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Upgrading server - storage, performance

By jonathanv_00 ·
The server in one a remote office needs upgrading, mainly expanded storage. Its current configuration is as follows:

NT4.0/SP4, PDC
8.4 GB IDE HD (2GB system partition, 6.4GB data)
PII-350
128MB PC-100 RAM
8GB Seagate Hornet Internal SCSI tape drive

That office has been filling its HD regularly for the last few months; they do lots of big databases (500 MB, that's big for us). The server is just a file-and-print server -- no applications or number-crunching on its own. This was the first server I purchased for the company, many (2) years ago.

Goals are (1) extra storage; (2) redundancy/reliability; (3) better performance; and . . . . (4) future-proofing, perhaps (just threw that in). Would like to keep costs as low as possible, of course, but make a balanced decision.

I laid out my plan at another support forum and got some comments on it, but here I just want to ask for recommendations. Please keep in mind we're a small company (8 people in that office, 30 in four offices all told); the server is not mission-critical as in 24/7, 99.9999% ad infinitum reliability. Going down is never good, of course. Thanks in advance.

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Upgrading server - storage, performance

by Computechie In reply to Upgrading server - storag ...

If this were a job that was laid on me, I'd do the following. First, to expand your storage space adding another hard drive is the simplest way, and move all your user files to it. Since you have a SCSI tape backup, I assume you have the ability to add SCSI hard drives. These would increase performance and are much more reliable than IDE drives, but cost more. To increase reliability and performance, SCSI drives will help, upgrading to SP6, and adding more RAM is a great way to start. 128MB is probably enough for 8 users, but with he prices so cheap, 256 or 384 megs of RAM will increase performance quite a bit. So in all, adding a hard drive that is big enough for your users to toss all their stuff on (I'd go 18GB or more) add 128MB or more of RAM, and upgrading to SP6 will give you the storage, redundancy and performance your looking for. Hope this helps you out.

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Upgrading server - storage, performance

by Shanghai Sam In reply to Upgrading server - storag ...

Thanks for the good advice. Now that I've heard your thoughts, here's what I was planning: Install 2 18-gig SCSI HDs, and mirror them using NT's software. Many people seem not to like the NT mirroring solution, however. I'm going to add 128 MB of RAM, too. But the big stumbling block is the need to add a new tape drive and $400 worth of tapes to handle the new drives. All of a sudden we're upwards of $1500 or so.

Also, does SP6 give better performance? I'm of the "leave well enough alone" school . . .

I wish I could split points here, but I can't, so look for a 100-point consolation prize question with your name on it, Computechie.

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Upgrading server - storage, performance

by tony.colgrove In reply to Upgrading server - storag ...

I agree with Answer 1, but will address the one thing he missed. Redundancy.
In the theme of keeping costs low, purchase a Promise FastTrak 100 IDE Raid Controller. You can find them for $90 or less. Get 2 new identical sized drives and adding to the controller in a mirror config. Lose one drive, and not to worry the other drive has the exact same information. If you want to juice the performance a little more, get 4 drives and configure the RAID 0+1. You will gain the speed of striping (RAID 0), with the redunancy of mirroring (RAID 1).
Cost:
1 Promise FastTrak- $90
2 IBM 30GB 7200RPM IDE ATA100- 2x$130
Total cost to add fault toleranant 30GB of storage $350.
Make it 60GB for $610

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Upgrading server - storage, performance

by Shanghai Sam In reply to Upgrading server - storag ...

Ditto. My big question is the performance difference between IDE and SCSI. I actually have mirrored drives in my other two servers, so I want to do the same for this office. Before this, I was unfamiliar with the hardware RAID solutions, however, so I'm going to look into that. Thanks very much.

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Upgrading server - storage, performance

by jonathanv_00 In reply to Upgrading server - storag ...

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