New Servers needed what should i buy??

OK So i currently have a domain which consists of 50 XP Pro clients and 3 2k3 Servers 1 for exchange 1 for file and print and application sharing and one is a terminal server.  I have 2 Rack mount  Dell PowerEdge 2650 servers which need replacing.  I dont know wether to just replace my existing rackmount servers with HP or Delll or if i should change it completely and Go for a blade server setup using NAS?

I dont know a whole lot about blade servers and their advantages so any advice of pro's and cons of either server would be appreciated.  

We are also about to implament Avaya IP Office 500 VoIP.  I'd just thought i'd throw that in :)
JCSUKAsked:
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andyalderCommented:
Without a SAN VMware can't fail over and a SAN is overkill for 50 users, you might end up with a cheap non-redundant one that's less reliable than the servers.

HP are generally a couple of years in front of Dell on the management tools but for only 3 servers that's not so much of a problem. Onboard integrated lights out on HP's is a boon for remote management especially if you accidentally shut down instead of rebooting since you can press the virtual power button from your desktop, again not so important if the servers are in your office though.

Don't compare the two with web prices, HP sell mainly through resellers so their web price is higher than a reseller will let you have the kit for; Dell are often the other way around, they are primarily a direct online reseller so you may even pay more through a reseller than through the web and in buying direct you lose the advice the reseller will give you.

Performance for file server and Exchange is all about disks so there's no need to compare performance between the two, it's down to the RAID controller and the number and speed of the disks. One fairly low end CPU will do, they're all dual or quad core anyway now.

chingmd is right about blades. Blades take less power than normal servers but generally you can't get many disks in them* and with 3 servers you're not short of space. *you can attach 6 plus the 2 internal ones with HP but it uses up an extra server slot. You can even put a tape drive blade in the chassis but who would want to?
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Brian PiercePhotographerCommented:
Without knowing more about "how" you use the systems and "what" you use them for its difficult to advise. Three servers for 50 clients seems adiquate - if not generous - why do you feel the servers need upgrading?
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weareitCommented:
Which two servers are you replacing (Exchange, File or Terminal Server)?

-saige-
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JCSUKAuthor Commented:
OK i seem to have some hardware faults with the embedded server management side of things.  The servers are entering their 5th year and i am really pre planning the upgrade if its necessary.

The two rack mount servers are my exchange 2003 server and the File print and application server.
thanks
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weareitCommented:
Are you wanting to upgrade to Exchange 2007?

-saige-
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JCSUKAuthor Commented:
Its definitely an option
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markmemsCommented:
Another option is to get two loaded servers and use virtualization, such as VMware or Microsoft Virtual Server. The two servers gives you redundancy.

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/virtualserver/
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chingmdCommented:
Besides doing a technology refresh on your hardware, the setup you have seems to be fine.   If you are upgrading to exchange, look at the requirements for it.    

I don't think that a blade setup is the right direction for you.   The initial cost of the cabinet is prohibitive for a small installation.  The footprint of the hardware is very attractive, but you also need to consider initial cost, power consumption/concentration, and cooling.     As well most of the suggested configurations for a blade consolidation include a SAN, which can increase initial costs again.

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JCSUKAuthor Commented:
Another option is to get two loaded servers and use virtualization,

Do you mean buy two new rackmount servers and use virtualization?  What would be the advantages of this?  I dont really know anything about virtualization although i did use it whilst on a microsoft 2000 course
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weareitCommented:
The main thing is ensuring that you don't get too wild with your configuration...  I can really ensivsion a PowerEdge 2950 for your new file and print server (get large disks) and a PowerEdge 6850 for your Exchange Server...

The nice thing about this update, is that you can reallocate the two server that you are replacing and make them Domain Controllers.  You can also load DNS and WINS on them so that you can get some redundancy.

-saige-
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markmemsCommented:
Yep, two rackmount servers. Basically, you can put multiple 'virtual' servers on one physical server. It's fairly simple to replicate/backup. The second server gives you hot backup if one fails. Or, if you don't need hot recovery, you can use one server with a good backup and just restore to a new server. Depends on your needs. The only problem I know of is if you have an app that requires some weird hardware. If you're all basic off-the-shelf Microsoft, no problems.
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weareitCommented:
Problem with this though is that if you have a catastrophic hardware failure all your virtual servers are down...  Instead of just the effected server...

-saige-
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Brian PiercePhotographerCommented:
You still have not answered the primary question. Why do you want to replace the servers, what additional benefits/performance/features are you looking for.

Only when you have answered these questions are you ready to look at what hardware you need to provide this.
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JCSUKAuthor Commented:
Sorry KCTS: i thought i already answered this.  I am getting a ESM fail message at startup we've updated the firmware and its not going away.  the ESM error is being caused by DRACIII  which is embedded in the motherboard.  This is having the side effect that means i cant use OMSA so i cant monitor the servers hardware
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Brian PiercePhotographerCommented:
OK so you dont want any more features/functionality, just replace faulty hardware. I don't know what I can add that hasn't been said already - blade servers do have a very good reputation.
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JohnjcesCommented:
But spendy when you have to purchase the backplane then each blade. They are great if you need a bunch of servers in, I think an 8 U space. If I was just going to replace 2 or 3 rack mount servers, and have no plans on adding more into the next few years, I would just replace the current rack mount units with new rack mount units.

How is your service with Dell and HP? Due to great service from IBM, I will pay the extra few dollars and go with IBM equipment. We have HP servers (cluster) and their Hard Ware service really sucks. But it could be different on what part of the world you are in.

My 2 cents.

John
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