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Windows 2003 new setup (AD, DHCP, DNS, DFS, Exchange, TS, SMS, etc)

Posted on 2006-11-30
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
We are purchasing new hardware/software to run:
-2 DC's (AD, DFS, DHCP (80/20 rule), DNS, File server) [2 Dell PowerEdge 2950's servers]
-2 Exchange servers [2 Dell PowerEdge 2950's]
-2 Terminal Servers [2 Dell PowerEdge 6850's]

**Dell PowerEdge 2950's hardware configuration:
2 Dual Core Intel® Xeon® 5120, 4MB Cache, 1.86GHz, 1066MHz FSB
4GB 533MHz (4x1GB), Dual Ranked DIMMs
Dual Embedded Broadcom® NetXtreme II 5708 Gigabit Ethernet NIC
RAID1 or RAID5 73GB, SAS, 3.5-inch, 15K RPM Hard Drive (To be used for OS only, I use RAID1 mostly)
Windows Server® 2003 R2, Standard Edition or Enterprise.
Dell Remote Access Card, 5th Generation for PowerEdge Remote Management
Redundant Power Supply with No Cord

**Dell PowerEdge 6850's hardware configuration:
Quad 2.6GHz/800Mhz/4mb Cache, Dual-Core Intel® Xeon 7110M Processors
32GB DDR2 400MHZ(16X2GB), Dual Ranked DIMMs
Dual Embedded Broadcom® NetXtreme II 5708 Gigabit Ethernet NIC
Windows Server® 2003 R2, Standard Edition or Enterprise.
Dell Remote Access Card, 5th Generation for PowerEdge Remote Management
Redundant Power Supply with No Cord

Facts:
-Amount of users: Around 60 possible growth to 70 in 2 months. Email exchange average 30+ emails per day/user, even more when deadlines approach.
-Currently using POP3 for email, trying to move everything to Exchange, 5 SMTP domains: domain1.com, domain2.com, etc.
-Gigabit network running CAT6, 8 Netgear GSM7224 L2 switches, 3 buildings connected through CAT6 cabling.
-Since users will be able to connect to OWA and RDP, should I get another 2 servers whose purpose is to run IIS in order to "protect" the real TS, Exchange servers? Even though we purchased an Astaro Security Gateway 320 security appliance with 3 years platinum maintenance, email security, web security. We don't think other IIS servers are necessary.....robust (and expensive $$,$$$) firewall.
- We cannot use anything else besides Dell, we are members of the "Dell Business Alliance Division"; pricing is great!
- Using two servers on each task for fault tolerance.
- Programs used include: ProSeries, Lacerte, QuickBooks, CFS, Creative Solutions, MS Office, Infinitime, maybe QuickBooks Enterprise Solution in the near future, etc.

Questions:
1) "Broadcom TCP/IP Offload Engine" should be enabled or disabled?
2) Use Dell PowerEdge PERC5/i SAS RAID Controller/PCI Express or PERC4/DC or PERC4/eDC?
3) Dell GOLD ENTERPRISE SUPPORT or SILVER ENTERPRISE SUPPORT
4) Open manage is  necessary? We are planning to use MS SMS to update clients: AV, MS updates, Software updates, etc.
5) Should we have all data from the Dell 2950's (File server & Exchange) on each server meaning a RAID1 for the OS and a RAID5 for the data on each server? or a PowerVault™ MD1000 Disk Storage Enclosure for each set of servers meaning 2.
6) We were planning on using DFS on each DC, but we just realized one of the applications we use (Infinitime time attendance software) needs to have the data locally......Should we install the application on the DC's (server software) and install the client software on the TS's? OR run all data using DFS on the Terminal Servers. In our lab this sometimes causes problems (Profiles, folder redirection); what do you think?
7) Windows 2003 Standard or Enterprise?
8) Exchange Standard or Enterprise?
9) Hardware overkill?
10) How to backup all those servers? Dell autoloader?
11) Run load balance or Cluster?


Looks like a large post......should I split it into different parts?
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Question by:romlopez
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by:d50041
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You did not state if all users were in a single site and IP segment or if users were in multiple physical locations connected by slow connections.

I have a small remote site that needs instant access to a critical app.  WAN replication was too slow for this and even a mapped drive to the server holding the app was too slow.  Solved the problem by providing an older PC and setting up the remote users to use Remote Desktop Connetion so all they put on the wire is screen shots.

Other than that I swear by DFS.
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Pber earned 500 total points
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1) The TCP/IP offload engine.  Good idea in theory, but sometimes has issues.  If you extract the Broadcom drivers from the DELL Service and Diagnostics CD and look at the file called ReadMeFirst.txt.  It will give you scenarios where TOE reduces speed.

2) I would go with the PERC5/i SAS.  The array controller is much better than the PERC4's.  If you want the PERC4, go with the express version.

3) Dell Gold support.  If you like horrible service, go with silver.  With Dell, you get what you pay for.

4) Open Manage is used to monitor the servers, you will want this.  This will give you alerts if you have hardware issues, etc.  It will also push updates to servers like drivers/firmware.  SMS will not do that.

5) This is a personal opinion.  Personally we put as much data on our SAN as possible.  You will need the storage if you plan on clustering.  Usually we put the OS on a raid 1 set and any other disk does on the SAN.

6) You probably want to have the data not on the TS boxes.  I personally wouldn't put that on my DC's, but if you have no other servers, it is probably a better choice than the TS boxes (from the problems you are having).

7/8) The 2950's only have 4 GB, so Standard edition would probably be enough for the DC's.  With exchange you have different things to consider.  Public folders and number of mail boxes are limited in standard versions.  Unless you have a large org, you are probably fine with Standard.  The TS servers will require enterprise because of the 32gb of ram.

9) The 6850's might be a little big for TS.  We use 2850/2950's for all of our TS servers and depending on the application, we can put about 100 users/server.  We have one graphics mapping application that is a memory PIG and we were only getting about 6 users with 2003 Std/server.  We moved it to a 6850 with 2003 x64 and we get about 30 users/server.

10) Backup... Personal opinion.  If you have lots of data you might need a robot library.  Other than that, local tape backup might be fine.  Backup to disk, then archive to tape is good too.

11) Clustering Exchange is good and quite solid.  TS has it's own Network Load balancing which is rock solid and we have 40+ TS servers in our citrix farm.  We also has F5 load balancer, but we only use that for more advanced requirements.


Anyhow, those are my personal opinions.  Hope that helps.
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by:romlopez
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Sorry about that I forgot.
All users are in one single site, 1 physical location, 1 IP segment (thank GOD). Near future we'll have a small remote site, but since we will be using TS, users will just use SSL VPN into it. No dumb PPTP, IPSEC VPN's; mapped drives; slow connections! Great!
But, CEO wants an additional server in his house. He has Comcast Cable (about 6+ mbps), will get an additional line with static IP which sole purpose is to replicate data through IPSEC VPN using DFS (both file server data and Exchange).
Speaking of which, main site has 3 T1's.

1) Got to read into that...
2) That's what I though too, thanks for making me feel more confident
3) Gold is almost as twice as Silver.......I will think about this.....
4) I've never used SMS. I guess we can use Open Manage on servers and SMS on workstations/servers.
5) I've never used SAN's before; I've read a lot about it but I've never setup one myself. (It would be nice though) That is why I was thinking about placing the data locally on each server or PowerVault™ MD1000 Disk Storage Enclosure for each set of servers (1 set = 2 servers) (Price is about the same though....)
Regarding this: How would DFS be "replicating data" since the data is only in one place using two servers?
6) I have no choice but to install the software on the DC's since the software requires the data locally, run the client on the TS's; I'll use DFS though.
7/8) You are right, DC's would run on Standard Edition with NLB (if data is stored locally on each DC) if not Enterprise with Clustering.
The TS's must run on Enterprise, since clustering doesn't work too well on TS's, we'll use NLB.
Since we have about 5 SMTP domains and email exchange is very high, we'll use Exchange Enterpise. (I'm not sure how I'm going to get Exchange with 5 SMTP domains, OWA to work though.......I have a couple of ideas)
9) If you do not mind me asking, what sort of applications do you run on your TS's?
I know that ProSeries, Lacerte, QuickBooks and Creative Solutions require a minimum of 1 GB of RAM to run. Right now the softwares are running in Dell Optiplex GX620's with Intel PentiumD 3.2Ghz, 1GB ram, SATAII HD's and even on those powerful machines sometime it lags when you have 4 or more of those applications mentioned above running. (Note: We have 9 years of ProSeries software, 9 of Lacerte, 3 of QuickBooks, 6 Creative Solution apps.)
MS states to use a minimun 128MB of RAM per user, since those apps are Processor/Memory PIGS I would think 512MB per user: 512 * 60 = 30GB ram would do.
Let me know your thoughts.
10) In the long run, a Dell autoloader might be cheaper than than local tape backup (6 servers) I want to set it up, then forget about it. (You know what I mean :)
11) Exchange clustering sounds about right ( I tried to set it up before, but got into some issues, I will create a new thread with this question)
TS's and NLB works, I've tested it in our LAB. We won't run Citrix though....:( (Is it needed?)

Thanks a lot for your comments!

I will move some questions into new threads (This thread is worth more than 500 points). Not to mention, too many questions being asked!
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