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Windows 7 PC as an office server?

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Not really sure if this is the right place to ask. If it's not, I apologize, please move it to the appropriate location.

Currently, our office has about 8 computers which 1 of the 8 computers is used as a 'server' or a shared network drive. This shared computer is about 10 years old and has only 1 drive on it. We store our data on it.

We are moving to a new place and thinking of purchasing a new desktop computer with Windows 7 Pro on it. We'll add 2 WD Red drives to this new computer, then run RAID-1 on these 2 drives via Windows Disk Management, and share it on the network. In other words, this new computer will be our new 'server'.

In addition to running RAID-1 on the 2 WD Red drives, we will also be backing up data offsite (external hard drive) AND automatic back-up from the server computer to one of the client computers daily.

We're not buying a real server because that's too much for our needs. Plus, it is expensive. So here's what I'd like to ask. Please excuse my ignorance as I'm still learning:

1. Which one of the Dell computers has RAID-1 controller integrated on their motherboard? (we're looking to buy Dell computers)
2. Do you think we need a hardware RAID controller if we're just running RAID-1? If yes, what's a good hardware RAID controller?
3. Any over-heating problem if we leave the PC on 24/7 with RAID-1 enabled?
4. Say we want to run software RAID-1 on 2 WD Red drives, and one of them fails, how would we know which drive has failed?
5. Any side suggestions or comments?

Thank you so much for helping. Your help is appreciated.
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I can understand your unwillingness to put in a full Windows Server because of the complexity involved in managing Active Directory, although it's easier than you imagine. Using Windows desktop as a server for a business is a poor idea, in my opinion. It's built to be a desktop client that can share files if you treat it nicely. It's not a server machine, although with a lot of coaxing, you could load Windows Server 2012 Essentials on it and replace the O/S it came with. Or, you could load Hyper-V manager as a Windows 8 pro feature and use Server 2012 Essentials as a virtualized server.

NAS boxes are made to order for simple file serving with decent security. QNAP, Synology, and Asustor offer smart boxes that are essentially small computers that serve files as their primary function. A large number of manufacturers offer next level NAS boxes that are great file servers and also offer some level of ancillary functions, such as DLNA. The WD Red drives are made to order for these boxes. Look here before you spend money.

My blog, a how-to book for next level home networking, covers some of what you describe. It might help you focus on more questions to ask before making your final decisions.

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