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Network and Hardware Planning

Posted on 2009-04-06
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I have been assigned the task of planning and designing a new midsize network for my firm. The network will consist of 60 users, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL, Remote Access and VOIP for phones.

I'm not sure on the approach I should take, I was thinking something along these lines:

Server Roles
------------------
One server for AD
One server for Exchange
One server for MSSQL
One server for File Server

Is it feasible to save on getting the fourth server by combining the file server and AD server roles to a single server?

I'm not very familiar with virtualization, should I be considering it as a better alternative?
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Question by:thewzard
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by:chuckyh
ID: 24086495
To fully take advantage of virtualization you'll need a SAN. Do you plan on having a SAN? I think the 4 server count is fine, combining AD and file is ok for 60 users, how much growth do you plan to have?
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by:netskyb0
ID: 24086515
You should consider work load for every-role:

AD won't load much.
MSSQL: quite a lot if you have large db
Exchange for all 60 users: big load
File Server: quite nuthing

You can have:

1server --> AD + Exchange (You admin users, workstations and mails), maybe also fileserver(if small amount of data)
1server --> MSSQL and File Server obviusly if your File Server works only locally, otherway consider a NAS unit for FileServer.

Otherway think about a single server for all roles, you have to know first how your users will work, MSSQL activity, numer of mails, you should FIRST know your people and then think about it.

With virtualization you will have the same problem PLUS virtualization, then only 1 vantage is that you have more control and less hardware-related problems......quite..
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Accepted Solution

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Mestha earned 500 total points
ID: 24086556
60 users I would be looking at a minimum of three servers.
Server 1: AD and File server
Server 2: Dedicated Exchange
Server 3: AD and SQL.

I would not put Exchange on to a domain controller as that greatly complicates disaster recovery and is against best practises.
You really need to have two domain controllers so if one fails you do not lose the entire domain. Both are global catalogs of course.

I don't think you can really consider VMs as an alternative, because you still have to look at the physical hardware. For example you do not want to have both domain controllers on the same physical machine, because if that machine fails then you will have problems.

Databases (both Exchange and SQL) are very hard on storage, so while you will get some gain by going VM, in that you spend more on one larger machine rather than two smaller systems, you would still have to look at the storage bottleneck.

Simon.
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Expert Comment

by:qualchoice-it
ID: 24087688
You also mentioned a VOIP solution.  Who do you plan on going with? I just helped my company roll out its first VOIP solution, we went with Shoretel, very competitive in price and extremely easy to administer
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Author Comment

by:thewzard
ID: 24094792
In the next year and a half or so we might be looking at 80+ user network. But I've been instructed to focus on the present. As it stands we have ~42 users and I'm planning for 60.

I don't think a SAN is in our budget ATM. How much do you think that'll run us? I gotta read more into SANs, with all of the other stuff going on, I haven't even considered it. Thanks for the tip.

VOIP: Avaya or Cisco. I was thinking about Nortel as an alternative. Any suggestions? I really like Avaya. We currently have an Avaya IP Office system and its pretty straight forward and simple to use.

By the way, do I need to plan to dedicate any server resources to the VOIP system? Our Avaya voicemails are running on a dedicated box running XP Pro.

As Methsa mentioned earlier, I'm thinking about going with:

One Server for AD and file sharing
One Server for Exchange
One server for SQL and AD

but what should I do for backups? I was thinking about doing a fourth server (smaller less expensive server) with Windows Storage Server 2003 along with a TB NAS and offsite backups of the mission critical data. I'm still undecided in this category.
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Author Closing Comment

by:thewzard
ID: 31567346
Thanks guys
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