Pc lab setup advice needed

Posted on 2011-02-22
Last Modified: 2012-06-27

I need to set up a small lab - 1 server and 20 pcs and  have some questions about hardware and licensing. Here are the requirements:

20 PCs running Windows 7 Pro x86  (for domain membership)   and some  client software;
20 concurrent connections to server
1 server running Windows Server OS and some server applications
file and printer sharing
domain setup (I am guessing, since more than 10 pcs)
1 generic user account  

What Server edition should I choose? Will Foundation 2008 do?
What CAL count and type? What are the implications if there are 20 separate AD user accounts (will I need more CALs than if using 1 generic account on 20 PCs)
I am thinking about a second server for redundancy. Are there more appropriate redundancy options (NAS, RAID 0/5, etc)?
I am thinking about sourcing everything from Dell because of hassle free NBD warranty parts replacement service, although it does come at a premium.

Question by:rookie_b
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Assisted Solution

by:Greg Hejl
Greg Hejl earned 400 total points
ID: 34957399
this is a test environment only?  For AD?

if you have a technet subscription that will take care of your licensing.

two servers and an iSCSI SAN and you can run it all in a hyper v environment.

use scvmm to manage it all
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Expert Comment

ID: 34958803
Dell is a always my choice as their service is good enough, can just go for it, RAID 5 would be more safer as it will have min 3 HD, if 1 HD is down, then another HD will auto take over, will minimize the trouble for you.

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RootsMan earned 100 total points
ID: 34961429
I think Windows Server comes with 5 CALs, so you'll need to purchase another 15 CALs.
If you configure the license/CALs as "per machine," it would not matter how many different user accounts you have.

Since you'll be running Active Directory and want redundancy, you'll need a second server as a backup domain controller. You'll need to sync the data directories with the BDC, or put the data on a separate NAS, so if the primary fails users still have access to their data.

RAID 5 on the servers is always a good idea. But make sure to backup/image the volume just in case.  If the controller or other component fails, then you'll loose access to the data until the part is replaced. If more than 2 hard drives in a RAID 5 fail, then you'll loose the data. RAID 5 won't have enough parity data to rebuild the contents of two drives.
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Assisted Solution

by:Greg Hejl
Greg Hejl earned 400 total points
ID: 34968746

Author Comment

ID: 35002337
Thanks Greg,

Virtualization option seems interesting.

Do you think I might be able to save on licensing if I set up ESXi on both machines, only run 1 virtual server 2008 machine (or up to 4 according to Windows Server licensing on virtual machines), back up snapshots to the second server, which only runs ESXi, and if it fails, I just start the V machine from the snapshot on the second server. Does that make sense? If it does, what would be a recommended frequency (between once a day and once every 5 minutes) that would not affect performance (if it affects it at all)

Since the server will run server applications and not just data, is there a better replication solution that would go beyond AD and also replicate actual applications/services and data, and would kick in if the 1st server goes down?

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Accepted Solution

Greg Hejl earned 400 total points
ID: 35002870
if you're an ms shop I would recommend sticking with MS

with two servers and an iSCSI you can make copies of any server to either host and run with NLB or Clustering for fail-over.

Check on the technet subscription pricing if this setup is only for a test lab.  

ummm snapshots are something to wrap your head around - they are only for development environments and not for production. when you take a snapshot the vm run's off the snapshot you create - once a snapshot is created you can never change the parent.  committing changes to the parent also needs care.

you can run backup's on the host - backup all the vhd's you have setup.

A windows enterprise license includes Hyper V and 4 virtual machines.  

you can run desktops - linux variations as vm's and it all looks like one big network.  

virtualization is now and future - best jump in now!

Author Comment

ID: 35003970
Unfortunately,we can't afford failover, within Server 2008 Enterprise/Datacente or third party like Neberfail and everRun. It will be a production environment, not a test lab. I was hoping that if I could keep regular snapshots and just restore to the second server that would do the trick, but if that is not advisable I am stuck.
LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Greg Hejl
ID: 35005411
if you have a second server you can do failover


Author Comment

ID: 35005992
Hi Greg,

This is turning into a different case, and I reaally should have split these from the beginning, so I am starting a new ticket for failover and would greatly appreciate your feedback on setting up failover, if you would have look.

Thank you so much for your input on this one.


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