Separate servers vs one server

Posted on 2006-03-20
Last Modified: 2010-03-18
We are in a workgroup situation soon to migrate to Active Directory.  Our budget is small and we have our backup server (PC) and our anti-virus server (PC) are dying as well as our two Print servers (PCs) are dying, also. That's four PCs to replace, we also will have to get an actual server for AD. We tend to set up PC client machines as servers, obviously to save $
My question is:  what is the best way to go - separate servers for print, backup, anti-virus and AD -OR-
if one or two servers can handle it, which play nice together?  We have about 100 on the network.
Thanks, Marie
Question by:peachymarie
    LVL 23

    Accepted Solution

    My best advice would be 2 servers:

    Server1 = AD (plus DNS, DHCP)
    Server2 = file/print, backup server, A/V server

    Server1 hardware specs:

    Get a simple P4 or greater, with about 1GB RAM, and mirrored 18 or 36GB drives.  That'll be plenty for the AD server.

    Server2 hardware specs:

    P4 or greater, 1GB RAM, RAID 5 with whatever amount of space is necessary for your environment.

    That's pretty much it.  That would suffice just fine for quite a while.  I would personally go with real server hardware from IBM/Dell/HP, you can get them pretty cheap nowadays, the important thing to note in the price difference between a server and a workstation isn't the hardware specs themselves but the warranty.  If you match up a PC and a server with roughly the same hardware specs, you'd probably notice the server being quite a bit more.  Usually that's because of the ease of service, the hardware being a little better (better boards, etc) and the warranty is usually a 3 year parts and labor with next day service.
    LVL 23

    Expert Comment

    Agree with the above advice, but if 100 people are accessing the files and print server I would make sure to use SATA drives.  They read/write much faster and make for a more seamless experience from the end user.
    LVL 23

    Expert Comment

    Thanks for the points!

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