Dimension E521 as a SBS 2003 Server

Posted on 2007-10-11
Last Modified: 2010-04-19
I have a client who wants to use a Dimension E521 as a SBS 2003 Server.  It has 4 GB of ram and has a RAID 1 PCI card with two 250 GB drives.  There are 10 people in the office.  Should I try to dissuade him and if so, what can I tell him?  Or is this okay?  He already has the E521 and does not want to spring for a new tower.
Question by:brihaspati79
    LVL 9

    Assisted Solution

    As long as SBS 2003 supports the hardware, it should work.

    What is the servers purpose?  Running Exchange and Active Directory?  File Server?
    Will it host any client-server applications that require CPU and IOps?

    If i were in those shoes, i would definitely explain all the points of failure, inclduing performance hits he is goign to take, by going with cheap hardware vs nicer hardware with redundancy built in.

    But in the end, its his decision most likely, money will guide that choice.  However, as his Tech, he should expect you to present him with the "reasons why not" and then let him chose.  

     - Brugh

    LVL 3

    Assisted Solution

    This will work, It will not have quite the performance, expandability or dependability of a actual server.
    It limits their future growth possibilities.
    LVL 5

    Assisted Solution

    I would tell him that running enterprise software on  non-enterprise hardware is a recipe for disaster.

    First let's start with basic server hardware - ECC memory. Much more stable.
    Workstation vodeo drivers on a server - not typically good. Notice they don't put that sh* on servers.
    Workstation NIC. Not a server NIC.
    No hot swap. More downtime.
    10 people on SATA RAID 1? That perofrmance will suck if your using it as your main file and email server, not to mention the antivirus that should be running on it.
    I wouldn't put more than 5 people on that box.
    Dimension is low end on the power supply. I want my business to rely on that POS.

    Is this under warranty? If it goes down, will you have to go and find the parts, or will they bring them to you.

    Lastly, if 10 people are costing the company $50 an hour overhead ($500 an hour), if the server is down for 4 hours you have paid for a server, but have now losr 4 hours productivity.

    Hardware is the cheapest part of the equation. Labor will equal the price of the server, so why put it on junk.

    I've seen this happen so many times. I will not do this for customers. They can find another vendor. I will not put good software on junk.

    I have SBS, I also have an E521. They will never meet each other.

    LVL 39

    Assisted Solution

    It should work OK, even it is not recommended. For long run and wise investment, the server type would be nice to have.
    LVL 9

    Expert Comment

    ^ you could probably carry on that list for days.  It's a very bad idea, but can "work."

    "I have SBS, I also have an E521. They will never meet each other."

    nice.   Mine just make some occaional  RPC passes at eachother :)

    - brugh

    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    :-). Yes it can work. In fact, it may work fine. It's just more that when it doesn't, you'll be the one cataching the grief, and the late night to fix....

    I do understand....constraints are fun!
    LVL 74

    Accepted Solution

    One thing that I learned very early on when I started learning about SBS and servers overall... PC's aren't Servers.

    It took awhile for me to actually get it until someone showed me the architecture differences between a Server-class Motherboard and a PC Motherboard.    I have deployed SBS on PC's for 1-3 person home offices, but would never even think of doing so for any more... especially if Exchange is running.  

    I realize that they already have this machine... but if they leased a new PowerEdge 840 it would only cost them about $30.00/month.  Considering that they have 10 employees, just an hour of down-time each year would cost them more than that.  They should keep the E521 or the least powerful PC as a spare in case one of their workstations crashes... because they always do, and then that worker has at least a half day or more of wasted time... again usually more than the cost of the machine.


    Author Comment

    Thanks all, I whole heartily agree.  I just needed some reasons.

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