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Small Office Server Setup Help

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by peterkonyak, Oct 19, 2011.

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  1. peterkonyak

    peterkonyak Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Messages:
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    Hi All,

    Recently, I have been appointed by my boss to set up a server and networking in my office. Here's the scenario for which I need your help. This is going to be long term project for me since we are on a limited funding.

    I already have 5 computers (4 dual core desktops and 1 core i7 with win 7) and I need to setup a server for mainly:
    1. Store lots of office files, videos
    2. Share internet (will also be installing a VSAT) ( and will NOT we be hosting our website on this server)
    3. Share printing
    4. Run a Human Resource Management database on the server


    So, what type of server setup do I need to do all these?


    I was thinking of linux OS since I use it but then would hamper the other staff's performance. Since ou r ofice desktops already have an operating system, I think it would be cost effective & secure to go for a linux server right? I was thinking I'd go with a ubuntu server edition LTS. Our country's e-governance policy also encourages the use of Open Source Software.
    I have experience in networking few desktops but never actually worked with a server, but I'm always enthusiastic about learning. Plus, I have learned all I know bout computers by trying and no formal training.

    All your help and tips would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. equinox55

    equinox55

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    Messages:
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    Hello and welcome to the site,

    Here are some questions that will help guide use in making a decision!

    - What is the overall budget for this project?
    - Do the employees all sit at the same pc every day or do they move around?
    - Do they have to log in with a user name and a password?
    - What version of windows 7 are the pcs running?
    - What type of printer do you have or want to get?
    - Are the files that are begin shared available to everyone that works there or only to certain people or groups of people?
    - The Human Resource Management database software that you want to run what specs does it require?
    - The VSAT software that you want to run what spec does it require?
    - In the next few years how many pcs do you see this company needing?
    - For sharing the internet do you want to do wireless or wired(running internet cord)?

    Thanks Davis
     
  3. peterkonyak

    peterkonyak Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Messages:
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    WOW, didn't expect such a quick reply!
    1. My budget is roughly $ 2000/- for the Server setup and does not include the VSAT as my boss will be handling the VSAT differently
    2. The employees all sit at the same PC everyday and don't move around
    3. The PCs will be password protected
    4. Three PC running Win 7 Home Premium and One PC running Win 7 Pro.
    5. We want something like HP LaserJet M2727 Multifunction Printer
    6. Files that are being shared will only be available to certain people
    7. Apache HTTP Server, MySQL 5.0, PHP 5.1.0 or later (orangeHRM http://www.orangehrm.com/open-source-product-features.shtml).
    8. I'm not dealing with the VSAT so I wouldn't know. The VSAT dealers are also yet to show up in the office.
    9. Well, there's already about 15 or so desktops in the office which we have no plans to network. My current setup will be in one room and separate from the others.
    10. I think we'll do a wired network...well, which perform faster?

    I was thinking of linux on the server side and to use open source apps to minimize cost.
     
  4. equinox55

    equinox55

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    OK thanks,

    You have two options one you can build a dedicate server and run linux on it(I hope you have a back ground in linux other wise you will find it hard) or two you can do a work group(where the 5 computers are all connected to each other).

    Here are some thoughts for a budget of $2000 you will be doing alot of this work. Windows 7 home premium does not have the ability to join a domain (you will have to upgrade them to pro or enterprise if you want a server). That is good that the employees sit at the same spots and use a password to log in (this will help if you do a workgroup instead of a server). The printer set up will be the easy part of this that is a good printer by the way. In a workgroup you can restrict what users can access the files(using share permissions) the same goes on a server. The orangeHRM does not need a dedicated server to run it. You can install it on a normal pc in a workgroup. Let me know what the VSAT dealer says. The network since it is limited to one room you could do wired or you could do a wireless set up with just a home based router (dlink wirless n)(kind of less secure) or if you wanted to do a wired you will need a switch(which is more money). The wireless setup you will need a router and either internal wireless cards or usb wireless sticks for each pc. The wired you will need at least a 5 port switch (not a hub) and network cabling. The cable can be bought or made depends on how large the room is(can you give the room dimensions and layout).

    Here is what I think you should do. One either set up a computer you already have or build one(cheaper then buying one + you get the parts you want I would go this way). Let use call that pc the master pc Then I would set everyone up in a workgroup since they stay at the same pc's everyday you will not have to worry about passwords getting messed(if they change there password on there pc it has to be changed on the master pc) and there is also only 5 pcs to work with so a server seems to be a little out of the scope) . The master pc will have a large harddrive (or 2 for backups will discuss later), all the files will be on it and the other computers will be able to see them and have access if there user name is in the share folder of that file. The orangeHRM can run on a normal pc you do not need a server so I would install it on the master pc. Have you seen this video http://www.orangehrm.com/installation-guide.shtml There are some good tips in it.

    I think if you went with a workgroup instead of server it will cost less and be easier to manage in this situation.

    Just a side note how is email handled?

    What do you think???

    Also may I ask where you are from?

    Davis
     
  5. peterkonyak

    peterkonyak Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    we have had this discussion before and our boss wants a server because there are other satellite offices and we want our server to store all documents centrally because it is much needed. We want to start small and slowly expand according to experience and how well the staff keep up. If we don;'t utilize all this fund which we already have, we will forfeit the remaining. Few years back, another division already went ahead all out with networking all the PCs in their office with a dedicated server and now it lies in ruins cause non of the staff were trained and there was only one knowledgeable person handling it which he couldn't bear all the load. Our division doesn't want a repeat of that

    Because of the fund crunch, I was opting for a linux server, plus the desktops already have OS in them with software like Adobe CS, pagemaker, Pinnacle studio etc which we require for publishing works. We will be dealing a lot with maps too and sharing that and that's why we need a dedicated server.

    All these won't happen at one go, but will slowly integrate as more funds start arriving.
    As of now, I want my server to store files, Share files and access it via ftp or something like that, and run HRM database, share print & internet. For all these, I was opting for Ubuntu Server LTS as I also use the desktop version on my laptop.
    By the way, I'm based in rural India.
     
  6. equinox55

    equinox55

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    Ok that sounds good are you going to buy a server or build it?
     
  7. peterkonyak

    peterkonyak Thread Starter

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    I will be building it so I need some tips about the processor and how many hard drives I should most probably and configured to. Would a raid setup do for all that which I wanted to do?
     
  8. equinox55

    equinox55

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    Well can we break the budget down to $1500 on the server and $500 roughly on networking equipment? Also do you need just the server or will you need like keyboard mouse monitor etc?
     
  9. peterkonyak

    peterkonyak Thread Starter

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    Well, the $2000 is completely for the server, mouse, kboard and monitor but not the networking tools.
     
  10. equinox55

    equinox55

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    Ok that sounds good,

    Have you build a pc before? Also do you want an intel or amd build. Also is there anything that you know the serve must have for parts. Raid cards, separate nic's, dvd drives etc
     
  11. jiml8

    jiml8 Guest

    Joined:
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    Given the central role of this server, I would suggest a SCSI RAID 1 setup. This isn't as expensive as it used to be but from a performance (and recoverability) standpoint, SCSI RAID will greatly outperform SATA RAID. Even though it isn't as expensive as it used to be it will still run something like $500 - $700 for parallel SCSI 320 MB/sec and more than that if you go for the more modern serial attached SCSI (SAS). Nonetheless, the role of this device is critical, and SCSI hard drives are the best for the application.

    You won't need a lot of processor capability, regardless of the choice you make. You'll probably get more bang for the buck with AMD processors. You could get a quad-core Phenom-II processor and matching motherboard for around $200.

    You could stay well within your budget building a server system around these suggestions, and what you would have would then be robust and long-lived.

    Linux for the operating system is a good choice. There is no trouble setting up a workgroup using SAMBA on Linux. I agree that you'll want a workgroup and not a domain.
     
  12. peterkonyak

    peterkonyak Thread Starter

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    Messages:
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    that is a good suggestion Jim...could you suggest both a Intel based and AMD based setup and the number of HDD I need? Just like most people do windows, vendors don't really have a variety of AMD in my place and usually deal Intel.

    I will be away for two weeks starting today and won't be able to check the forum till then, so please don't mind my absence, but when I return, I will definitely check the forum again and will be needing your help till my setup is complete and running. Later on, we will deal will security as well.

    Thank you both for your time and your helping hand. I really appreciate it.
    Till then!
     
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