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Need to rebuild network.

Posted on 2010-08-26
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Hello and thank you for taking the time out to read my question and sharing your expertise.

A new client is getting a new server. Their old IT support did not do such a great job. Since they are getting a new server and it's a fairly small office 12 workstations. I decide this would be a good time to rebuild the network as well.

Current Set up:

1 server 2003 sbs sp2 (w/ 2 NIC's)
12 wks. running XP PRO
Hosted Exchange
ISP is Cable BIZ class

They have two modems. 1 for 4 tel. lines & 1 for 4 tel. lines and internet
The internet modem is connected to a Cisco 851 Series Router (owned by cable company)
Then it runs through a WatchGurad FireBox x5 Edge Firewall. From there it runs through the router and to the switch.

MODEM --> ROUTER --> FIREWALL --> SERVER --> SWITCH --> WORKSTATIONS


What we are getting them is:

Server:

=============================================================================
Processor      Intel® Xeon® E5530, 2.4Ghz, 8M Cache, Turbo, HT, 1066MHz Max Mem  (WILL CHANGE TO DUAL CORE)
Additional Processor      Single Processor Only
Memory      8GB Memory (2x4GB), 1333MHz Dual Ranked RDIMMs for 1 Processor, Advanced ECC, Mirror
Operating System      Windows Server®2008SP2, Standard Edition,x86, Includes 5 CALs
Hard Drive Configuration      RAID 5 for PERC S300 Controller, 3-6HDDs
Primary Controller      PERC S300 3Gb/s SAS/SATA Internal Software RAID adapter
Hard Drives (Multi-Select)      500GB 7.2K RPM SATA 3.5" Hot Plug Hard Drive
Power Supply      Power Supply, Redundant, 580W
OS Partitions      80GB Microsoft OS Partition Override
Embedded Management      iDRAC6 Enterprise
Network Adapter      Intel® Gigabit ET NIC, Dual Port, Copper, PCIe-4
Client Access Licenses      5-pack of Windows® Server 2008 User CALs (Standard or Enterprise)
Internal Optical Drive      DVD-RW, SATA, Internal
System Documentation      Electronic System Doc, OpenManage DVD Kit with Dell Management Console
Power Cords      2x NEMA 5-15P to C13 Wall Plug, 125 Volt, 15 AMP, 10 Feet (3m), Power Cord
Keyboards, Mice, Displays and Related Devices      Keyboard and Optical Mouse, USB, Black, English, with 17 LCD Monitor
Hardware Support Services      3 Year ProSupport for IT and NBD On-site Service
============================================================================

For Firewall: SonciWall TZ 210 Wireless-N (I think this might be an over kill)
Buffalo 2TB RAID1 NAS to image the server.
I was also planning on replacing their outdated 24 port linksys switch (any recommendations)
Exchange will most likely be hosted as well.

If anyone could recommend a good network topology/hardware I would really appreciate it. Your time is valued as always.

~Thank you...
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Question by:loshdog
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Expert Comment

by:bpl5000
ID: 33538908
Ok, first for the switch I would recommend the HP ProCurve 1810G - 24.  It's a web manageable gig switch.  We have about 120 of these switches and they work great.  We use to be a cisco shop, but when money started getting tight, we switched to HP and haven't been disappointed.

For the server, the Intel Xeon E5530 is a nice quad core processor.  That processor with 8 gig of memory and a raid 5 array will have no problem serving 12 workstations.  The only thing I would question is if your backup plan.  I would recommend using a product like Acronis Backup and Recovery or Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery.  Both are capable of restoring to dissimilar hardware.

As for your network topology, given that there are only 12 workstations, I would just have a flat network with only one vlan.  For the firewall, I like your plan to use the SonicWall TZ 210.  I use a Cisco ASA, which I am very happy with, but SonicWall does make a good product.

I would image you will have the new server run DNS and DHCP.  The firewall will be your default route and the employees can use the SonicWall to VPN to their network.  You can also VPN to their network and solve problems remotely.  Any other concerns?
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by:SysExpert
SysExpert earned 100 total points
ID: 33544119
I would look at win 2008 R2  ( not SP2 )

Other than that, I think that this is probably overkill for 12 people unless they are doing heavy duty graphics design or SQL DB work.

 I hope this helps !
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by:pmanno
pmanno earned 150 total points
ID: 33544576
You probably know this already but:
Operating System      Windows Server®2008SP2, Standard Edition,x86, Includes 5 CALs

You'll need more CALs (one for each user if user cal, one for each workstation if device cal.  Also, don't forget about device cals for shared printer(s)).

Also, I see RAID5 with 500G HDD.  How many drive bays are there, how many drives are you using?  I would go with fast (15k SAS) RAID1 for the OS on smaller drives, then create another RAID5 volume (SATA) (with spare) for network shares and such.  For example, if the machine has six drive bays, put in two 30G drives for the OS in a RAID1, then four 500G in RAID5 (with one drive as a hot spare).  RAID1 will be faster for paging while RAID5 will be better for file shares that don't change so much.  Have you considered long-term storage options?  Perhaps LTO-4 tape backup?  There is nothing more reliable.  Many talk about disk backup, which is a good middle ground, but if you have to have things keep for a long, long time, I would recommend getting an LTO-4 drive in there somewhere, if budget allows.
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Expert Comment

by:bpl5000
ID: 33549441
I agree with pmanno, you would want a mirrored OS... don't put it on the raid5.  I wouldn't go to the expense of SAS.  We use SAS on many of our servers, but we have over 1,700 workstations and laptops so some servers are getting hit hard.  We do have some servers that are only for certain departments and those are running SATA without any performance issues.

What will be running on the server?  File shares and email only?  If this is the case, look into Windows Small Business Server 2008.  It's a big money saver for small businesses, plus you can get to your data from anywhere in the world, send emails when out on the road, etc.  With 12 users, it might be the way to go... check out the product info link and the "connect from virtually anywhere" link on the website below.  I think your customer would be impressed if you tell them that they can access their files and applications when out at remote locations.  Our shop is a little to large for this, but I might be setting it up for a friend who has a small business, and so far I'm impressed with what MS claims it will do.

http://www.microsoft.com/sbs/en/us/default.aspx
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Author Comment

by:loshdog
ID: 33550873
Appreciate the great recommendations. Thank you...

Exactly the server will be used for Exchange and file sharing. I'm also recommending a 2tb raid 1 NAS to which I will image the server to (Symantec Backup Exec.).

I really appreciate the input on the server. I will configure one right now. And post the final specs here.

I subscribe to MS Action pack. I'm downloading Windows Small Business Server Standard 2008. I have three weeks until the new server arrives. I will install SBS on one of my boxes and play around with it.

I will go with a Flat Network Topology as you recommended bpl5000. Router > Firewall > Switch > server + wks.

Budget is a big issue. For now i think we will just setup the server using the old networking hardware. WatchGurad FireBox x5 Edge Firewall and 24 Port Linksys un-managed switch. I would love to put them on 10/100/1000 since we might be adding a NAS for imageing the server.

In that case all we would need would be to upgrade the switch to a 10/100/1000 switch
I found this on Newegg

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833124129

I Figured I'll use the 2 Gigabit ports for the server and NAS? It's not expansive at all and seems to be highly recommended.

Any thoughts???

Thank you for your time and Input...
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Expert Comment

by:pmanno
ID: 33552741
If you're running exchange on the box, you're going to want to put the database and logs in different hdd spindles.  Best configuration is to put at least the database on a RAID 1+0, NOT a RAID 5!  RAID5 is way too slow for the database and performance will suffer considerably.

The Cisco switch you picked looks fine for the application.
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by:
bpl5000 earned 250 total points
ID: 33553990
With the Linksys switch, keep in mind that the copper ports only run at 10/100... not gig!  They have 2 copper 1000 ports that are shared with the GBIC ports (can use either one or the other).  You would only be able to run 2 devices at a gig.  I'm not fond of linksys switches... we purchased one once and we refer to it as our linksys leaf blower because the thing is so loud.  If you are going to update the switch, I would choose one that provides gig on each port.  I recommend the HP ProCurve 1810G - 24.  It is fan-less (very quiet) and comes with a lifetime warranty.  Yes it's more expensive than the linksys, but it's managed and you will be able to see if there is a device causing problems on the network.

http://www.amazon.com/ProCurve-Switch-1810G-24-100Base-TX-1000Base-T/dp/B002NAYFSI

Since budget is an issue, you might want to check out the system requirements for SBS 2008.  For SBS 2008, which includes email, you could lower your specs on the server and save some money.  I'm assuming that 12 workstations means 12 users?  If that's the case, then as SysExpert said, the spec are a bit overkill.  Of course it's always safer to fault toward too much than too little, but if budget is an issue, you might want to tone it down a little.  For example, you wouldn't need a quad core Xeon for 12 users.
http://www.microsoft.com/sbs/en/us/system-requirements.aspx
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Expert Comment

by:bpl5000
ID: 33554017
I misspoke in my last post.  I said that SBS 2008 includes email and I think that's not the case so you would want to look at the specs for Exchange.  Still, for 12 users, you can tone down your server specs...
http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/2010/en/us/system-requirements.aspx
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Author Closing Comment

by:loshdog
ID: 33572230
Thank you all for your input. Especially on the HD config. and processor. I appreciate your time and hope you find the point distribution fair. I tried to assign more points to this question but it would not allow it.

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Expert Comment

by:usmcguy
ID: 33586703
In reply to "bpl5000" comment on Acronis on the above hardware...

"Acronis bootable media does not support PERC S100 and S300 RAID"
http://kb.acronis.com/content/8149

They recommend building a BartPE disk with the Acronis plug-in, and adding the Drivers to BartPE.  I just started working on this issue yesterday and haven't had much luck.  If you go this route, be prepared to do a little leg work if you want to use the Acronis bootable media on a PERC S100/S300 RAID.
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Author Comment

by:loshdog
ID: 33591924
Thank you for the heads up on this usmcguy. I will either change RAID controller or go with Symantec Backup Exec.
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Expert Comment

by:usmcguy
ID: 33592479
I was able to work through the RAID issue today.  Not only do you have to follow the directions in the link from my past post, you have to copy the RAID Drivers to the Drivers folder inside the WinPE folder generated by Acronis.  So, the PERC S100/S300 is still an option with a little work.
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Author Comment

by:loshdog
ID: 33592967
Thanks for the update. Might as well get a controller that will work and avoid this trouble. Thank you again.. Have a great evening...

~Milosz,
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