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Old 11-16-2010, 08:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need work server: External hard drive or dedicated computer?

I work for a small family business that needs to share files across a small network of 5 computers. Currently I have a DLink DNS-323 set up in RAID redundancy for backup protection. It also has an FTP server which is needed for out of office downloads. So far it worked well, but the FTP can be slow (our comcast business class business speeds are awesome, btw) and the interoffice speed leaves something to be desired for sure. We don't have the funds to set up a more robust dedicated rack server system, so I'm wondering if we'd benefit from a dedicated computer running acting as the central server? I'm not sure if I want ALL internet traffic and CPU power, etc to be run through this system since we prefer individual computers. Mainly we want reliability, a good backup (RAID), FTP and speed. Any ideas?
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Old 11-16-2010, 09:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need work server: External hard drive or dedicated computer?

If you're sure that the problems lie with the DLink and it's costing you productivity and/or business then you have little choice but to look into alternatives. Having said that, I'm not quite sure what your question is. Are you looking for specific products or more general guidelines?
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Old 11-16-2010, 09:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need work server: External hard drive or dedicated computer?

I'm hoping to find out if it would be an upgrade to get a dedicated server computer or if the DNS-323 is as good as it's going to get without getting something really expensive.
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Old 11-17-2010, 06:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need work server: External hard drive or dedicated computer?

At an early guess, I'd say that a server would be worth the investment. I don't know what sort of business you do nor what you use the shared storage for, but even if you don't notice a huge leap in performance (difficult to say because I don't know exactly what's holding the performance back) you will notice the increased flexibility.

EDIT: also I've just noticed you have written "a good backup (RAID)" as if RAID is a backup. RAID is not backup
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Old 11-17-2010, 01:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need work server: External hard drive or dedicated computer?

I meant with the RAID setup, it's a backup for one hard drive failure. I have a separate backup in place as well. LOTS of redundancy.

For clarification, we are in construction, interior design, store planning. We only have about 50 GB of files, mainly CAD files, SketchUp files and spreadsheets.

My computer is the CAD computer and doesn't run files directly off of the DLink. The CAD files and SketchUp files are stored locally and then one-way backed up to the DLink. It's faster this way, as well as safer for backing up. I also don't have to worry about an employee accidentally deleting or moving a file. I'm the only one who modifies these files, so there is no need for them to get into them except to view them if need be.

The DLink works well for some basic file sharing, but when working with .pdf's, pictures, etc. it can get a little slow. We compile large digital "spec. books" that hold all of the .pdf's for every piece of equipment we place in a store we're designing and this is when it can become sluggish. Some of it is software-related, as we are using just an OK .pdf complier/editor, but I can't help but think a new system might be needed beyond the simple DLink.

EDIT:
Now that i think about it, maybe all we need is gigabit networking. I'm the only one wired into the router. But even that isn't terribly fast. I'm just about to run a LAN speed test to find out of REAL speeds.
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