We have a machine running consumer hardware at the moment as our fileserver, and of course its RAIDs keep dying. So we've been given permission to get a replacement that's less likely to die.
The problem is, I don't know enough to know what I'm looking for. We have four or five people in the office itself, who make regular use of the files via Windows Networking. We also have another fifteen or so remote users, who connect to the office via OpenVPN and will need access to the files on the machine.
- Drives probably have to be pairs of RAID 1. The current machine has a pair of fast 320GB drives for OS/applications, and then a second pair of drives, in a separate RAID 1 configuration, of 1TB for data. We don't have to keep to this, but it seems like a good way of going about things. But maybe you have a better idea.
- The system doesn't exactly have to be speedy, but it has to be fast enough that people who are accessing it via VPN are not going to find this machine the bottleneck ;)
- I have a limit of approximately $2500AUD, preferably less rather than more.
We're batting about a couple of options:
Get cheap consumer hardware, and back up files to the backup server as soon as they're saved. I think this is done on the current machine using Windows Server 2008 built in folder duplication. After all, the machine doesn't exactly need to be a processing powerhouse to serve files. I don't know if Windows Server actually provides any killer features that would suggest moving away from using a desktop OS for it.
Get server hardware, and rely on the additional stability that is the sales pitch of the higher price tag. I don't know anything about server hardware, and whether it's actually worth the extra cost especially for these comparatively light tasks.