Small Server - Advice Needed

RedViking

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Hi guys,

I have no experience with putting together a small server and what to look at etc.

I would like to build a small straight forward affordable server that I will access locally via LAN and also remotely (FTP?). I also might want to have the option for other Freelancers (Philippines, New Zealand etc.) to be able to access certain folders on the server. Most of the PC's use Windows 10.

What CPU, RAM, HDD (RAID?) or SSD, software? I really have no idea where to start and what to look for. I am not sure what my budget should be (10K? 15K?).

I will move all my Office Files to the server and access it from there. The other computers will also be able to access the files from the serves instead of my PC.


Let me know what other information you need.


Thanks so much!

IMG_OPC_20180605_152006img.jpg
 
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The_Librarian

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What do you want to use the server for?

Storage? File sharing?
 

Messugga

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Hi guys,

I have no experience with putting together a small server and what to look at etc.

I would like to build a small straight forward affordable server that I will access locally via LAN and also remotely (FTP?). I also might want to have the option for other Freelancers (Philippines, New Zealand etc.) to be able to access certain folders on the server. Most of the PC's use Windows 10.

What CPU, RAM, HDD (RAID?) or SSD, software? I really have no idea where to start and what to look for. I am not sure what my budget should be (10K? 15K?).

Let me know what other information you need.

Thanks so much!
Depending on what your intended usage is, I'd query whether you should be purchasing a server in the first place. Something like a dedicated server in a data center may make more sense.
 

RedViking

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What do you want to use the server for?

Storage? File sharing?
Depending on what your intended usage is, I'd query whether you should be purchasing a server in the first place. Something like a dedicated server in a data center may make more sense.
I will move all my Office Files to the server and access it from there. The other computers will also be able to access the files from the serves instead of my PC.
 

The_Librarian

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Offhand I would say a good motherboard with i7 CPU, 32Gb RAM.

Your choice of OS then. And, obviously you'll need a good firewall as well. Any old PC (i3 with 1Gb RAM) and Smoothwall or pfSense will do nicely.

Then the motherboard need to have onboard support for RAID1. Get three 4Tb HDD's and mirror them.

Use the third as external HDD for offsite backups.
 

Messugga

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I will move all my Office Files to the server and access it from there. The other computers will also be able to access the files from the serves instead of my PC.
What sort of size are we talking for your Office files?

Do you need to worry about security? Depending on what you're hosting on the server, you may need to think about security.

If it's just hosting on something like FTP, then hell, you can get something like a Synology or QNAP NAS and simply activate its (suitable models apply) FTP functionality.
 

The_Librarian

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If it's just hosting on something like FTP, then hell, you can get something like a Synology or QNAP NAS and simply activate its (suitable models apply) FTP functionality.
That would work just as well.

The reason for my choice was that the OP would then be able to do simple file/printer services, and also be able to backup to an external HDD from the server itself, without the need of data having to traverse the network when doing a backup.

Also, spares sourced for a PC may be cheaper (eg power supply etc).

The only schlepp would be to replace a failed HDD - identify and remove the correct (dead) HDD, whereas in a NAS it will have a status LED showing which HDD has gone to pasture.
 
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Messugga

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That would work just as well.

The reason for my choice was that the OP would then be able to do simple file/printer services, and also be able to backup to an external HDD from the server itself, without the need of data having to traverse the network when doing a backup.

Also, spares sourced for a PC may be cheaper (eg power supply etc).

The only schlepp would be to replace a failed HDD - identify and remove the correct (dead) HDD, whereas in a NAS it will have a status LED showing which HDD has gone to pasture.
Personally, I'm of the opinion that people shouldn't be sitting with home servers for business use, without some form of backup. You can get a Digital Ocean droplet or similar for pretty cheap. It'll have proper storage with appropriate redundancies so that you don't have to worry about things like hardware failures, its internet connection will be better than virtually anything you can get at home and at least some of the security gets handled for you by the data center you're sitting in.
 

The_Librarian

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Personally, I'm of the opinion that people shouldn't be sitting with home servers for business use, without some form of backup. You can get a Digital Ocean droplet or similar for pretty cheap. It'll have proper storage with appropriate redundancies so that you don't have to worry about things like hardware failures, its internet connection will be better than virtually anything you can get at home and at least some of the security gets handled for you by the data center you're sitting in.
That as well. Then when the WWW does a wobbly, the DC will have to do the gruntwork and scream at Telkom/NeeTel/SeaCom/Vodacom etc until things are fixed. :D

The OP now have plenty of choices to make :

1. Whitebox homegrown server
2. QNAP NAS (or any suitable proper NAS, not just a cheap IoT thing that passes off as a NAS ;)
3. Data center server (recommended).
 

RedViking

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Thanks for the advice so far [MENTION=388833]The_Librarian[/MENTION] and [MENTION=38564]Messugga[/MENTION]. I am still a bit lost at exactly how to implement the different options and software. But I will do some extra research and come back again. It doesn't look too complicated. I would like to have a local or dedicated server because internet is unreliable and damn slow some times (ADSL), especially upload speeds. What I'll maybe do is have a local server (RAID+Backup) and then sync it to an online server in case the system fails.

So budget wise, 10-15K should be enough to start with?
 

WAslayer

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As the other clever guys have mentioned here, go with a data center server.. You will have decent network speeds for grabbing files from the server but, more importantly especially if you are on ADSL, the guys from New Zealand and Philippines etc, won't be stuck trying to grab files off the server at 100KB/s if you have have a 10meg line..
 

The_Librarian

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Thanks for the advice so far [MENTION=388833]The_Librarian[/MENTION] and [MENTION=38564]Messugga[/MENTION]. I am still a bit lost at exactly how to implement the different options and software. But I will do some extra research and come back again. It doesn't look too complicated. I would like to have a local or dedicated server because internet is unreliable and damn slow some times (ADSL), especially upload speeds. What I'll maybe do is have a local server (RAID+Backup) and then sync it to an online server in case the system fails.

So budget wise, 10-15K should be enough to start with?
10 to 15k? Possible... Another option would be...

Hetzner got a couple of self-managed dedicated server options - you can add extras to whichever package you choose.

hetzner-servers.png

https://hetzner.co.za/dedicated-servers/

Add to that some cloud storage at another hosting facility (strongly suggested to use a separate facility eg Azure/AWS), and you're all set (except for the monthly payments...)

edited to add : avoid 12/24/36 month contracts... ;)
 
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RedViking

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As the other clever guys have mentioned here, go with a data center server.. You will have decent network speeds for grabbing files from the server but, more importantly especially if you are on ADSL, the guys from New Zealand and Philippines etc, won't be stuck trying to grab files off the server at 100KB/s if you have have a 10meg line..
It will be a problem for me though. So I will do a local one and sync it then with a data server. So they can grab/upload files to the server then.
 
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RedViking

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10 to 15k? Possible... Another option would be...

Hetzner got a couple of self-managed dedicated server options - you can add extras to whichever package you choose.

View attachment 526599

https://hetzner.co.za/dedicated-servers/

Add to that some cloud storage at another hosting facility (strongly suggested to use a separate facility eg Azure/AWS), and you're all set (except for the monthly payments...)

edited to add : avoid 12/24/36 month contracts... ;)
Thanks. 1TB should be more than enough to start with.
 

Crowley

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If you don't want to go the cloud route you can get a new Dell T30 with a 3 year NBD warranty, 3 x 1Tb HDD's in RIAD, 8Gb RAM and Windows Server 2012 for under 20K
 

SauRoNZA

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HP Microserver Gen8 + UnRAID + External Backup

The mistake many small office setups make when buying their first proper server is that they don't have a dedicated space and rack for it and are then irritated or rather surprised by the excessive noise.

Small Business Server like the Microserver is perfect for that kind of situation. But most other proper NAS options that offer some plugins would also be just fine.
 
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KhoisanX

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Sounds like a decent NAS like a Synology will be able to do everything you want.

Another option might be Office 365 with Sharepoint along with a better Internet connection.
 

HeftyCrab

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Is there a specific reason you want to even use a server, if its just for files? Why not use paid for storage where you can share specific files? (E.g. Office 365 has 1tb one drive storage per user.) No server hassles, and most have versioning built in.
 

ponder

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I would like to have a local or dedicated server because internet is unreliable and damn slow some times (ADSL), especially upload speeds. What I'll maybe do is have a local server (RAID+Backup) and then sync it to an online server in case the system fails.
If your internet is that bad and you want other people to access it rather just use a hosting service. If you want something local just get a cheapass freenas box you rsync to a hosting service.
 
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