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Advice on server purchase for MS Sql

We need advice on server purchase.  We currently have an old HP server (5 yrs.) that is acting as domain controller, dns server, and MS Sql database server.  We have as many as 6 users logged in at any one time--most of the time three to four.  We are running Windows 2000 server.  We want to add another server and move the database to it.  The database is the back end for our accounting application.  The front end resides on each users workstation.  To save money, we are considering a used server.  My questions are what are specs to get good performance from database server,  will we be better off keeping old server as domain controller and with new server is there appreciable difference between SCSI and SATA drives?  Also, is buying used bad idea?  
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dur2348
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dur2348
3 Solutions
 
DavidPresidentCommented:
Buying used is a great idea ... but don't buy used disk drives, unless you know how many hours they have on them, and they aren't at the end of their usable life.  SCSI/SAS/FC disks have the ability to report total powered on hours and cumulative errors since the epoch, along with grown defects.    Find out what those numbers are.

I would also take this opportunity to virtualize the machine.  Then you can stay with Win2K because it obviously has served you well.  Once you have it running as a VM, then you can migrate it forever and never have to worry about compatibility issues.

Difference between SATA & SCSI drives is well documented via google or wikipedia, for all intents and purposes, they will not be an "upgrade" for what you have now, so don't bother reading more on them.

You can easily get a used HP DL family industrial server with new SAS disks and hardware RAID1 or RAID10 for under $2000 at ebay, and convert your Win2K into a virtual machine and run in ESXi 4.0 for well under $2000, and have it all up and running in a few hours, and not have to change a thing in your Win2K except for a few minor settings.

That is what you should do.
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bluepigCommented:
I would lean in the other direction. Make the new server Windows 2003 R2. Your current server can stay online and provide backup Active Directory (and maybe other services, plus a convenient place to put some backups or archives). I would buy a new server with an extended warranty. You don't need a super powerful or expensive machine for what you are doing, but if you buy used and it has hardware trouble you will quickly burn up your savings in repair costs. Don't bother with SCSI - put in four drives and set them up in Windows as C: mirrored to C: and D: mirrored to D:
You are looking at less than $2500 if you go entry level server.
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dur2348Author Commented:
For dlethe let me see if I understand correctly--you suggest to virtulize our current machine then migrate to new machine and retire our old server.  
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beesterCommented:
I would never buy a used server. I'd rather buy a non-server computer to use as a server instead if cost is an issue. You can set up pretty secure systems with 'ordinary' hardware as well, but of course never as good as server hardware.

the main things you need for SQL server are:

1. The more IO, the merrier. Install several small disks in a RAID instead of one or two large disks.
2. The more RAM, the merrier.
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dur2348Author Commented:
Thanks to all for the help.  We are still weighing choices, but this information will definitely help us.
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