Pc lab setup advice needed

Posted on 2011-02-22
Medium Priority
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
LVL 13

Assisted Solution

by:Greg Hejl
Greg Hejl earned 1600 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
LVL 13

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.

Assisted Solution

RootsMan earned 400 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.
Concerto's Cloud Advisory Services

Want to avoid the missteps to gaining all the benefits of the cloud? Learn more about the different assessment options from our Cloud Advisory team.

LVL 13

Assisted Solution

by:Greg Hejl
Greg Hejl earned 1600 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?

LVL 13

Accepted Solution

Greg Hejl earned 1600 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.


Featured Post


Modern healthcare requires a modern cloud. View this brief video to understand how the Concerto Cloud for Healthcare can help your organization.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

Monitor input from a computer is usually nothing special.  In this instance it prevented anyone from using the computer.  This was a preconfiguration that didn't work.
After seeing many questions for JRNL_WRAP_ERROR for replication failure, I thought it would be useful to write this article.
This Micro Tutorial will teach you how to change your appearance and customize your Windows 7 interface to your unique preference. This will be demonstrated using Windows 7 operating system.
This Micro Tutorial will give you a introduction in two parts how to utilize Windows Live Movie Maker to its maximum capability. This will be demonstrated using Windows Live Movie Maker on Windows 7 operating system.
Suggested Courses

850 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question