Mac mini for office fileserver questions

in Current Mac Hardware edited December 2014

An office I work for is downsizing and moving, so I'm trying to figure out the best solution here to reduce their footprint. I am decommissioning their 2009 Xserve and Promise VTrak RAID and other rack stuff. All data is getting moved to a couple Thunderbolt Drobos (one live server, one offsite backup to sync monthly). I was going to replace the Xserve with a mini, as their needs are much lighter now (just a few people, generally very light file access, and remote/VPN access from outside the office. Number of users is 4 or 5 max for now. 


- Do I try to track down a 2012 mini with quad core and dual drives for mirrored RAID for the boot drive? Or is the 2014 better in any way for this purpose? Server would be headless (VNC only) so GPU doesn't matter. Not sure if extra cores even get utilized for file sharing.


- I suppose with the 2014 you get the PCIe SSD for a boot drive and you can install another drive on the SATA port for a backup boot drive if the PCIe drive fails? 


- Am I wrong in assuming a mini (either model) plus Thunderbolt Drobo is going to be more than enough power for a small office?


- Do I even need to install for just file sharing? Mail/calendars/contacts etc is Google Apps. Web is external. Do I need Server for anything related to file sharing that I can't just do in Finder and System Prefs > Sharing? Oh, and VPN?


I think that's it? Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated! Thanks.

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