partition because you have combined them. Although you should be able to partition just your OS then later on using server to partition the rest.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N900A using Computer Forums mobile app
__________________

briggs&straton is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:35 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0