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*Deal, Tom
Message 1 of 6 (103 Views)

Servers and backing up PLEASE HELP.

103 Views, 5 Replies
02-01-2000 12:55 PM
hello all.
I just recently started as the cad manager at a small A/E firm, 10 cad
stations, 5 non cad stations, and 1 file server. All the computers are
running win95. I came from a huge A/E firm (about 1200 people) where I
didn't have to worry about network stuff, now I do. We have been having
various problems lately ranging from being sluggish to hard drive failure on
the network server. I am wanting to upgrade the network, but want to get
some advice from other cad managers that have been there before. If you can
let me know what kind of servers work good, what are the operating systems
for the server and cad stations, what kind of fault tolerances are built
into the server and backing up, what is used for archiving and any other
good information I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks
Tom Deal
*Martin, Jason
Message 2 of 6 (103 Views)

Re: Servers and backing up PLEASE HELP.

02-01-2000 02:20 PM in reply to: *Deal, Tom
Knowing some additional information about what you server/network consists
of now might help some. A server for 15 people could range from almost
nothing to something quite complex depending on expectations and previous
experience.

As far as servers we've always been a dell shop, but I have a number of
friends that use compaq and wouldn't consider ever using anything else. I'd
recommend that any server you get, no matter who the manufacturer is be
equipped with some type of raid array (raid 1 or 5). (Raid 1 is drive
mirroring, raid 5 is disk striping with parity). I'd also recommend that
the hardware be equipped to handle the raid array as software raid isn't
nearly as efficient. Put a ups in front of the server to protect against
outages.

As far as the software for the server?? What are you comfortable with.
We've traditionally been a novell shop, but we are slowly moving towards NT
servers (at least application servers). If you know NT go with NT, if you
know netware go with that.

As far as a backup device it depends on how much data you need to back up
each night and how much time you have to back it up. We currently have
about 150 GB of storage on our server system and use two DDS2 tape drives,
one DDS3 drive and one 6 tape DDS3 changer to back it up every night. DDS2
tapes allow for a maximum of 8GB of data (assuming 2:1 compression), DDS3
tapes allow for a maximum of 24GB of data (2:1). Right now we have a
request in to purchase a DLT changer rather than DDS as DLT allows 80GB of
data per tape and has a 100% duty cycle for backing up (where the DDS drives
have either a 25% or 12.5%, I can't remember). If you also need to backup
all of the workstations (we do not backup any workstation, ever) you'll need
to consider getting some additional backup software like Veritas BackupExec,
which can backup the clients on your network.

If you'll provides some additional information on what you're looking for
I'm sure that a number of people here will be happy to help. You might also
try the cad mangers ng.

hth

jason martin
frankfurt-short-bruza

Tom Deal wrote in message
news:877dj4$nnb6@adesknews2.autodesk.com...
> hello all.
> I just recently started as the cad manager at a small A/E firm, 10 cad
> stations, 5 non cad stations, and 1 file server. All the computers are
> running win95. I came from a huge A/E firm (about 1200 people) where I
> didn't have to worry about network stuff, now I do. We have been having
> various problems lately ranging from being sluggish to hard drive failure
on
> the network server. I am wanting to upgrade the network, but want to get
> some advice from other cad managers that have been there before. If you
can
> let me know what kind of servers work good, what are the operating systems
> for the server and cad stations, what kind of fault tolerances are built
> into the server and backing up, what is used for archiving and any other
> good information I would greatly appreciate it.
>
> Thanks
> Tom Deal
>
>
>
*Nehls, Kevin
Message 3 of 6 (103 Views)

Re: Servers and backing up PLEASE HELP.

02-01-2000 02:38 PM in reply to: *Deal, Tom
For good servers I would go with Compaq or Dell (just to go name brand).
If the network is sluggish, I would check to see if you are running a 10
Mbps network, if you are then upgrade to 100 Mbps. To do this you would
have to make sure that the hub is capable of this, if not it must be
replaced. You also need to make sure that the NIC cards in all of the
clients (and servers) are 100 Mbps capable. Also, if your network it using
TCP/IP as the primary protocol then you want to make sure that the clients
have TCP/IP listed at the top of the list.

I don't know what kind of shape the existing server is in or what it is
comprised of, but if it is an older server (say 5 years or more). I would
either replace it or make it a file server for excel/word documents and
stuff like that, or I would make it the PDC (primary domain controller) and
have it do nothing else, purchase another server (make sure that it is very
buff) that would act as the BDC (backup domain controller) and the
file/application server for the CAD stuff. A good rule of thumb when
buying computers (this includes servers) is to get more than what you need,
because in 6 months you are going to want it.

As for operating systems, there is NT, UNIX, Linux, and Novell. Since your
clients are already running 95 then I would go with NT as the server OS.
As for client OSes you can use NT for the CAD systems, if your CAD software
can be installed on NT. If you are having hard drive failures, not much
here that can be done except for replacing them as they come (or getting
all new machines if money is no object).

As for fault tolerance NT server has built in software RAID levels 0,1, and
5. You can perform disk mirroring (waste of space), disk duplexing (yet
again waste of space), or disk striping with parity (need at least 3 hard
drives). If you go for a Compaq or Dell server, get one that has hardware
RAID 5 then you can strip the system and boot partitions of NT as well (the
software RAID 5 can't do this). Otherwise you can make a fault tolerant
system and boot partition(s) by using disk duplexing just for the install
of NT server. Then use software RAID 5 for the data, this would require at
lease 5 hard drives, but would provide a low cost fault tolerant solution.
One other thing, perform regular backups of the data. This should always
be the first line of defensive, because when all else fails you always have
the tape backup.

If you are not familiar with this stuff, I would definitely hire a network
consultant with several years of experience (a few certifications are
always good, say MCSE). Also, check around. There are bad network
consultants and good ones (as with everything else). Personally I would do
it myself, but only because I know the stuff. If I didn't know the stuff I
wouldn't pay less then $120 per hour for a network consultant, this can
help out a lot with weeding out the Ma & Pa types and make sure that there
is a contract so that if they screw up then you don't have to pay them.
Another option would be to go through a consulting company, the only
national name that I know of is Keane. They are a huge consulting company
based out of the East Coast some where. This all depends on how much your
company is willing to spend.

I hope that this helps. It can be very fun and frustrating all at the same
time. :-)
--
----------
Kevin Nehls
for reply remove -ns-

Tom Deal wrote in article
<877dj4$nnb6@adesknews2.autodesk.com>...
> hello all.
> I just recently started as the cad manager at a small A/E firm, 10
cad
> stations, 5 non cad stations, and 1 file server. All the computers are
> running win95. I came from a huge A/E firm (about 1200 people) where I
> didn't have to worry about network stuff, now I do. We have been having
> various problems lately ranging from being sluggish to hard drive failure
on
> the network server. I am wanting to upgrade the network, but want to get
> some advice from other cad managers that have been there before. If you
can
> let me know what kind of servers work good, what are the operating
systems
> for the server and cad stations, what kind of fault tolerances are built
> into the server and backing up, what is used for archiving and any other
> good information I would greatly appreciate it.
>
> Thanks
> Tom Deal
>
>
>
>
*Nehls, Kevin
Message 4 of 6 (103 Views)

Re:

02-01-2000 02:40 PM in reply to: *Deal, Tom
One other thing. You will need NT (either a workstation or server) to run
AdLM. But you probably already know that.
--
----------
Kevin Nehls
for reply remove -ns-
*Deal, Tom
Message 5 of 6 (103 Views)

Re:

02-02-2000 06:18 AM in reply to: *Deal, Tom
Thanks for all the input. It has been very valuable and has helped me set
up a game plan for our network.

Thanks
Tom Deal

"Kevin Nehls" wrote in message
news:01bf6d05$093e38c0$6b0c10ac@toc0156...
> One other thing. You will need NT (either a workstation or server) to run
> AdLM. But you probably already know that.
> --
> ----------
> Kevin Nehls
> for reply remove -ns-
>
>
*Nehls, Kevin
Message 6 of 6 (103 Views)

Re:

02-02-2000 08:23 AM in reply to: *Deal, Tom
Great. Let us know how everything works out. Have fun (I know I would).
--
----------
Kevin Nehls
for reply remove -ns-

Tom Deal wrote in article
<879am0$t586@adesknews2.autodesk.com>...
> Thanks for all the input. It has been very valuable and has helped me
set
> up a game plan for our network.
>
> Thanks
> Tom Deal

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