Expanding Windows Architecture

Posted on 2007-03-27
Last Modified: 2010-04-20
I'm looking for some comments on the best way to proceed.   A company currently has two servers.

Server A (Win2k3, Active Directory, Domain Controller, Exchange, File Server)
RAID 1 array for System
RAID 5 array for Data
This server was also configured as a terminal server but that feature has never been used.

Server B(Win2k3R2, SQL Server 2005, File server)
RAID 1 array for System
RAID 5 array for Data

This company is really starting to grow and needs to solidify its architecture.  They will likely be adding 2-3 remote sites to their WAN in the next year.  Due to a recent aquisition, the company as aquired 2 servers with Win2k3 licenses.  1 server has a xeon procesor with 1 RAID1 array.  The other server is really just a PC with Windows 2k3 on it.

All of the services that these newly aquired servers provide have already been migrated into the existing servers, so that the servers can be decommisioned and rebuilt / recommisioned.  

The company has a need for a real Terminal Server soon.  I imagine that to start with 5-10 people would use it, but I could see this expanding to 20-30 within a year or two with perhaps 5-10 concurrent sessions.   Many of the TS users will use a SQL Server app.  The others would do standard office work.  

I also feel that a backup domain controller will be important soon.

The crux of the question is how to allocate the newly aquired servers and redistribute services from the current servers.  I'm happy to give points for any well thought out comments and anecdotes.  Honestly, I'm just looking to validate my own thinking and make sure that I'm covering my bases.

Question by:fitpc
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Accepted Solution

MarkMichael earned 200 total points
ID: 18800286
Sounds like the first two servers have enough to be getting on with :)

Personally, I would make the newly acquired faster machine the Terminal services box. Microsoft recommend you do not install TS on a DC for security reasons, so this would probably be best left as a member server.

I always have reservations using a 'home' server for anything you might come to rely on but assuming it does at least have a RAID array, it could be moved to one of the new remote sites as a local domain controller/global catalog and local file server. Depending on usage it might be worth running DFS between the two sites for failover and centralised backup.

Keep us posted :)
LVL 96

Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 200 total points
ID: 18800658
how large are the remote sites?  Unless they are really small (5 users or less) I would put a single DC at each site, replicating with the main office.  In the main office, I would have 2 DCs (for reliability/redundancy).  

NEVER put Terminal Services on a DC or an Exchange Server (nothing will blow up simply from taking the actions - but it's a horrible idea if you consider e-mail and security to be important.  Frankly, I would buy another server to act as the terminal server.  With the limited use, I wouldn't go nuts on hardware right away - single dual core Xeon with 2 GB of RAM... then monitor it - install more RAM as needed.  Add processors as needed (hardware should support 2 physical CPUs (4 if you can afford it, but those systems are expensive) and preferably quad-core chips for even better growth ability later.

Of course, you only have 4 servers (3 really), so without buying more hardware (at least full systems) what should you do?  Provide more information.

For example:
1. CPUs in each system
2. Models of each server (if possible)
3. Installed RAM in each server
4. How many users at each site (not just terminal server users)


Assisted Solution

Rediers earned 100 total points
ID: 18806307
For an expanding company it might be usefull to start looking at an VMWare or other Virtualization solutions. You will need to expand in the future and with virtual servers it's easier to upgrade or move around your hardware. And the overhead is currently no longer an issue.
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 18806360
I'm afraid I can't agree there, virtualisation is only good for very low utilisation servers in my experience and you certainly don't want to virtualise a terminal server.

Author Comment

ID: 18807353
Thanks for your comments guys, I'm going to recommend that they stay away from vitualization for the time being.

For more information on usage and the bigger picture.  Exchange is currently servicing about 60 mailboxes (30+ local and 20+ remote via RPC/HTTPS and 5+ remote POP3 which are hoping to go away soon) and there will likely be 25 more users in the next 6+ months and perhaps up to 50-75 more users  (that would make about 100-125 rough total estimate) or so in the next year+.   One of the remote sites will likely get its own exchange server and have 50-100 mailboxes within 1-2 years.  That site would also have its own AD, file server, database and possibly a terminal server.  I expect to recommend that other sites only get an AD / File server.  Most of these sites are likely to generate a lot of data which will be mostly used at the local site, so while I would like to recommend that they employ DFS over the WAN, I only think that this will be feasible/required for selected shares.

In total they're expecting 1 large remote site with lots of its own infrastructure (at a very remote location unfortunately with potentially only satellite or perhpas a microwave link for coms) and then 3-4 smaller sites in well connected areas ranging from 15-40 users which I would like to get away with just a local AD / File server.  I expect the sites to be connected to an already existing WAN in some capacity.

Back to the specs of the current servers.  Servers A and B are currently being used while the other two (Server C and Server D) are ready to be recommissioned.  

Server A:
IBM x346 Series
1x3.0 Ghz Xeon HT Proc.
1X RAID1 system array
1x RAID5 data array (3 drives)
1Xhot spare
6/6 drive slots full  (SCSI U320 10k)
~300 GB total space
-attached to external tape library

Server B:
IBM x346 Series
1x3.0Ghz Xeon HT Proc.
1X RAID1 system array
1x RAID5 data array (3 drives)
0xhot spare
5/6 drive slots full (SCSI U320 10k)
~600 GB total space
-currently backed up via Server A's external tape library using network on second NIC

The Main Server from the acquistion (server C):
HP ML350
1x2.8Ghz Xeon HT Proc
1xRAID5 system/data array (3 drives)
0xhot spare
3/6 drive slots full  (SCSI U320 10k)
~130 GB total space
1 internal Ultrium tape drive (10 tapes I think)

Secondary server from acquisition (Server D):
Home Grown Generic (think I remember a Gigabyte mainboard)
1x 3Ghz Pentium 4 D (HT)
Windows 2003
1xRAID1 array
2/2 drive slots full (IDE 7200RPM)
~75 GB total space
1 internal VXA2 tape drive (no tapes)

As I've been forced to flush out this data I realised that the primary server from the acquisition is RAID5 not RAID1 and the homegrown server is using an IDE  RAID1 controller (IT8211 chipset) integrated into the motherboard.

My thinking is that they redeploy server D as a Domain controller, and Server C as a Terminal Server.  Leave the TS license server on Server A for ease, but move the licenses allocated to A to C as they have never been used anyway (there are only 5).   Anyone have a recommendation on where the GC etc should be in this picture with respect to minimising disruptions etc.

Thanks again,
LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 18808949
Virtualization in Longhorn is MUCH, MUCH better and has some pretty cool capabilities - not to mention, it should be designed to work with Intel and AMD chips that can significantly improve performance of the VMs.  I agree, NO virtualized Terminal Server.  Virtualized DCs, sure.  Even web servers.  DNS and DHCP servers... but not SQL, Exchange, Terminal Services.

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