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Thread: Storage choice for small network

  1. #1
    filling some space Array UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Default Storage choice for small network

    2 servers, 4-7 workstations, new and old. 2-5 users.

    I've come to two main choices for organizing the storage & securing it.

    A) Central data storage

    -small system disk on each workstation, holding OS, programs and some local data.
    -user data is kept on the central server, accessible as a network storage.
    -A copy of some of the data is made on the local machine when the user logs in.
    -the network storage is a RAID setup that can tolerate the loss of some of the physical devices.

    B) Local data storage and backup
    -big disks on each workstation, enough to hold the user data.
    -some network storage is available.
    -data is automatically backed up from workstations to the central backup server on a daily/weekly basis.

    So, what do you think of the pros and cons of each option?

    And further question, would you believe the RAID device to be fault tolerant enough, or would you rather use a backup scheme without RAID?

    Expenses are a big question. Having a RAID array AND backup storage for the contents of the RAID array is overkill in this situation.

  2. #2
    Nips away your dignity Array Fluffywolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    9 sp/sx


    Raid devices are definately better if you keep the storage in the building. But there are cheap solutions for the internet as well nowadays.

    In our company I've set up the network seven years ago myself, a single central server with 2 raid devices and 9 workstations working from the data on the central server, and a contract with an internet data backup company where we upload our data daily to an internet location (reads all files, and uploads changes made/files added.).

    We've never had a problem with our server in the last 7 years and have never needed the internet backups. Raid is good if one harddisk goes boom, the other still works. But if a fire or something breaks out (you never know!), having a backup on the net is pretty damn handy. :P

    I like a central data storage ability because it keeps files updated and accessible from all workstations. If you save all files locally and then back them up to a central station afterwards, then two workstations can't be working with the same files. Which can be a problem for many companies. Accessing files directly from a central server improves a companies flexibility. Using programs like filemaker pro or PHP generated programs/pages which can be accessible at the same time by multiple computers is ofcourse an even bigger plus. Which is pretty much what we work with.

  3. #3
    filling some space Array UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    Your points seem good, especially with the data not being shared with the backup solution. Still, I'm not entirely sure with the central RAID server, even though it would be in the same building. I think I would complement it with a partial backup, or, more exactly - some of the data that is known to be important would be backed up. It adds some overhead to the management, but then only small percentage of the data would have to be backed up with 3 copies (twice on RAID, once on an external backup).

    I guess that people are most likely to recover speedily from a data loss event, if they still remember the details of what they've done in the past few days, and all the programs are available. Also, I would make it improbable that a week's work would be lost.. it would be much more probable that a maximum of day's work would be lost. I would not be able to backup everything daily though.. not the program setups, but only the data they create daily.

    Ok, your plan sounds like a good one.. I'll do something like that.

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