Ben Oliver


Buying IT Gear: Sometimes You Have To Know When To Take The Dull Road

06 January 2014

So the other day I was asked to put together a spec sheet for a ‘server’ that the small business I work for needs. I say ‘server’ with some trepidation, because the business actually only really needs a linux box with a Samba share. Perhaps even a solid ready-built NAS will do the trick.

Of course when I was first asked, and given a vague budget, I thought great, I’ll build a 32GB monster with four hard drives and an SSD and it’s going to be awesome and huge and manly and stuff. I built my awesome server/beast that could do a lot of heavy lifting, at not too heavy a price. I had it all laid out in front of me on paper, I even sent the quote off.

However, as I said, that’s just not what they need. It would have worked, but what if the server failed? There would have been no data loss because of the mirrored hard drives and backups but then again the old server did that too. Just because your data is backed up, doesn’t mean you can still actually get any work done when the shit hits the fan.

Anyway, my final proposal is extremely dull. Lots of storage and a secondary system in case the first fails. Job done. I’m not building a datacentre, it’s just 7 people editing spreadsheets.

Even though I’m sad that I didn’t get to build a new radiator for the office, I’m quite pleased with my ‘sensible’ solution. We’ve had so many woes with our Windows Small Business Server, a plain and simple folder with files in it is refreshing.

The depressing part is seeing how much of a £3700 budget (for 4 PCs and a server) goes to Microsoft. I’m in the wrong business.

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