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Old 06-17-2004, 08:03 PM   #1
pembo13
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Please advise on hardware for server


Hello to all,

I have a project I'm considering. And I would like to learn as much as possible in the process. So i'd like to begin by drawing on the experiences of others.

Basically the project is to design and implement a database system for a small high school, including past and present student information, and teacher details, facilitating instantaneous updating and display of records over a network.

The servers would be multifunction as it would have to be an 'inexpensive' setup. The primary use would be as a database/email/file/webserver, but optionally it may also have to do routing/proxing/dhcp.

What I really would like from this thread is advice on the hardware to use; recommended: MB, HDD, CPU, etc.

Please advise
 
Old 06-17-2004, 08:37 PM   #2
MS3FGX
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Well, we need more information to really give you any advice.

For instance, how will the database be accessed? Are you looking for some kind of web based system, or do you simply want the server to hold a read only copy of the database that clients can access and search with something like Microsoft Access (I assume we are talking about Windows clients). Obviously some users would have write access to the database as well.

This would not require a powerful system. Neither will running a web server (unless you think there is going to be a lot of people accessing the site).

The email shouldn't take too much resources either. You are going to want to have a pretty good amount of RAM and hard drive space, but nothing too crazy.

And routing and DHCP could run on a toaster, so there is no concern there.

My personal suggestion, assuming my assumptions on how the machine will be used are correct, could be put together pretty cheaply.

I would go for a Pentium 4 at around 1 - 1.5 GHz. You probably wouldn't even need that, but you can't even buy anything slower than that anymore (not new anyway). A minimum of 256MB of RAM (512 would be great).

For the hard drive, I would use 2 drives. One would be for the OS, and the other would be your file storage drive. I would put the file storage drive in a removable drive bay as well, since this will allow you to easily swap it out for a larger drive if you need more space later.

For their size, 20GB would be fine for the OS drive. To be honest, if you could get something in the area of 6 - 10GB, it would be even better. Nearly any distro can be installed in as little as 2GB (and for a server, usually under 1GB), and since you would have the second drive for file storage, anything too big for the OS drive would just be wasted space. The size of your file storage drive really depends on what is going to be stored there. If we are talking about text files and a database, another 20GB may work fine. If there is going to be media involved, I would get a bigger drive. Perhaps 80GB.

And lastly, I would get a 20/40 GB Travan tape drive. You should use this to make daily backups of the file storage drive, and at the very least your "/etc" directory on the OS drive. I would also backup your website to the tape.

All in all, you could probably use most of the parts from a desktop computer that has recently been replaced. All you would really need to buy would be the hard drives, the removable drive rack, the tape drive, and the tapes. You could get all of that for under $600.

And unless I have missed my guess, that should be more than enough for your use. I am running a server for 130 client machines that is a AMD K6 333MHz machine, and my CPU usage rarely goes over 15% (usually is is in the single digits). It is really all about how you set it up.
 
Old 06-17-2004, 11:38 PM   #3
pembo13
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You pretty much have the idea. It's goign to basically be a web application server within the intranet which will colllect/manage typical school data on a daily basis.

I aggree with your basic suggestions. I'd like the machine to be able to continue to funtion in the event of harddrive failure. Considering the sensitivty of the data, data loss would not be allowed.

And a UPS would be a must.

Also, how could a RAID 1 or RAID 2 solution fit into all this?

Please tell me if i'm wrong about anything or if i'm missing something.

Last edited by pembo13; 06-17-2004 at 11:46 PM.
 
  


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