Hardware Recommendations NC/Talk/SMB with 10 Users


we are setting up a new file server in our office for around 10 Users (some in house, some not) who constantly work on CAD files around 100MB to 2GB. Its gonna be a Ubuntu Server with SMB shares, which will be embedded into nextcloud via the external storage plugin (either “local” or SMB, any advice welcome). The server should also be able to manage Talk Video calls with around 10 users easily and will also run eGroupware.

The hardware should be quiet and easily replacable. My ìdea so far was:

12th gen core i5 or i7
M.2 SSD for system
2 M.2 or Sata SSDs in RAID1 for 2TB quick access data
2 HDDs in RAID1 for 4TB archive data

Any thoughts?

don’t do this. unless you really know what your are doing.
that is to say: you have done this before or is just an idea someone brought up in a meeting?

Nextcloud Talk:

I think you need a Signaling Server (Nextcloud Talk High Performance Backend).

If possible do not use SMB for your Nextcloud data. I think it would be better over time to move the data to the real Nextcloud storage system than to always access the data from Nextcloud via SMB. Plan a future strategy without SMB if possible. Check (some testfiles) if it is possible to use CAD files in your CAD applications fully from Nextcloud without SMB and/or WebDAV and only with Web and Nextcloud Client. If it is not possible maybe Nextcloud is not the correct solution for you or you can use Nextcloud only for data exchange.

Test Nextcloud in the Internet first
You can create a free Nextcloud account in the internet. There is almost no difference to your installation (Nextcloud only uses HTTPS for Web and Client). You can test it for free with anonymous CAD files. If you almost need SMB then your Nextcloud installation is more an exchange of files and not a platform to edit files. Hopefully you can edit CAD files with the file structure of your Nextcloud Windows Client. This must be tested. Comparable if you want to edit CAD files in Microsoft OneDrive.

Save yourself the trouble of installing a lot and ending up dissatisfied.


Your hardware seem’s ok… but …

  1. The more ram, the merrier. Nothing to say here except:
  • use the maximum supported by hardware
  • ECC memories
  1. Proc choice is fine.

  2. OS should be on a SSD, raid 1 is fine.

  3. Another SSD should be use also for CACHE. You haven’t talked about speed and network.

  • speed for your user’s seem’s to be cover by the hardware…
  • Network… are u planning 1G/2.5G/10G … in that case, cache is mostly needed.
  1. HDD in Raid1. OK, fine. But remember, raid IS NOT A BACKUP !!! You will not be protected against:
  • File corruption
  • Human error (deleting files by mistake)
  • Catastrophic damage (someone dumps water onto the server)
  • Viruses and other malware
  • Software bugs that wipe out data
  • Hardware problems that wipe out data or cause hardware damage (controller malfunctions, firmware bugs, voltage spikes, …)
  1. 3-2-1 backup rules procedures !
    have you planned it ?
    3-2-1 backup rule involves:
  • 3: Create one primary backup and two copies of your data.
  • 2: Save your backups to two different types of media.
  • 1: Keep at least one backup file offsite.
  1. SMB and the futur…
  • SMB is already dying… no more v1 support in W11, and i guess SMB with be soon dead.
  • Hybrid SMB/QUIC is the futur…

Just some tough as you can see …
As you seem’s to be asking, why not an alternat OS?
Linux/ubuntu whatever distribution need’s knowledge… Have you thought of specific OS like openmediavault, unraid, freenas …

  • WAP protection
  • Network redundancy
  • ACL
  • why not an hypervisor solution with VM’s …
  • Budget ??
  • snapshots ?

Do you mean it is better to sync these large CAD files only with the nextcloud desktop clients? As opposed to SMB or NFS shares.

Why Raid1? It will go down if either disk fails. You’d be much better offer allowing yourself the flexibility of raid5 or 10 with at least three disks.

Have you considered a ZFS array or similar for managing multiple disks and backups?

Have you considered an offsite backup location, such as S3 / Minio? Imagine if someone stole the hard disks for some reason, or a fire, or some other act of god destroyed your server and disks.

You could use rsync or rclone. There are also dedicated backup tools such as Borg for making and restoring snapshot backups.


Few personal opinions after using NextCloud for past one year.

  1. NextCloud is very CPU hungry. RAM size doesn’t effect performance that much.

  2. Hardware or Software RAID is excellent to start with but things become really problematic if or when stuff breaks. – Like for example, Hardware RAID is dependent on the specific motherboard (CPU) or RAID card controller → One may need to find the same exact board when stuff go faulty. Few years down the line, finding the exact matching hardware may become an issue.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep things simple.

For example, rsync command can easily & periodically replicate the vital nextcloud user data folder across your archival mechanical storage drives (be it local or via network). Similarly, you can always do a backup of NextCloud config and database.

Ubuntu / NextCloud installation is just matter of few minutes and with that backup in hand, it’s just couple of commands to restore and get a new system running.

Idea is to put the budget on a strong CPU/Motherboard with a good PSU for 24x7 operation and keeping things simple for future troubleshooting and restoration

Lastly, consider 10g LAN hardware for the server → So that when multiple clients are accessing such large (2Gb+ files, network should not become a bottleneck.


it depends on the use case.

i would guess that in house user open files in cad directly from the smb shares and remote user sync files with nc client to have them on there remote pc to work with.

my point is that have to plan this very carefully.

if you have only one group folder and everybody can access every file. i guess it’s easy. to setup some kind of user management can be tricky.

and user have to be aware of the difference between smb shares and nc sync mechanism.

OK so I’m reading this and wondering if I am the only one with the following setup which by the way I think would suit your purpose.

I too have around 10 users too both local and remote

On an old Mac Mini (2012 or later) I have installed Proxmox virtual Server on which I have 3 Virtual servers.
1 Apache Proxy Server
1 Ubuntu Server with Nextcloud Snap
1 Other Ubuntu Server for hosting my photo album

The Mac Mini has 16GB RAM half of which is given to the Nextcloud server
2GB to the Proxy Server & 4GB to photo Server.
The Nextcloud Snap data folder is a link to a NAS (12TB HDD RAID 1) through an NFS share.

The Proxmox server has a iSCSI connection to the same NAS along with the NFS plus a 5TB HDD USB drive attached. This allows for VM backup to three locations (to be sure, to be certain).
On the Nextcloud server the data folder is backed up through a script and moved to external system.

This setup has allowed me to recover from a total system fail (the Virtual Host crashed after a failed update). It was necessary for me to reinstall the Virtual Server, restore the Virtual Machines & the NAS/USB/NFS connections without losing any data.

Hope this helps.

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