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Recommended Specs for 2008 R2 Domain Controller

Posted on 2011-02-23
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Need suggestions for specs for new Dell Domain Controller (we are complete Dell shop)

Single Forest Domain, currently 2003, trust with NT4 domain. 600 users, approx 350 workstation.  Replication with 8 domain controllers at remote sites all 2003, eventually will be upgraded to 2008.  Also handles, DHCP, DNS, has all FSMO roles.

What is recommended RAID setup for hard drives? RAID1 or RAID5?
Recommended size of HD? How many partitions? Seperate partition for paging file? How large?

How much memory recommended?
Type of Memory UDIMM/RDIMM Single or Dual ranked?

How many processors/cores/speed?

Anything else?
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Question by:fireguy1125
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Krzysztof Pytko earned 125 total points
ID: 34965000
Any new 64 bit hardware with 4GB RAM is enough. But remember, if you want to make 2008 as DC in existing environment, first you need to remove NT4. NT4 is no longer support with 2008 DCs.

Hard Drives, depends what you want to store there :) If only DHCP, DNS and DC use 146GB RAID-1 and 3x 146 GB in RAID-5 for AD database and logs, that's enough in my opinion (could be much less but for ... :) it's better to have more space)

RAID-1 whole as system partition and RAID-5 with 1 partitione or 2 (depends what you want to have on that server)

Regards,
Krzysztof
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by:fireguy1125
ID: 34965119
the NT4 is in a seperate domain.  There is only an external, non transitive trust between the two.

How much space do ad database and logs take up that i would need 300GB?? sounds excessive.

Is there a benefit of having the AD database and logs on seperate drives and on a RAID 5, over just keeping it on the same RAID-1 array as the system partition?
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by:ccns
ID: 34965251
you could install server 2008 in CORE mode, so it would use 30% less drive space and use alot less resources.. granted it is harder to install due to it being console based... but could help you here?
http://stevenharman.net/blog/archive/2007/01/26/VPN_Connections_and_Default_Gateways.aspx
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by:ccns
ID: 34965259
doh, wrong link sorry.. :
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc753802(WS.10).aspx
was trying to help another person with vpn.. :)
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by:fireguy1125
ID: 34965282
no, definitely will have to be GUI
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by:Mike Kline
ID: 34965323
The key here is to try and make sure to have enough memory to cache your AD. Check the size of NTDS.dit but as Krzy stated 4 Gb is probably going to be good for your size environment.

See this similar question I was a part of over on the TechNet forms  http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/winserverDS/thread/bf2c9d83-6dc2-4f0a-9bfd-ca9a55202ecb

Thanks

Mike
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by:ccns
ccns earned 125 total points
ID: 34965327
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/system-requirements.aspx
clearly you would have looked here?
reccomened for that size network if it is the only one, which its not. it would be good to have :
raid 1 setup and a raid 5 if you are going tohave data stored on it.
if not 1 raid 1 would be sufficient.
with atleast 1 quad core 1.8+
2 network cards for redundancy.
around 8-16GB ram.  since all FMSO are going to be on it.
the more ram the beter really.
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by:fireguy1125
ID: 34965356
Forgot to add, also currently 2003 exchange in our environment (not on the server), and eventually upgrading to 2010 exchange (again, not on the server in discussion), but in the environment, assuming that would add quite a bit to overhead for AD??
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by:Mike Kline
Mike Kline earned 125 total points
ID: 34965368
8-16 GB of RAM for a domain with 8 DCs and 600 users

So in a bigger environment we could get to those levels.

Also not sure about the RAID 5 comment.  RAID 5 is better for reads, RAID 1 performs better for  writes.  RAID 10 if you have money to burn.

Tony has a good answer here too  http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/winservergen/thread/bc3a5016-094a-431a-9f17-8d7664554d01

...but again we are dealing with a fairly small domain here.

Thanks

Mike
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by:ccns
ID: 34965393
it would add overhead more on the exchange server as that server would be the GC so really not ALOT. but some, i would say putting 8gb + ram would suffice considernig how cheap ram is these days :)
plus even if its not enough ram you could add more down the track.
CPU wise, you may want to think about 2x quad cores, if that is within budget. just simply because more is better.
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by:ccns
ID: 34965404
just another thing, the more ram you put in, the more space you require due to paging files etc. just a fyi~
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by:kevinhsieh
kevinhsieh earned 125 total points
ID: 34965767
My environment is about your size in terms of users and PCs and my main domain controllers are VIRTUAL MACHINES with a single virtual CPU, 1 GB RAM and a 40 GB hard drive. That is plenty. If you are buying Dell and this is only going to be a DC then I would get the cheapest processor, the smallest SATA RAID 1, a small amount of RAM (1-4 GB). Possible upgrades would be redundant power supply and I buy everything with the iDRAC6 Enterprise with gives me full out of band power and console management. I once used it to format and reinstall Hyper-V Server in a remote datacenter. No more driving into the office to reboot after a blue screen. :-)

For remote offices which are DC/file/print servers I am buying R410 with Xeon E5506, 12 GB RAM, redundant power supplies, iDRAC6 Enterprise, 2 x 500 GB SATA drives, rack rails for about $2200. We may run Hyper-V and run terminal services in a VM which is why we have 12 GB RAM.
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by:ccns
ID: 34966077
Sata drive expecially for file servers are not very fast nor reliable.
SAS + as sata is only 7200 rpm, regardless of the link speed is slow. specially if you have 200+ users using it. my 2c on sata drives D:
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by:fireguy1125
ID: 34966791
-Don't have money to burn, gotta be as tight as possible but be able to expand/upgrade easily-which can do with memory, but drive config i want to get right the first time

We have typically used raid5 in all our server configs, and like that if one drive fails it buys us some time to get another popped in, and rebuild.

In regards to partitioning, i would be ok with say, raid 1, split into 3 partitions? -basing size on ntds.dit (which by the way, how much growth will there be if it is 2003 now, and what it will be on 2008?)

Is there a significant difference in terms of having the system only on raid 1, and the other 2 partitions on the raid 5?

No significant data store on this machine, we will have separate VM file server for that.
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by:kevinhsieh
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RAID 1 is better than RAID 5 in terms of write performance, usually just about as good for read performance, and much better performance if you lose a drive. You also don't need an expensive controller and it is cheaper because you only need 2 drives instead of 3+. Oh yeah, we are talking a domain controller so disk performance isn't important to begin with.

As far as disks and partitioning goes you can get two 250 or 500 GB drives and make the C partition 60 GB and leave the rest for D. I think that my 2008 DCs are using less than 20 GB on the C drive and I always leave all AD databases in the default location. Why make it more complicated than it has to be?  Also remember that since you have another 8 DCs that this one isn't particularly important. You can always configure the routers to also point to remote DHCP servers and DNS servers. Since it sounds like you are already virtualizing you can add another DC in a VM in case you have an Exchange server on site. In fact, if you are confident in your WAN you could even forego a physical DC on site and just have 1 or 2 virtual DCs which would save you on the hardware costs.
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