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Fileserver storage boost

We are a medical research/teaching department in London. We currently use a very underpowered and overused Apple Mac as a fileserver on a 10/100 Cat5 network. We are also currently midway through an installation project building new labs and offices that will include some money for IT facilities.

We want to put in some fileserver storage. User usage is estimated to increase about 10-15 fold if excess is built in. We are specifying tape backup and Win and Mac OS compatibility upgradeable storage (up to 2TB using RAID5) but starting about the 300-500GB mark. We do not need to run programs or a heavy use database from the server so I was thinking about a NAS server nominally an HP B2000.

My question is that the server is about 11 meters away from the network backbone and HP has two NICs that they suggest using with Cat5e cables. The college networks are suggesting fiber connections specifically fiber 62.5/125 with ST presentation. We want multi-user, large data file transfer to and from the file store but are working on a very tight budget. Could you please advise me.


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The B2000 supports 10/100/1000 copper connections for the NIC cards you referenced. You would normally use fiber rather than copper for longer distances or in an RF noisy environment. Eleven meters isn't a very long distance so copper would be ok from a distance requirement. The only question is how noisy is the environment? What other interference sources are there? If it is a typical office environment, you shouldn't have a problem with copper. You will need to judge based on your specific environment.

There is an option to get the Alacritech TCP/IP accelerator NIC cards for the B2000 either in copper of fiber. It may cost a little more but will give you a significant performance boost.

Randy Kerns
Evaluator Group, Inc.

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This was first published in July 2003

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