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Setting up new cluster, will 3 servers be enough???

Hello,

We currently have about 25 Novell servers in our organisation (most of these are departmental and were introdiced on different sites because of slow links to sites etc) and we are finally taking the plunge of migrating our servers to windows 2003.

We have purchased and installed a EMC san and was origionally looking at setting up several department servers connected to the san but after recomendations from dell and looking thought microsoft documentation it looks like a cluster will be the best way to go.

We have aprox 4000 users and most of these people are standard word and excel users. We are looking at setting up 3 servers in our cluster:
1. For users home directories and personal data
2. For group and team storage
3. Print server and fallover for the other 2 servers.

The servers are going to be top spec with 2003 x64.
Dose anyone have any advice or potential pitfalls to avoid ??
will these servers be able to cope with 4000 users??
I havnt got much experiance with windows as a file server and how it performs etc, im an SQL and exchange administrator usually, so any advice would be appreiciated!!

Cheers

Dave J
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oldhammbc
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oldhammbc
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bilbusCommented:
Well first off

What directory system you going to use? staying with novell?

If not where are the Active directory servers? you are not planing on putting AD on the file servers right?

How many sites do you have?

For just AD
If i was you i would first buy 3-4 dell 1850's (or 850s) (i am assoming you are doing racks) I like 2+ DC servers at the main site, then one DC at each larger remote site.

What kind of wan link do you have?

If you have a MPLS network connection you dont need to worry about vpns or the connection going down at the main office and having the whole network being down.

It is best to have a AD server at each site, because if the wan link goes down they cant do much.

If you have many sites were you planing on having a file server at each site to acount for slow wan links? like with novell.

Make sure all your software is x64 capable. Some software like WSUS will not install on a x64 pc. SQL 2000 will installon a x64 pc, but only in x32 mode.



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bilbusCommented:
You cant have a cluster if all 3 servers do diffrant things
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oldhammbcAuthor Commented:
Bilbus, Sorry i should of clarified, this is not a new ADS installation, we already have a 2003 ADS in place with 3 DC's 3 exchange 2003 servers with about 4000 mailboxes, several sql servers  and some teams use an NT file server. We are just looking at getting all of the users who currently use novell off novell. All of our sites are connected with a minimum of 10mbps LES links which are interconnected and resilient (well at least thats what or comms guys lead me to beleave!! lol) so the cluster would be placed in our centeral data centre. we are looking at buying dell 2850's for this. The cluster will simply be for file and print, nothing more just wondering if 3 servers for 4000 users will be enough ?

Cheers

Dave J

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bilbusCommented:
Congrats on ditching Novell! (i still got a ipx only Novell 4 using Binery at one of my sites)

sounds like MPLS

ya i dont see why not. 2850's are nice boxes. Are you going to put 1300 users on each server, or are you going to use DFS?
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bilbusCommented:
Oh wait, you are using each server for a diffrant file/printing task

Ya that sounds fine

do you know how much storage you need? Have you added up all the storage surrently on all your file servers to see if you have enough?

To be honist i would move 1 department over at a time to see if the server/wan link can support it. You would be surprised how fast a 10mb wan link gets eaten up.

What else is at the datacenter?
Is your exchange server at the datacenter?
What is the link speed at the datacenter?
What is your current usage of your datacenter's bandwidth, do you have anything like mrtg, or access to a router info screen like the PDM for a cisco pix?

Our exchange server has about 500 users and we are hitting our 10mb wan link hard. This is partialy due to the fact that my users are outlook 2000 (no casheing) and they do not want to upgrade to outlook 2003 or exchange 2003 right now. They also send 100's of large files over email each day.
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oldhammbcAuthor Commented:
Sorry i havnt been on for the last week or so, as for the point about the bandwidth on the links, all of the novell servers are currently hosted in the data centre so hopefully the bandwidth will not be affected.
I was just interested to see if 3 servers would do the job :), thanks for your help, dell are hopefully delivering the servers next week so fingers crossed!

Cheers

DJ
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