Building or Buying a Backup server

I’m trying to decide between a Dell server or DIY SuperMicro server for running backups. My budget is not huge, but it isn’t non-existent.

We’re a VMware/Veeam shop, but just bought a Synology NAS and have an LTO-8 autoloader.

My end goal is to be able to backup VMs multiple times per day to disk, and daily to cloud services, possibly even weekly to Tape or external SATA drives that get taken off-site and rotated, but that may be a few years out. I also want to back up our large media sets (80TB+) and archive older media to both Tape and Cloud (wasabi for price?) while still being able to search for the archived media.

It kind of sounds like Veeam for VMware guests, and Archiware for Media backup/archival will work nicely, but now I need to build a server to run both of those.

I would LOVE to have the luxury of 2 separate servers, but I just don’t think we can swing it.

My current Veeam server only has 13TB of usable storage and is throwing warnings due to low free space. I’m thinking our future server needs to have at least 25TB usable in RAID 6 (because I’m scared of RAID 5).

I can re-use my existing HBA card to connect our SAN to the new server, and our existing mini-SAS card to connect the Tape Autoloader, but I’ll need at least dual 10GbE SFP+ NICs.

Any recommendations?

Hi Chris,

I have lots to say on this, but pretty swamped myself.

One of our engineers Josiah Brainard is my right hand on stuff like this though, and he’s got a bit more availability than me.

Book him an invite below and jump on a quick call with him. I think he’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

Our business (I own an IT company, but we’re overtly Christian) largely makes our margins by making creative server build/hardware decisions. We mostly use commodity stuff, but run some large enterprise applications for ourselves and customers on them. Backup boxes included.

I have a Josiah you might be booking a call with him. I told him to give you whatever free advice he can based on what details you have to provide him.

Take care,


I use a Dell PowerEdge R510 12 Bay and use 7200 RPM UltraStar drives.

You can get a good R510 on eBay cheap and the RAM and CPUs are cheap, too.

I would get one with the H310 controller at a minimum.

We use Veeam Community Edition (free) to backup our file server which is also a R510.

I’ve landed on a Dell R740xd from Stallard with the following hardware:

  • 2 * Intel Xeon Gold 5118 CPU (12-core/2.4Ghz/105W)
  • 12 * 12TB Nearline SAS 12GBPS 512e 3.5" HDD
  • 8 * 16GB DDR4
  • 2 * 400GB SATA Dell Enterprise SSD (for rear flexbay - hoping I can use this for the OS)
  • PERC H740P RAID Controller w/8GB NV Cache
  • Dell X550 T4 Quad Port SFP+ Network Daughter Card
  • 7 x Full Height and 1 x Half Height PCI Riser Card (not sure why I would choose one with less expansion options)
  • iDRAC9 Enterprise
  • Dual 110W Platinum PSU
  • Rapid Rails without cable management
  • 5 year dell warranty (Basic hardware 5x10 NBD Onsite)

Any thoughts or warnings? I’m going to separately purchase Windows Server licenses, Archiware, Mini-SAS card for Tape Autoloader and HBA card for HPE MSA array, and will install existing Veeam licenses.

This is a bit pricey, but a great value overall for what it is and it feels like it should run solidly for the next 5 years.

You can consider using Archiware to backup to your Synology and LTO and Cloud (Backblaze $5/TB/mth).

Archiware works with Backblaze.