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What Equipment and software required?

I thought I would seek some advide from the experts.  A company contacted me and asked for some recommendations for hardware/software that they plan on purchasing.   This is their setup, and requirements

14-18 computers need to be networked,  they would like to create an Microsoft exchange mail server,  they would be storing about 25-35 Gigs of information (Cad drawings, PDF files..etc) with each user needing access.  They also run quickbooks for an accounting program.  

Their current server is about 10 years old and has definately seen better days

SInce I will fielding a few questions from them once it's up and running, I'm going to start with Windows 2003 Server. Some of the people that will need to access their email remotely (traveling salesmen) I'm guessing a starting point would be Exchange Server 2003 (using OWA).  Does anybody out there have any expertise with the rest of the puzzle.... and hopefully some ball park cost for the hardware/software.  I'm offering 500 points for some guidance..... thanks  
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mluther223
Asked:
mluther223
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1 Solution
 
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Small Business Server 2003 will be the more economical choice as it includes Exchange and copies of Outlook 2003.

Server - I'd say single CPU with a dual CPU/dual core capable motherboard
2 GB RAM
RAID 5 over 3x73 GB SCSI disks or 3x80GB SATA disks.  (could go with RAID 1 instead)

Looking at probably $4000 for the server, including Small Business Server and Client Access Licenses.
Then Each workstation depends on the company needs.  Average Office/email/web workstation would have a low end CPU and 512 MB of RAM.  Count on $500 and up on the workstations.

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Joseph HornseyPresident and JanitorCommented:
Go with leew's recommendation.  It's right on the money.

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LazarusCommented:
You may want to ask them some simple questions. Like where do they expect to be in 2 years as far as personnel? Going cheap is not always the right thing to do. Going with SBS 2003 is right if the company probeably is not a growth oriented company. But it is more different than you might think. It also has certain limitations that can really kick you in the butt later if you do want to go beyond that setup. It is cost effective, but I don't like it personally. As far as an initail setup though, one good server with SBS is far cheaper than several servers.

Also look at what the size of teh average email is going to be that is sent and recieved. If this is a enginerring shop of some sort sending emails with large files, and large amount of File transfer between workstation and Server you might want to lok hard at a Beefy Server as far as Hard Drive and I/O as well as larger than DSL INET Pipe.
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Joseph HornseyPresident and JanitorCommented:

Lazarus has some good points, however, I still think that leew's recommendation is the right one for several reasons:

1. If the server hardware isn't up to snuff a year from now, you can always upgrade processor (why he recommended single CPU in a dual-capable server), memory, HDD, whatever.
2. If SBS is an issue later, migrating off of it is really easy.

Either way, you're talking about less than 20 users.  SBS will handle hundreds of users without problems, so they've got a really long way to go before they run into an issue requiring an upgrade.

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r_naren22atyahooCommented:
go for a standard company Dell to HP
leew recomendation is good
I prefer SCSI Disks with Raid 5,
as the harddisk size is going to incerease with the CAD Drawings
I prefer the Server with 5RU size, where you have more room to put the harddisks

HP Prolaint servers are good, go with them, they also come with the OEM version of SBS 2003, also include the ISA 2004

regards
naren
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I agree with lazarus98 in that for a proper config, you should ask them more questions both about what they are doing now and what they expect to be doing later.  Unless they are techs, they may THINK they need something, but it's you who should evaluate what they do and determine what they REALLY need.  (I may now be repeating some of what he said, but I want to put it in my own words):

While Small Business Server IS Windows 2003 with Exchange 2003, it IS also a hybrid of Windows.  When you get it, you should forget everything you know about Windows server (well, almost), and setup it up entirely through the use of the Wizards (ask yourself, if I didn't know how to make a user, how would SBS seem to let me make a user - then use the SBS way).  SBS CAN be very picky about things and failing to use the wizards CAN cause problems including logon delays and accessibility issues.  And if you modify the defaults (especially AD OUs) you could break the wizards and create more problems for you.

SBS supports a MAXIMUM of 75 users.  When you begin to approach that number, you need to buy the SBS transition pack, which will remove this limitation as well as other SBS limitations, mostly noted below.  

SBS does not permit trusts.  So if there is a need to connect this company to another via a trust, this cannot be done.

SBS CANNOT operate as an Application Mode Terminal Server - BUT, you CAN have another server running Terminal Services in Application Mode.

SBS Server MUST be the FSMO master DC.  You CAN have additional DCs if there are other sites or they want another server as a backup of sorts for logon purposes.

There are two versions of Small Business Server - Standard (includes Exchange and Outlook) and Premium (includes FrontPage, Exchange 2003, Outlook 2003, ISA 2004, SQL 2000)

Small Business Server will cost considerably less than buying Win2003, Exchange 2003, and CALs for everything.  HOWEVER, you WILL make up that difference if and when the time comes to get the transition pack.

So, HYPOTHETICALLY, if SBS+CALs costs you $3000 and the equivalent non-SBS setup costs you $5000, then the transition pack will cost you $2000.
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LazarusCommented:
Leew, Excellent explanation. That pretty much covers it in a nutshell.

I personally still prefer the Windows Standard 2003 over the SBS but that’s just a personal choice with no budget constraints. As a business judgment, the SBS does make since here if they are working on a budget. SBS does work well and offers a company a quick start-up at low cost. My prejudices come from having on more than several occasions bringing a company into a larger more complex setup that SBS will no longer handle. Sometimes paying a bit more upfront can make alot of since, sometimes not. That’s where you are going to have to ask the right questions so that you can your client the right answer... Are you there to make a quick buck, or give your client the best answer?

SBS will do what you want for sure, have no worries with that. Leew's explanation is very astute on that.

to do your client a service though, you do need to get at his business structure a bit more though. His intention on growth, how many people will actaully be using the server (not just the computers or personell at the site)

It sounds like SBS will more than handle what is going on, the only real hard question then is your hardware running it. A Solid server is key for sure go with what Leew said or beeter if you can afford it. I would not bother with getting only the Single CPU on a 2 CPU board though. Do yourself a favor and get the 2 up front, that way you will make sure that they are matched. (My 2 cents)

Good luck with your project....
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mluther223Author Commented:
Thanks for all the advise...  You pretty much confirmed everything I was thinking about,  I just needed the peace of mind by comfirming it with the experts.  I thank everyone for thier contributions, but I found that leew's advice was the most complete....thanks
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Thanks for the points, but IF the comments of others did contribute to your answer, then you should split the points.  Let me know and I can unaccept the answer for you and you can split them accordingly.

The question is yours and only you know what comments influenced your decision, but in my opinion others, especially lazarus98 made some excellent points as well.
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LazarusCommented:
Thanks Leew, much appreciated but it's not a concern. I just like helping when I can and am not here for the points. I just like keeping my head in the game.
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