IT Professionals/Consultants, I need some advice...

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by COMplex, Dec 19, 2004.

  1. COMplex

    COMplex New Member

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    I was recently contracted to do a job for a small law firm. They have 4 workstations and a server with tape backup as the domain controller on a UPS. All their systems are rather ancient. Running NT 4.0 less than 64MB ram, hardy 4GB HD space, and tiny CRT monitors. Hell, the server has a 6GB HD and 128MB ram :ugh:

    They are looking to get with the times and get some new, decent computers.

    I'd like a professional's honest opinion on what solutions I should provide. The desktops are not a problem as I've got a good idea what to provide in that department, but I'm wondering if they really even need a server on a domain at all with just 4 users.

    They do work with a bit of data, mainly legal documents and wills and such. I'm sure they surf the net and check email as well.

    I have the technical skills, but not the experience in assessing the needs for a company so I need advice in the matter as far as what they really need.

    Thanks!
     
  2. dazed

    dazed New Member

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    With only four machines, I don't see th need for a central server, but if they are only interested in upgrading their current equipment and not changing their system around, just stick with the setup.

    Oh and I'm an English major, not an IT guy :noes:
     
  3. Wolf

    Wolf No one plans to take the path that brings you lowe

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    They might want to keep the server as a central place to store documents and files.

    Intel Xeon 2ghz, 512mb, 40gig HD should be adequate for the server and the same with 20gig drives for the workstations.
     
  4. COMplex

    COMplex New Member

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    Well, the guy I'm dealing with knows nothing about his setup, and is willing to change everything completely.

    They might, but do they really need a domain structured network? It seems to be a bit of overkill for only 4 machines.

    Yea, those seem like rather decent specs, but my main concern is their network/sharing structure. No point in buying Windows server if they only need XP.
     
  5. PsychoDeli

    PsychoDeli Day of the Baphomets

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    You should be able to fine a suitable cheap server @ dell that will easily handle 4 domain users... You could also have a raid array to avoid using the tape. That way if a disk fails you'll still be ok as long as you keep a spare handy.

    Start off with one of these and plop in what you think they need.

    http://www1.us.dell.com/content/products/compare.aspx/servers?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd

    IBM also makes servers in case for whatever reason you dont like dell.
     
  6. COMplex

    COMplex New Member

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    So a 4 user domain isn't overkill? Should I keep a domain style network?

    Any opinions on HP servers?
     
  7. COMplex

    COMplex New Member

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    I suppose I will keep it as a domain, even though they probably won't expand much. It'll be easier to limit what they can do.

    Not sure if he's going to go for another $1500+ for a server, but I'll see what he wants to do.

    Now, the next question, RAID, tape backup, both, or other? They are used to tape backup, and I'm not sure if RAID is very cost effective in this situation.
     
  8. Goonigoogoo

    Goonigoogoo Active Member

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    I strongly recommend to sway away from tape drives, the company i work for sells tape drives with their machines for backup purposes, and let me tell you .... we have many returns each year from malfunctioning tape drives. On the other hand if that's what they're used to then by all means stick to it, i'm just giving you a warning.

    As for the server specs you need to be careful, some new hardware on the amrket will not work with old OS' so be careful in choosing your equipment. If you are wise in windows server 2003 then i highly recommend it, fairly easy to maneuver in and upkeep. IBM makes great servers and you can find one within your budget/requirements.

    LINK HERE
     
  9. COMplex

    COMplex New Member

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    I'm more than likely getting all HP desktops, since I work for HP on occasion. Deciding if I'm going to build the server myself or not. :dunno:
     
  10. COMplex

    COMplex New Member

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    What other backup solutions do you reccommend? They are used to tape, but I'm pretty sure if they try something else, they want to have the security of offsite data storage in case of fire or something.

    Windows 2003 is not a problem. I've been using it while and am fairly experienced in active directory etc, but just havn't done it for someone else ya know? NT is going to be getting wiped out totally, so I'm only going to migrate the data and probably not the domain. With only 4 users, it won't be hard to start from scratch.
     
  11. Goonigoogoo

    Goonigoogoo Active Member

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    Well i've never tried this but i dont think their should be a problem, you can install the HDDs in a RAID and use a tape backup, so technically speaking they have 2 forms of backups. You can always use the DVD-RAM route where i'm sure you'll know that DVD-RAM discs act as portable HDD. I use DVD-RAM discs at home for backup, i kinda got used to it and stuck to it. This day in age is quite simple and there are many ways to backup your data ... RAID, tape drives, DVD-RAM, heck even flash drives can do the job. You said your clients old server had a 6GB HDD in it? then a 4GB flash drive can be ample enough storage considering they don't use more than 4 or 5 gb after they purchase the new server.
     
  12. COMplex

    COMplex New Member

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    :bigthumb: I'll check into it.

    Thanks to everyone who gave advice so far!
     
  13. DittoAlex

    DittoAlex New Member

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    Also, think about the computer literacy of the people there.

    If they're going to have a hard time with change, you may want to keep the setup the same.
     
  14. COMplex

    COMplex New Member

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    Very true.

    I wonder if the old tape backup is compatible with the new stuff.
     
  15. DittoAlex

    DittoAlex New Member

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    Tape is slow, slightly unreliable, and of low capacity.

    I would get rid of it.
     
  16. COMplex

    COMplex New Member

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    I would too, but I'm not sure if they're ready for that much change.

    I'll probably do either a flash drive, or some other sort of removable storage.
     
  17. DittoAlex

    DittoAlex New Member

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    Chances are nobody in that office knows what that tape thing is or have ever used it.

    It won't bother them. Tell them it's for the better.
     
  18. COMplex

    COMplex New Member

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    Well, surprisingly, when I went on-site, they had a shoebox full of small tapes. They were all labeled so I know they're used.

    I'll be damned if they leave them there all night :o

    But, I'm sure a change is not a big problem.
     
  19. DittoAlex

    DittoAlex New Member

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    :bigthumb:

    Still, it's time to upgrade the network.

    New server, new desktops, use RAID on server.

    Well, how big was each individual backup?
     
  20. COMplex

    COMplex New Member

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    All the machines need to be upgraded no matter what. I jsut wasn't sure if they needed a server at all, and if they needed a domain at all.

    The backups are no bigger than 5GB. Most likely smaller.
     
  21. DittoAlex

    DittoAlex New Member

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    Now, do they need to keep ALL old backups, or only the last 10/last 5/last one?
     
  22. COMplex

    COMplex New Member

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    I'm not exactly sure.

    I'm sure they can get away with having one backup onsite, and one offsite, and bring one in each day, and take the other out. No need for a ton of backups.

    I'm not sure it its daily or what, but i'll find all that out soon enough.

    Anyone know what I should charge for a job like this?
     
  23. DittoAlex

    DittoAlex New Member

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    Flat fee an hour and take your time.

    Take your sweet, sweet time.

    But don't take too long, otherwise they'll hate you :mad:
     
  24. COMplex

    COMplex New Member

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    I charge the real estate company i do computer work for, $30/hr

    I think I'll charge the law firm a flat fee, since I'm not building the systems myself like I would normally do.

    $1500 - $2000 ?
     
  25. FLY-FAST

    FLY-FAST OT Supporter

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    I charge hourly - $125.00 / hour.

    I would start with proposing the following:

    Compaq ML580 - or similar server (refurb'd) running RAID 5 with 32 gig drives. I would suggest you replace the workstations with XP Pro machines(remember must NOT be XP home or you cant join the domain). You can run an NT4.0 to 2003 utility to upgrade any legacy applications they may be using.

    You will STILL want to use the tape drive a 20/40 dat will be sufficient. Or, you can go with a SuperDLT (110/220) and back-up all of there local settings as well.
     

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