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reduce number of Domain Controllers

Posted on 2009-07-13
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I have a network I've inherited in a secondary school.
We have a fibre-optic backbone with gigbit switches linking together all the classrooms  / buildings on site.
We have four Domain Controllers
1 x Exchange Server
1 x SQL Server
1 x Backup server
1 x NAS box
There are 1000 students, 70 teachers, 30 support staff.
400 client computers running XP Pro
We are on a support contract for the Windows Servers (as well as hardware warranty). Each Domain controller adds £750 to the support cost.

In 12 months time I plan to ditch the support contract altogether, but in the meantime I think I can reduce the DCs to two, thus simplifying things AND saving the school £1500 pa.

My question is this:
In what way might I need to improve the spec of the remaining DCs to cope with the demand?
Do I need to think about processor speed? RAM? Network connections?
The servers have two Xeon 3Ghz (single core processors); 2 Gb RAM; 1 x fibre and 1 x Gbit network connections

Services across the 4 DCs are:
DHCP
DNS
AD
Print Serving (40 printers)
User accounts (roaming profiles)

I don't have the budget for hardware replacement (new Servers) this year.
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Question by:ComputerFundi
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6 Comments
 
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akrdm earned 500 total points
ID: 24840289
You would need to look at upgrading the memory on the Servers if you are going to start running multiple applications on one box.  Your network cards/connections seem to be fast enough and the processors should probably be ok.  I would focus on upgrading the Ram in the systems.  These are my suggetions.
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Assisted Solution

by:Alan_White
Alan_White earned 500 total points
ID: 24840291
Can't you just take these two off maintence.  If they go bang in the mean time, so what.
I would question having DC as Print Servers.
When you say they are doing roaming profiles, are the profiles actually roaming to and from the DCs?  If so, I'd question this too and suggest you move these to your NAS.
Have you looked into virtualisation yet?  DCs work quite nicely under VMware.
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Assisted Solution

by:Paul Solovyovsky
Paul Solovyovsky earned 500 total points
ID: 24843823
I agree with Alan, you can virtualize some DCs and print servers so that you do not have to have as many physical servers and you can justify the cost of virtualization with the reduction in electric bills which should be easy to calculate
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LVL 10

Assisted Solution

by:JonLambert
JonLambert earned 500 total points
ID: 24845178
With the Specs you already have, what the servers are actually performing, and 400 clients, personally I think that you would NOT have an issue with dropping down to two DCs at all, though the preferable option would be to move the File and Print services off to another box.  If you are unsure, user PerfMon to do some performance monitoring of the existing servers to see what sort of load they are under (I expect you will be supprised about how little they are utilised)

Monitor % Proccessor Time, Network (NBT Connection) and Physical Disk queue.  And I think you will find that the existng servers are actually doing very little.
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