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Why should I upgrade my servers

My companiy executives dont understand how important Network infractruture really is . I have a awful time trying to convience them to upgrade anything in my network . Everytime I get something they make me try to reuse the old servers some way some how . They made me use a P2 400 MHZ  as a domain controller a DNS and a WINS server . this make me so frustrated when they tell me things are slow .What Im asking for is help with key points i can say why I should not place services on old machines . They want me to re use a old P2 server 400 MHZ to host DNS, DHCP, WINS is this bad and why is it bad ?also I have a good server  Dual 2.4 xeon Processor  but they want Exchange , DNS and to be a domain Controller  can you guys tell me what are some key points i can say to suggest this is a bad Idea .

Thanks

Eddy
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eddybr
Asked:
eddybr
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1 Solution
 
zerofieldCommented:
what i do, and this is effective as hell - it at least covers your own ass - is setup an SNMP monitoring server.

enable/configure the snmp service on the windows machines

setup a cheapass linux machine (this one doesnt need to be that strong.. but dont poll switches, it'd kill it unless you set it to 10 min intervals) and install cacti on it - www.cacti.net

monitor as many resources as you can on each network device.  after a few weeks, the numbers wont lie.  you'll see that either you dont need more cpu/ram, or you do.  Either way you look at it however, newer hard drives will be MUCH faster and much more reliable, and you'd likely not take full advantage of them without faster machines as well.

You can always show them benchmarks between the old ultra scsi you're likely using with that age hardware, and newer SATA or u160/u320 scsi.  Basically you'd expect 20-38mb/sec against 100-200mb/sec, and the fact that the drives are newer and more reliable for your company's ass-ets.

Worst case, it'll only take 1 failure..
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rshooper76Commented:
MRTG can do this as well.  The more data you can show the exec's the more likely you will be able to get your point across.  If they are complaining that it is slow, I would also tell them that it is because of the old hardware.  That may be enough, but if it is you better make sure the new hardware fixes the prolbem or you will loose credibility.
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zerofieldCommented:
cacti uses rrdtool/mrtg..

As i suggested in my original post, after a few weeks of trending and analyzing the results, he should see what he needs, if anything.  If the numbers are in the norm, he'd know to check elsewhere.
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eddybrAuthor Commented:
Would Sniffer pro do the job ??


Eddy
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cmsJustinCommented:
Another convincing thing is to ask them what would happen if they lost all the data on that server, how would it impact them and how much would it cost them. Most of the time it is cheaper to put a proper infrastructure in place than it is to take an unexpected hit.

I had to work in a computer company that had two built-from-scratch s***cans for servers, along with some poor switches. This was not only slow, but took us more time to do upgrades because we spent longer trying to mix and match BS parts. I can spend my lunch break cruising IBM or HP's site and have a server with Windows 2003 installed by the next day if i needed it.

The best thing (or should I say, the "Right" thing) to do is ask for a budget. If your company cant decide on an IT budget its probably not a very good company.

Honestly, I could run a 5-10 employee office on a 400 mhz computer. DNS and DHCP could be on a Linksys router, and you could even host email externally. So, looking at this from the other way, maybe you dont need anything more.

Also, if you really want to have seperate server for everything, but can only afford one or two machines, use vmware. Buy a hefty rackmount IBM or HP server with a s***load of memory in it, and install vmware. Now you can run as many machines as you want on that machine, and divide resources appropriatly. However I dont suggest doing this unless you understand it completely.

But I guess the bottom line is that they complain its slow, so they need to be willing to spend more to make it faster. Do zerofields suggestion and check the numbers.

-Justin
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rshooper76Commented:
I would go with what zerofiueld suggested.  Use that software to monitor you devicces, you will see how much each is used.  You will also be able to see where you are having problems.  I have never used the particuiar package the zerofield mentioned, but if it is using SNMP and MRTG then it should do the trick.
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zerofieldCommented:
sniffing anything at this point isnt really that important, unless he suspects there's broadcast storms or enough (unknown) traffic to justify actually wanting to sniff.

If you do decide to go ahead and sniff it out though, i recommend ethereal given its free and what your needs are (you need samples for your own work, not forensic quality evidence), as opposed to a commercial product that, in my opinion, isnt worth paying for even if you do need something that does what it can do.  I'd rather use snort in conjunction with other freeware tools out there, or enable intense pix logging.

If you're getting gratutious ARP traffic, or a ton of traffic indicative of trojans or viruses, sure, i'd analyze it to the end right now.  Other than that, i'd stick with giving it a few weeks of trending to review.
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eddybrAuthor Commented:
Justin

You said 5 to 10 people on a 400 Mhz server I agree , but let me tell you about my companies size  just in the corp office we have about 225 end users and we have 71 remote locations with some with up to 30 machines but i say mostly avreges about 10 computers . We are a 100 million dollar company with no executives  that understand technology.
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zerofieldCommented:
hah, 100 mil.. i thought my place was bad cus we use pIII age 600-800mhz servers, but we're not even a 20 mil company yet.

I agree with Justin's suggestion fo asking for a budget.  Just to put it into perspective, the last company i worked with was a 55 mil non-profit (which actually means we'd have a bigger budget than a for-profit cus all of the company profit must be put back into the company - big misconception of people to assume non-profits are broke) and we had around $280-300k for an IT budget.  They usually didnt give ALL of it to us, but a good 85%-95% sure enough.

If a 100 mil company wont give you a budget, and its quite astonishing they havent already, then I'd have to question it as Justin implied.  Something is severely flakey or questionable about where the company puts or owes money if they arent pretty damn relaxed about putting out a measly $10-20k to upgrade their infrastucture.  They may be worth 100 mil, but owe $300 mil, etc.

We're hiring for tech support here if you're interested ;)
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PennGwynCommented:
DHCP, WINS, and domain login are not terribly taxing.  Each of these will benefit more from distribution across several moderate boxes than throughing a super-duper gamer box at them -- none of them is a service you want to depend on a single box for.

DNS is similar, but becomes a bit more of a burden if you're using Active Directory.

But once you're talking significant CPU and/or disk space (i.e. Exchange and other network applications), then you want beefy and reliable, and cheap/old stops saving you anything.

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eddybrAuthor Commented:
Zerofield,

believe me getting a new job haved crossed my mind plenty of time , but i find it hard getting a systems admins position anywhere else with only 3 years expirience and being 24 , but here Im incharge of the hole network Corporate and remote locations Im in charge of security and a hole lot s of things learning so much but have no life and sucky pay . I guess im just hoping they relize we need more resources . The companies have made alot of improvements but their still in need of lots more but they always think just cause they piut out one fire they never relize how many more things a complete network needs.
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zerofieldCommented:
I was being sarcastic in offering a TS position, heh.  Just wanted to let you know that i can relate, i feel largely the same way with this company, but it's due to our financial situation here I believe, not a lack of willingness or knowledge.

I think there's been enough said here between everybody to give you as much advice as you can expect from us.  Just play your had diplomatically and well thought out/presented, not in a frustrated "wth are you thinking using this crap" kind of manner, otherwise you'll just bring about more resistance when asking for something that'd be for the good for the company anyway.
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zerofieldCommented:
had = hand
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zerofieldCommented:
hehe accepted my typo correction :p

good luck with everything you got there.  dont get too frustrated with it, remember there's always the potential that it could be a great job if they'd open up the financial floodwaters for you.
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