Application server SW and HD in SOHO

Capacity planning
Network design
Network hardware
Open source
I am looking for advice and guidance. What kind of hardware I will need? What kind of software technologies should I start looking in to? What software packages are most relevant to what I am looking for? (I am not an IT professional and not in IT related business! ) I am looking to learn HOW TO and implement a new network infrastructure in my office. What I am looking for is: 1) One capable server that can run up to 5 simultaneous application sessions. The types of the applications are: * MS windows based like MS office applications * Other vendor?s software that run on XP and Win98 environments. * Web development software like Flash development and Web pages design. * Video and graphics design that are not demanding a real time data streaming of very fast speeds (general home usage stuff) * Game programs that also run on Microsoft OS like XP and also Win98. The server will have to run some sort of VMware environment so that WINXP and Win98 and maybe other UNIX derivatives OS software can be run on it. Also the installation of the software should be much easier and more reliable. 2)One Raid Storage device with at least Raid5 capability with a minimum capacity of 600GB. I am looking to uderstand if I can work with NAS or because of the requirements above I need a SAN with Fiber Channel or iSCSI etc. 3) Thin client stations that have a good video capability to work with video editing, games, and graphic design. Want to invest more into monitors and less into CPU/storage. We do not want to have a CPU capacity to work locally with Video data steaming. Remote terminal setup will be sufficient. 4)Network infrastructure that can support the above. At this point I don?t want to get into the issue of Firewalls and security hardware. The issue of the Router/Hub is the main one right now. My quality and reliability requirements are very low. My main concern is to lower the investment as much as possible. I am looking to work with Open Source software products as much as possible. It will be great if I can get at least the main ideas and advice how to proceed further. David

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Interview a number of consultants and hire one you can work with.

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  • StemCom
    Is your goal to share files or actually run multi-user applications or multiple instances of a software program?
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  • Larrythethird
    It sounds like you want the best of a desktop and server at the same time. You would be much better served by spreading tasks to separate systems. Servers are for storing data and running backend applications, web servers, authentication, things like that. Workstatioms are for developing applications, which get stored on the servers. If you do everything on one system, you are looking at a $5000 to $10,000 system. Instead, get a $2000 server, and two or three $1000 PCs. A $1000 PC from Dell or someone like that is pleanty powerful. I agree with a previous post, it really sounds as though you need to find a trustworthy consultant.
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  • Dadara
    Hi What we have today is 5 separate workstations that are normal ~1k$-3k$ DELL or other vendor PCs. For each I need to support a windows operating system and all the relevant software. For example on one station we work on web design and other we have our document and office related excel and accounting software etc. What I want is to eliminate the need to deal with the hardware upgrades every year and all the software problems and windows XP and Windows98 reinstallations every time we have blue screen. My first step will be to build a NAS storage. The decision if to go directly to SAN with higher bandwidth capacity is related to the demand of the server functions. I want to have the workstations to be as small as possible, even without the operating system ? if I can ?they will boot from the network server. They will need to have the network / Audio / Video hardware only. They will be like a remote access terminals to the server. In that way to add one or even 10 workstations will be an easy thing. On the side of the server I wish to have the software installed with the VMware environment. So the installation will be clean and easy to maintain. I don?t want to have all the registry filled with garbage all the time. Again, I don?t know if its all possible. But I am learning here before I go to some expert and pay him to say to me that is it futuristic daydream which might happen in 10 years from now.
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  • CliveSRT
    Have you perhaps considered running a citrix thin client on the Windows Server? This will enable you to run multiple applications from the one or more servers and utilising the desktops as dumb terminals. You will need to investigate a good powerful server with plenty of disk space and memory, but this will overcome the upgrade requirements for all desktops. Hope this helps.
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  • DrillO
    The others are all two cents for what it is worth is to again say get a consultant. The costs are somewhat large to do what you want to do. Citrix is a good choice for the stuff you are looking at, but not easy to set up if you haven't the experience. If you truly want to save money, get PCs to handle stuff and train the staff. You might also want to look at the reasons that you have so many support issues. Again, a consultant can help here. Take a look at the business case for spending what ever money you have against the payback of doing so. You might be surprised. After you look at the business case and decide what you can afford, then get the consultant and work out a systme that will work for you within your budget. Best, Paul
    15 pointsBadges:
  • Gforsythe
    Many good comments from all. Here is my 3 cents worth. What you are looking to save on your desktops (hardware upgrades, repair, etc.) will be completely overrun by the cost of implementing either terminal services or citrix to run the applications on the server, and will also be network intensive since you will be running those apps over the network. Just because a PC is a year or two old, and is (outdated) does not make it unusable, many people fall into this trap. I drive a 1998 dodge grand caravan, it is outdated by 7 years, still gets me here and back though. Don't give up on the INEXPENSIVE workstation. The cost of a server, plus licensing for terminal services or citrix is frightening, trust me, I was there in June. Recommendation; since you are not an IT guy, and you have to get some robust stuff up and running. Go simple, 1 basic file storage server with a decent network and workstation based apps. Otherwise, hire someone like me and make them responsible for keeping it up and running. SAN and NAS is likely out of scale for a startup like what your are doing.
    75 pointsBadges:
  • FlyNavy
    Above are correct. I am in the military but manage a family (parents) business' network from home. We have a very similar setup. I wrote a lengthy BCA on adding a server for data storage and basic control. It makes managing the network much easier. We do all data storage on a 500 GB RAID internal to the server. We also bought a server based, multi-user accounting system upgrade. All other apps are deployed and used on the workstation (we have 6). Workstation hardware only needs to be replaced every 3 to 4 years. On the military side, I ran a Citrix environment. It is NOT easy to set up or manage. In a small organization, server based applications tend to be maintenance nightmares. Unless you want the entire company to quit working every time you have a switch, cat 5 cable, or server hardware go down, it is best to stay on workstations. If I have the receptionist's hard drive go down, engineering, accounting, and sales can still work while we fix the receptionist computer. I guess this is a 4th cent for you.
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