Home Server Question from Server Newbie - Which version is right?

Discussion in 'Windows Server' started by Peter S, Aug 2, 2005.

  1. Peter S

    Peter S Guest

    Newbie question here from someone good with XP, but new to servers....

    I'm going to install an upgrade to my home network. The thing currently
    runs off an XP Pro box and is Just a Bunch of Disks, but I'm considering
    buying a nice big box, slapping a load of hard drives in it using Raid0, and
    picking up some version of Windows Server 2003.

    Basically what I want to do:

    - set up a load of drives using Raid 0 so I can stop backing up to DVDs &
    USB HDs
    - have all 5 family members be able to log on from any computer in the house
    - redirect all My Documents and Shared Documents to the server
    - use the server as a Media Server for all PCs in the house
    - direct internet access thru it and therefore control internet access for
    the kids
    - anything else cool I can think of

    So which version of Windows Server will work for me? and is this overkill?
    Peter S
    Peter S, Aug 2, 2005
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  2. I am not sure if you really mean "RAID 0" or not, but understand that
    is pure "striping", and as such has a failure rate that is the aggregate of
    each of the disks in the stripe. IOW if any RAID0 drive fails, the whole array
    goes kaput. This is a Not Good Thing.

    While RAID0 improves performance modestly (because the data transfer
    rate is higher), RAID0 is not something any rational person would
    or should configure in a server.

    RAID1 is mirroring, which is what you probably want (and may be what
    you were intending). Two drives record the same information.
    Performance is not significantly different than a single drive, but it
    gives you full and simple redundancy in the event of a drive failure.

    If you want better performance, RAID10 (or RAID01) combines mirroring
    and striping in one array. All RAID0 / RAID1 controllers also will be able
    to configure RAID01, RAID10 or both. These two levels are often - and
    incorrectly - referred to interchangeably. The performance benefit is the
    same for either one. However true RAID10 provides better fault-tolerance than
    01, but some implementations of 01 allow you to use an odd number of drives -
    I think LSI Logic calls this RAID1a or something like that.

    Anyway, I find a four-drive RAID10 array to be an excellent configuration for a
    midrange server. In your case a simple RAID1 mirror likely would be just as
    good as disk performance just isn't going to matter all that much. RAID0
    is of course out of the question.

    Good SATA Raid0/1/01 controllers are available a very reasonable cost
    and some better motherboards now have these controllers onboard. With
    any RAID, but especially using desktop ATAPI or SATA drives, a hot-spare
    is to be recommended in the configuration.

    If you want Windows Server, then Windows Small-Business Server 2003
    would seem to be the best choice for your application, it is a little less
    expensive at low user counts, has remote web workplace and you get
    Exchange Server and Outlook.

    Steve Duff, MCSE, MVP
    Ergodic Systems, Inc.
    Steve Duff [MVP], Aug 2, 2005
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