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Mindovermaster
3 minutes ago, DevTech said:

Oh, no no no...

Oh, you made it sound bad... my mistake ;)

 

4 minutes ago, DevTech said:

8. For BONUS SERVER POINTS locate some REALLY LOUD SCREAMING FANS and place everywhere!

WHAT? Can't hear ya! 🤣

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sc302
11 minutes ago, DevTech said:

 

Oh, no no no...

 

One of the options the OP is considering is building his own "pocket rocket"

 

So far while poking around in Dell's server site I have not found anything as nice as this SuperMicro mobo...

 

So,

 

1. This mobo

2. Any LGA 3647 CPU and a bit above the bottom end of that crowd enables 6 Way RAM

3. Either dual channel RAM or 6 channel RAM, the board takes either type. i.e use the black sockets OR the blue sockets.

4. Plug in TWO Samsung 970 Pro 4 TB NVMe drives into the mobo

5. Attach a server style PSU (Zippy brand is possibly the best)

6. screw onto a piece of plywood for a talking piece in your corporate entrance since you need ZERO drives or anything else or stuff in some boring server style case

7. DONE!

 

8. For BONUS SERVER POINTS locate some REALLY LOUD SCREAMING FANS and place everywhere!

 

That mobo Seems more precision workstation, less server.  Take a look at those.  

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DevTech
2 hours ago, sc302 said:

That mobo Seems more precision workstation, less server.  Take a look at those.  

SuperMicro is calling their boards Server/Workstation

 

Intel has the Xeon W CPU as their "Workstation" CPU in Socket LGA 2066 and SuperMicro covers that with:

 

https://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/Xeon/C420/X11SRA-RF.cfm

 

You can see the slots you would plug a GPU into spaced out for double-width cards - i.e. it's a workstation mobo.

 

workstation-2066.thumb.jpg.9aad20d8f1c92d8c1892a3e7458d5159.jpg

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sc302

What I am saying, is instead of looking at dell servers, look at precision workstation towers. You will probably find what you are looking for there. 

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DevTech
3 hours ago, sc302 said:

What I am saying, is instead of looking at dell servers, look at precision workstation towers. You will probably find what you are looking for there. 

I was looking into @Bryan R.proposal that @patseguinbuild his own server using components from SuperMicro

 

@Fahim S.proposed an Intel NUC so I guess that your idea of a Dell Precision would round out the variety of things that could exceed the processing power of a 2008 server quite nicely.

 

Actually I don't think the subject of Form Factor ever came up Rack Mount vs Desktop vs Tower, so in the power range that he needs, I guess a Dell Precision would be super-powered as well. But it usually comes with an expensive GPU so I can't quite see how it would help other than I have always liked Dell Precisions and they would function quite fine as a server, but a bit over priced perhaps.

 

If you are interested I also noticed while looking into @Bryan R.idea of a SuperMicro that they have a line of Workstations similar in concept to a Dell Precision:

 

https://www.supermicro.com/products/nfo/superworkstation.cfm

 

And similarly they have a line of standard servers:

 

https://www.supermicro.com/products/system/

 

And a line of Enterprise Serivers:

 

https://www.supermicro.com/products/nfo/Ultra.cfm

 

And a line of Build Your Own Cloud servers with high density modules:

 

https://www.supermicro.com/products/nfo/Twin.cfm

 

So even with the SuperMicro idea, it can start with an already built or partially built server box instead of just a motherboard...

 

 

------------------------------------

 

On a side note, per a previous discussion, I have concluded that current low numbers of server mobos with 2 or more M.2 on board is a chipset limitation of PCIe lane availability which will improve as more mobos roll out with the Intel C627 and later chipsets of the "scalable" Xeon line.

 

So check for C627+ on the server to know if you are getting their old "sitting idle in the warehouse" junk being proposed to you or not!

 

 

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patseguin

Thanks to everyone. You ALL have put out awesome suggestions. I particularly appreciate the amount of time @DevTechhas devoted to this.

 

I lost track of who it was, but someone in this thread suggested I get a Dell NUC with Windows 10 and connect a NAS. That actually may not be a bad idea for my business. The only real difference is that I wouldn't have a domain anymore, so all workstations would just log on to their own local accounts and then just access files on the NUC via shared folders? I assume FIleMaker Server doesn't actually have to run on a server OS, so computers can still connect to that database by IP address and not necessarily need to be on a domain?

 

While I'm perfectly willing to shell out $7,600 for a server, if I can accomplish what I need cheaper and EASIER, why not do it?

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patseguin
16 hours ago, Fahim S. said:

with the very greatest respect, you could probably run your business on an i7 Intel NUC, 32GB RAM, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit, with a 128GB system NVMe SSD, and a 1TB SATA SSD for storage.

Pair that with a decent 4 bay Synology NAS stuffed with 4TB discs, and a subscription to a reasonable cloud backup solution (choose your poison).

 

I haven't priced it up, but I think that is about $2K?

Seriously... based on what I have read, you genuinely don't need more.

 

Buy a second NUC, and put it into a cupboard so you can restore onto it should the hardware in the first one fail - or not, you can practically get the parts for a new computer delivered on Amazon Prime in a day or so.  The question, is how badly will your business suffer if you lose your software (not the data) for a day?

Thank you, I was kind of getting at trying to figure out if I was spending way more money on a setup that is way more complicated than I need.

 

Right now, we have a domain setup, so all workstations connect to the server. They access shared folders which is easy, but the main things are the Shopworks Filemaker Server based database and the SQL Express database. Those don't need a server OS in order for workstations to connect? Just connect by IP address?

 

Am I really losing anything worthwhile (for my business) by NOT running a Windows Server OS?

 

EDIT: Another thought...Yes, my current server is pretty outdated. Why not leave it in place to keep serving as a domain controller and then add the NUC with Win 10 as a 2nd "server" running the databases that I need?

 

EDIT again: A local guy had this to say: I guess a lot depends on how valuable your data is and whether or not you plan on growing your business over the life of the server. Servers are built and designed to run 24x7x365. And with a RAID you have redundancy. I would never consider putting my company data on a stand-alone PC, let alone a NUC. Nor would I recommend that to a client. You can’t rotate multiple external hard drives for backup on a Windows 10 computer. That can only be done with a server OS.

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sc302

The only thing you would be losing is ease of use if you get rid of the windows ad server.  It is a larger pain to setup sharing with windows 10 due to the security.  If you have a nas it is better but what are you running sql on?   You won’t know until you try, but even dropping security down on a computer to allow anonymous connection just to print to a share between computers ended up with me saying f it and get a network printer because windows is overly secure with their file and print sharing for everyone. 

 

Again I am on the line of get whatever server you have the budget for and stop wasting time nickel and diming, this is a business not a home lab. 

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DevTech
29 minutes ago, patseguin said:

EDIT again: A local guy had this to say: I guess a lot depends on how valuable your data is and whether or not you plan on growing your business over the life of the server. Servers are built and designed to run 24x7x365. And with a RAID you have redundancy. I would never consider putting my company data on a stand-alone PC, let alone a NUC. Nor would I recommend that to a client. You can’t rotate multiple external hard drives for backup on a Windows 10 computer. That can only be done with a server OS.

Logically, you have to know that guy is missing some gears upstairs. You can of course get any king of backup software on any O/S to set up rotating backups or backups that join a knitting club!

 

And RAID is NEVER part of backup. A proper backup strategy is a whole different discussion.

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DevTech
44 minutes ago, patseguin said:

While I'm perfectly willing to shell out $7,600 for a server, if I can accomplish what I need cheaper and EASIER, why not do it?

How about just accomplish what you need much prettier? You own the business, you can be creative...

 

Take my "SuperMicro on Plywood" idea. First paint the plywood with your company colors and logo, or cover the plywood in fabric with embroidery!

 

Then mount it on the wall behind your receptionist and shine a spot light on it or light it up with LED strips. Then paint some CAT-6 with neon paint like it is embroidery thread and run it from the server  across the wall like a PCB pattern to the rest of your business.

 

You get:

 

1. The actual best server hardware config anyone has mentioned in this thread so far with blazing fast storage drives!

 

2. The best embroidery statement anyone has mentioned in this thread so far!

 

WIN-WIN

 

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DevTech
57 minutes ago, patseguin said:

backup

Although I stated that backup is a whole different discussion, one thing is obvious for the size of you business.

 

Get a Backblaze.com account for $7/month for that DB computer, and you are covered for the online/off-site part of a backup strategy. As a family business there is an argument for that being your own computer and therefore the cheap personal account.

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patseguin
49 minutes ago, DevTech said:

Although I stated that backup is a whole different discussion, one thing is obvious for the size of you business.

 

Get a Backblaze.com account for $7/month for that DB computer, and you are covered for the online/off-site part of a backup strategy. As a family business there is an argument for that being your own computer and therefore the cheap personal account.

As far as online backup goes, I've often wondered about that. Our Shopworks data alone is a little over 2.6GB. Is it really feasible to upload that amount of data to an online backup service? I imagine it would take like 6-8 hours to upload those files alone.

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sc302

Yes. Initial is rough but then incremental are much easier. They deduplicate, only copying delta changes, not the entire file/db.  Only updating minor changes/additions.  Saves space and time this way.    I don’t think you are doing 2.7 gb of changes to that db daily or hourly with the amount of users you have.  

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dead.cell
1 hour ago, patseguin said:

As far as online backup goes, I've often wondered about that. Our Shopworks data alone is a little over 2.6GB. Is it really feasible to upload that amount of data to an online backup service? I imagine it would take like 6-8 hours to upload those files alone.

Jeez, what's your internet connectivity looking like? Or did you mean TB...?  I store more than that just on my personal OneDrive. :p

 

Just wanted to say thanks as a lurker of this thread, really interesting seeing you guys debate back and forth and giving reasons why you went this way or that. I personally liked Fusion's idea for some cheap refurbs, going to look at doing something like that for our environment as a lab.

 

Regarding domain controllers though, I don't think you'd need one for 5 people, but if you go that route, maybe set it up as a lean VM. This way you don't have to worry about the server trying to manage too many things at once and if you have any real problems, it's easy to destroy/rebuild where you don't have to worry about files residing on the same box. Just a thought though, coming from someone who's had DCs doing way too much before.

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+Fahim S.

@patseguin Sorry if I missed it but what version of FileMaker Server are you using?

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sc302
1 hour ago, dead.cell said:

 

Regarding domain controllers though, I don't think you'd need one for 5 people, but if you go that route, maybe set it up as a lean VM. This way you don't have to worry about the server trying to manage too many things at once and if you have any real problems, it's easy to destroy/rebuild where you don't have to worry about files residing on the same box. Just a thought though, coming from someone who's had DCs doing way too much before.

If you have 2 people that share files and collaborate, a domain controller is recommended.  So much easier to set up file shares, so much easier to manage passwords, so much easier to set defaults, so much easier to manage as a whole.  If you don't think you need one, you never really tried to setup a network before utilizing both ways.  Just an example is sharing, sharing in a workgroup is similar to getting a rocket into space utilizing a soup can and water due to all of the security hoops in place...sharing in a domain is literally point and click, domain computers are trusted and security is lessened.

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+Fahim S.
2 minutes ago, sc302 said:

If you have 2 people that share files and collaborate, a domain controller is recommended.  So much easier to set up file shares, so much easier to manage passwords, so much easier to set defaults, so much easier to manage as a whole.  If you don't think you need one, you never really tried to setup a network before utilizing both ways.  Just an example is sharing, sharing in a workgroup is similar to getting a rocket into space utilizing a soup can and water...sharing in a domain is literally point and click.

I suppose when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

 

Setting up a domain is a PITA, and really not needed for 2 users (or 5). If you like AD, then fair enough - but it is an overhead to manage.  Especially if you are not a Microsoft specialist with the requisite training.

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DaveLegg
11 minutes ago, Fahim S. said:

I suppose when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

 

Setting up a domain is a PITA, and really not needed for 2 users (or 5). If you like AD, then fair enough - but it is an overhead to manage.  Especially if you are not a Microsoft specialist with the requisite training.

Windows Server Essentials makes it very easy to deploy and manage - great for small businesses where they may not have that much IT ability in-house

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sc302
47 minutes ago, Fahim S. said:

I suppose when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

 

Setting up a domain is a PITA, and really not needed for 2 users (or 5). If you like AD, then fair enough - but it is an overhead to manage.  Especially if you are not a Microsoft specialist with the requisite training.

I have done both, and setting up a domain takes all of 10 minutes.  Adding a computer is under 5 minutes each.  Sharing a usb printer, an hour into it and I still can't share it/connect to it in a workgroup setting.  The sharing part is easy in a workgroup, it is the connecting part/getting through the security to allow a connection that is the hard part and researching/figuring out what microsoft has changed to undo.  I will take 10-15 minutes with AD to win, Bob.

 

It takes far longer update a new computer than it is to setup an AD domain from scratch....that includes unboxing the server and turning it on.  The difference is, you have to wait for something automatic vs telling the server what you want to do.

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+Fahim S.
4 minutes ago, sc302 said:

I have done both, and setting up a domain takes all of 10 minutes.  Adding a computer is under 5 minutes each.  Sharing a usb printer, an hour into it and I still can't share it/connect to it in a workgroup setting.  The sharing part is easy in a workgroup, it is the connecting part/getting through the security to allow a connection that is the hard part and researching/figuring out what microsoft has changed to undo.  I will take 10-15 minutes with AD to win, Bob.

 

It takes far longer to setup a router than it is to setup an AD domain from scratch....that includes unboxing the server and turning it on.

Yes.. it takes 10 minutes for someone who has done it before.  For those that haven't it takes a fair amount of reading because AD is a complex animal and actually very easy to get wrong.  I am not going to say "I've done both" as my proof because I don't think it helps.  I believe that you have done both and find the AD route easier - I found it to be more difficult.

 

My home network doesn't have a domain, has more than 5 users, a shared printer, shared storage and a bunch of other stuff too (now even a guest WiFi network) - nobody ever has a problem accessing anything - and it doesn't take more than a few minutes to add someone/something new.  It has clients that are Windows, MacOS, ChromeOS, iOS and Android.  It's really not that hard to implement. 

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sc302

Just takes doing it once or twice or in my case 2-3 times a week from 2002-2008. 

 

Windows 10 usb printer shared out. Couldn’t get another windows 10 computer to connect much less print. Gave up at the 60 minute mark...it is much more cost effective to get a network printer than try to share out that old usb printer for people to directly print to it, plus explaining that they have to keep the computer on so that other devices can print would go over like a fart in church.  

 

Having a domain controller would have easily allowed me to setup printing by simply sharing out the printer.  Not much reading necessary, just go into the server manager and choose to setup the domain.  If you can read screens you can successfully set it up.  The complicated part is when you click next without reading....if only I could get people to read.  Setting up other options is a bit more difficult, best practices sure more difficult yet....setting up a domain, read the screens.

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patseguin

OK since all of you have a pretty good idea of my business's needs, let me ask this. How important for my needs is RAID? I've never had a hard drive go bad in any of the servers I've ever owned. Could I maybe do a configuration of 2x 2TB or 4TB SAS hard drives in RAID 1 (or is it RAID 0?) so I have a single mirrored drive and then just make sure I back up daily?

 

I'm working on trying out a Lenovo build but it's so difficult in the storage configuration section.

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sc302

If you lose a drive, this isn’t uncommon, are you willing to lose everything up until your last successful backup.  

 

Are you willing to wait until you fully bring the system back up then restore info to to start working. 

 

Raid is there incase there is a drive failure so you don’t lose hours of productivity or hours of work. Raid 6 is the recommended raid level. Out of my many servers and sans I work with daily I would say about 1/3 has experienced at least 1 drive failure, some multiple. 

 

Are you willing to gamble with a 33% chance that your system may experience a drive failure causing loss of business?  Is it worth that extra 500-800 to have a contingency to keep your system up if one does fail?  If you aren’t up for a week, what is your potential loss of work, how far does that push back projects esp if you had a backup failure the night before and lost all of yesterday’s work due to the drive failing 1 minute before the backup takes place?

 

only you can answer if you are willing to gamble that, if it were me I would spend the extra...no small business I have ever done work for could sustain that type of loss. 

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DevTech
1 hour ago, patseguin said:

OK since all of you have a pretty good idea of my business's needs, let me ask this. How important for my needs is RAID? I've never had a hard drive go bad in any of the servers I've ever owned. Could I maybe do a configuration of 2x 2TB or 4TB SAS hard drives in RAID 1 (or is it RAID 0?) so I have a single mirrored drive and then just make sure I back up daily?

 

I'm working on trying out a Lenovo build but it's so difficult in the storage configuration section.

You are on the "small" side of "small business"

 

RAID-0 - NEVER

RAID-1 - probably ok, but make sure you know what to do with it

RAID-anything else you won't bother to learn it and it will be a pain, just avoid it

 

no RAID at all might also work if you store a spare hard drive in the case or nearby shelf and do Backblaze.com or equivilent more often than once a day which is the way these services work.

 

If drive fails, you slap in spare and restore, maybe an hour of downtime 

 

BUT really, over and over I suggest a Samsung 970 Pro 4 TB - so so unlikely to fail anyways... spare it or RAID-1 it...

 

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sc302

On raid whatever there is nothing to learn. On a good Raid card it auto rebuilds when you put in a new drive.  You would probably want to verify rebuild and may want to get support involved to help verify this but that is why you have support in a big box system.  If building yourself to keep cost down, you want to learn about what you are doing it may not do anything automatically. Even Raid 1 can be a chore due to lack of automatic capabilities (knowing to swap drives when drive 0 fails due to lack of automatic fail over, knowing to rebuild due to lack of automatic rebuild....that kind of stuff that I have had to do with crappy low budget/no budget “servers”)

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