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hardware requirements domain controller

what hardware requirements would a domain controller serviceing logon requests for 1000 users have?
1 Solution
LucFEMEA Server EngineerCommented:
Hi Lucret,

For just serving logon requests, even a simple server will suit you perfectly. But the problem mostly is, what do you want to run on the server? Exchange/SQL/other heavy server side thingies?
You'll have to see what you need, if you have a lot of traffic etc going, you'll need more servers, especially with 1000 users, you'll really have to split tasks over different servers.

So, it all depends on what you want to do.


The most basic system will do right now for what you want.. Logon request does not ask for alot of ressources. Even now, you can get a Dell 2600 Poweredge server with a Dual 3GHZ Xeon Processor, and 1 gig of ram for about 22-2300$, add in a raid 5 array, controller, and tape backup, your up to about 3000-3500$. With this kind of server, you can do anyting you would like, unless you plan on running a hug Sql database with TONS of request..

Today, I don'T think the minimum requirement really applies when you have a medium sized environment.
Especially when servers are this cheap...
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There are many questions to be asked, how many Domain Controllers will you be running, how many groups and computer accounts? Are you running Exchange 2000? Will the Domain Controller also handle DNS/WINS etc. How many servers are in your environment today?

If you have 1000 users and are in a typical environment then you would need 3 Domain Controllers, to handle all of the Domain Roles, while offering the minimum amount of Redundancy for a Domain.


No need to have powerfull CPU for your DC, because logon requests don't use CPU very much, for example PIII 2.6GHz would be enough.
1GB of memory or bigger.
SCSI controller and SCSI hard disk drive would increase the performance. 36GB of hard disk drive or bigger size.
I recommend Gigabit ethernet card for your DC to responce logon requests from 1000 users.

I recommend another domain controller as backup domain controller. because if one DC crashes then you will have backup and you can re-install your DC again without any problem.

if you will use this server as mail server also then you better use bigger hard drives (70GB or higher) and also at least you should make disk mirroring or RAID5. disk mirroring you will need 2 hard drives, for RAID 5 you need at least 3 hard drives. in mirroring if one disk fails you will have a copy on another disk. in RAID5 even if one drive fails the system can continue to work (just little bit slow) then you change the failed disk and recover it without stoping the system.
hope this helps...


I've got Windows 2000 Server with AD, Apache2 PHP4, Mercury/32 (email), and DNS.   Runs on an AMD 400 MHz with 386 MB RAM, one 40 GB HDD, one 10 GB HDD, and 3 NIC's (2 Internet Connections, 1 LAN connection). It's a computer a put toghether from spare parts, I use it to serve my home network, Personal Internet email, and file server.

it runs pretty good, slow to Administer, but it serves me well, haven't lost a file nor missed an email.  

I'm serious, I really have it working!
Oh, and I almost forgot Vmware GSX Server 2.5.

Anyway, for 1000 users, I think you can get away with a Dual Intel Xeon CPU at 2.4 GHz, no less than 2 GB RAM.  If you just want to do authentication, then you can save on the storage requirments, otherwise go with a SCSI RAID 3 disks each at 74.3 GB for a total of 140 GB (you may want to get more for 1000 users?? or use disk quotas).

If this is going to be your only server, I highly suggest AVOIDING the use of MSSQL server, MS Exchange, IIS, Internet Accelaration and Authetication Server, Small Business Server.

Just to give you an example, I have about 60 users on a similiar configuration.  I serves as a directory, file, DHCP, DNS, HTTP (local Intranet), database,  RIS, and group policy server.  

IBM eServer
Dual Intel Xeon CPU at 2.4 GHz (2 physical, 2 virtual)
SCSI RAID, 3 disk, total 140 GB
40/80 GB DLT Tape drive
Gbit Ethernet

MS Windows 2000 Advanced Server
Microsoft Active Directory
MySQL 4.0 for Windows
Microsoft DNS
Microsoft DHCP
Roaming User Profiles
File Server
..and some other things I can't remember at the moment

99% of the Workstation are Win2K clients - you get more out of your hardware with win2k.
All use Mozilla Thunderbird for Email, Firefox for Internet (IE 5.01 is avialble for those problematic sites)
Microsoft Office 2000 (the best!)
Symantec AntiVirus 8.0 (managed install on seprate server)
Microsoft Software Update Services (on a seprate server becuase of IIS requirment)
Jabber Instant Messaging (On a diffrent server, FreeBSD 5.2.1)
RIS allows me to install Windows 2000 over the network, and GP's save me time by having settings and software Installed, updated, removed automaticly
All user accounts use Roaming user profiles, allowing anyone to log in anywhere and have access to thier documents, settings, and email.
TightVNC on all workstations and servers for remote assistance and management (http://www.tightvnc.org).

For Email I use Mercury/32 (www.pmail.com) and eGroupware (http://egroupware.sf.net), while it does NOT integrate with AD, it has many benifits over Exchange.  I currently run it on a seprate server, but you can run it on the same server with everything else with *somewhat* of a preformance impact.  As with the Email, you can also combine your AV system on the same server, but I would HIGHLY recomend getting at least 1 or 2 more servers, one for AV and Software Updates, and the other for just Email.  I would NOT install the SUS server on the primary one (becuase of IIS).  Or, If your really savy and only want 1 server, install VMware GSX Server 3.1, and make 4 virual servers, one for AV, one for SUS, one For Email, and one for Jabber IM.  Beware! this will significatly use up system reasources, and you may need faster hardware, LOTS more memory, and tons of Disk Space.

My users are very satisfied (except for the Mozilla Firefox, our parent company develops many IE-only websites), Mozilla Thunderbird is definetly one of the better email clients I've worked with, Mercury/32 is (in my opinion) the best email server you can use, and with Apache2/PHP4/MySQL in the mix, I've got one of the most stable and secure web servers you can run.

I know I can't compare 60 users to your 1000, but you'd be surprised how scalable you can make a server by choosing the right software.  On average, this server uses no more than 3-4 % of it's CPU during the entire day. Keep in mind I have some major stuff running on seprate servers as mentioned above.  To run it all on 1 server, reasource usage can increase significatly especialy during the morning rush hour.

Hope this Helps!
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