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We are a small team of software developers - 7 programmers. We need to set up an inexpensive file server in our office. It's main purpose will be to run our Source Control System (VSS).

Any recommendations as to what hardware to choose and what software will be necessary?

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What source control software will be used? That will help determine the hardware – Dave M Oct 23 '09 at 14:16
The SCM is MS Visual Source Save. – Ra. Oct 23 '09 at 14:27
Hell no! VSS sucks big time. Consider using either Subversion or Git. – Anton Gogolev Oct 23 '09 at 14:33
@Nick - Hm ... call me old fashioned. I feel warm and cozy having all my sensitive data near by, under full control. Am I wrong? – Ra. Oct 23 '09 at 14:36
Why was this voted down? – Bart Silverstrim Oct 23 '09 at 14:37
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Remember ... if you are a software shop then YOUR CODE IS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT ASSET. Don't screw around or experiment, and don't go cheap.

1- Buy a low end IBM/Lenovo server. Our esteemed host described in all kinds of detail his travails in building his own .. I would buy one pre-build.
a. Make sure it has a RAID controller and can support RAID5.
b. Get plenty of disk .. multiply your current need by 10.

2- Since VSS, you will need Windows. I recommend you get Server, even if it isn't required for VSS.

3- You need to deal with backup. There are a zillion options. I would start by getting a tape drive and backup software running. Once that is running you might want to implement a remote or disk-to-disk solution in addition. More info here and here.

4- You will want anti-virus software. Use whatever you use on the desktops.

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Never ever ever use RAID5 for critical data. – toppledwagon Oct 23 '09 at 18:54
I've been using RAID5 for years with lots of different apps. It isn't the best solution for all situations, but what is? This data should be protected by some kind of parity, and RAID5 is a good place to start because it is essentially write-once, read-many. – tomjedrz Oct 23 '09 at 21:09
RAID6 would be the best setup. – Dragos May 17 '12 at 12:41

If you've already been using VSS and want to continue with the MS source control, then get a server with

  1. Enough Drive Space
  2. RAID Configured (My choice would be RAID 5)
  3. GB Ethernet (most servers come with this these days)
  4. A tape or optical drive for backup or you could backup off-site (e.g

You don't need any other software if you you are using VSS. Stick with the MS backup to save some cash.

I went from VSS to SVN and I am very happy with the results. As @Jamie mentioned, beanstalk would save you the troubles of buying a server, worring about backup etc.

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Don't buy drives bigger than 500 gig for the RAID5. Use RAID6 if possible. – Michael Dillon Oct 23 '09 at 21:47

For a development team with few team members, you are going to be ok with fairly basic hardware, however, the specifics of hardware recommendations are really going to depend on a number of factors.

  1. How much data do you anticipate storing?
  2. Are you a Microsoft shop, or other? (Windows vs. Linux)
  3. What are the demands of your Source Control system? Is it file system based? Is it database driven? etc?

Those items are going to drive the individual hardware specifications, but from an OS if you need simple file sharing, you can do this with an out of the box configuration of Windows Server 2008, Dell has many great configurations already ready to go.

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1. Not much data really - less than 100G I think 2. Microsft 3. The SCM is MS Visual Source Save - file system based – Ra. Oct 23 '09 at 14:30

The cheapest way to do this is to get a bare bones "server" tower from Dell or just build your own generic box and then put a Linux distro on it. I would recommend openSuSE, coming from someone who is not a Linux guru by any means I was able to use openSuSE's "YaST" configuration tool to setup DNS, Subversion, Apache and Samba file sharing in just a couple hours. Since I used hardware I got from Free Geek my total cost was $10!

For the source control system I would recommend Subversion, it ties in well with different types of authentication such as LDAP.

Also one last thing, try looking at online source control system that are billed as Sofware-As-A-Service (SaaS) like:

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...If you already know the source control system (MS Visual Source Save) then the only question is what machine to buy. Just call some vendor and see what they have, and see how that fits your budget.

Not much of a question.

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In my team we use SVN hosting provided by, the Personal account at and have had no problems with it. Took 5 minutes to setup and it works perfectly. However you have to be able to take into account that your data is being hosted by another party.

Edit: Meant to add they also have a free service, its quite limited but is still reliable, with a fair amount of features.

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