We are a design company who have grown quickly.

We currently are housing our design data within one Dell server in a raid array, with HDD backups taken weekly onto external HDD drives.

I'm looking to separate the operational functions of the company from the pure file serving functions.

All of our designers use Mac Pros and don't need to access the Windows side often, the opposite is true for the operational side running Quickbooks and Office programs.

We will use Windows SBS 2008 in a VM for the Domain Controller and Quickbooks server and Exchange services.

We have a mac mini server I can use to serve the files if it can handle the load of just file serving. I could attach a disk shelf or raid array to it.

Or I could build a whitebox *nix solution to hold the design images, but I would like it to talk to the Domain Controller to authenticate users.

Backing up 4TB is currently done to external drives put into a fireproof safe. Our only connection at our current location is a T1, so backing up to a remote location is not feasible.

The new system should take into account a good backup solution.

I hope I've been clear enough to get some good advice, Thank you.

  • How many users are we talking about? – LukeR Oct 4 '10 at 22:13
  • about 10 in the design pool (OS X), about 10 in the order taking/accounting pool (Windows) – brennanag Oct 4 '10 at 22:35
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    N.B. fireproof != meltproof. – Mark Wagner Oct 4 '10 at 23:49
  • @embobo ha ha!! smart! :) – brennanag Oct 5 '10 at 0:21

Check out the new Drobo offerings! I like the way these work.


Which version of OS X Server are you running? I've never had the best experience with binding OS X to AD. 10.4 was the best in my experience. 10.5 was a step back. I left that mess behind before 10.6 came out so no idea if that is any better. As a result, I'd avoid using the OS X machine for file serving to the mostly Windows based operational side.

If you want AD integration for your operational file serving, I'd take Chopper3's advice (which seems to have mysteriously disappeared from this thread!) but with a lightly different twist. Get an eSATA drive, attach it to the physical host that has the SBS virtual machine and then present that to the virtual SBS machine. Or if the physical host will be a domain member, just attach the eSATA drive to the physical machine.

Word to the wise: I would recommend making one physical machine an additional domain controller. Having your only domain controller be virtual can have painful, evil, wretched consequences.

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