New server in an existing envirnoment

Posted on 2011-09-23
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I am looking to ensure my logic is intact on my current project.

Client has 10 users within a Microsoft domain (1 server - W2003 Standard)

I would like to add a new Windows 2008 server to an existing domain envirnoment containing one Windows 2003 Standard. My client purchased a new CRM software that runs on SQL Express - hence the reason for the new server.

I originally wanted to install on the existing 2003 server, but I am dealing with 500 MB left on my system drive. Yes the previous guy painted us into a corner. I checked w/ Dell, by the time I get done attempting to increase the C:\ drive residing on a RAID 1, I just as well buy a new server. We have a RAID 1 for the system and RAID 5 for the exiting SQL Express app/data.

My thought is: I will join the existing domain as a regular host (not a domain controller - act as application server) with a new up-to-data solid W2008 standard server. I will deal with the issues at hand with the existing server, but not add to the problem.  Later, after the transition to the new CRM, I would create a BDC (I beleive it's no longer referred to as a BDC) of the new server or switch roles. In either case, have a redundant source for the active directory.

OK, my question:

Is my above logic sound?

Am I asking for trouble with a RAID 1 for the system and RAID 5 for the CRM - in order to get performance. I have had trouble with RAID 5's corrupting data in the past. Should I go with a RAID 10?

Should I bite the bullet on go with SAS instead of SATA for the extra speed? Again, we are only talking about 10 users.

Are there any red flags I am not taking in to consideration?

Supporting INfo:

Old server

      Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition R2 - SP2
      Dual - Xeon 3.2 Ghz
      4GB Mem - Max 16 GB 6 Slots - 4 Populated
      HD - SCSI on a PERC 4e/DI Controller:
      RAID I = C:\ (12GB - 405 MB Free) and D:\  (56GB - 48GB Free)= 68 GB
      RAID 5 = E:\ (136GB - 59 GB Free)

New server:

            PET610 Pedistal
            WSrv 2008 R2
            Dual Xeon E5620 2.4 Ghz, 12M Cache, 1066MHz
            12GB Mem 1333MHz
            RAID 1 - 250GB 7.2 RPM
            RAID 5 - 500GB 7.2 RPM
Question by:GeeMoon
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 36589599
Not familiar with that server or are you referring to a PowerEdge T610 Tower Server?
2 SAS Raid 1 and 3 SAS Raid 5 is what we use for a standard server, although another brand.
I see no red flags, but then someone else might.
We had w W2k8 Std windows in our Domain rune by a W2k3 Std for many years with no issue.
Last winter we replaced the DC with a VMWare W2k8.  The W2k3 remains as a DC for our old domain for visitors etc.
good luck

Accepted Solution

Benjamin MOREAU earned 200 total points
ID: 36589692
SAS disk will be better than SATA (check your CRM prerequisites). CRM generally required performance.

Adding AD on your server AFTER installing your CRM is, in my opinion, risky. It's better to install your 2008 server, add it as DC and then, install your CRM.

When you install AD on a server, the SAM databse (local accounts) is deleted; so, if the CRM create some local accounts.... maybe CRM will not longer work.

Expert Comment

ID: 36589698
Microsoft recommends to never install SQL server on a domain controller (BDC, DC in NT speak).

I've never had much problems using raid 5 for SQL, but I'm not a heavy SQL admin/user.  SAS disks are more expensive than SATA and I'm not sure it'll be worth the $$ if you decide to go with raid 10 with SAS.  Depends if your CRM database is more write heavy (raid5)  or read heavy (raid10).  As you say, it's only 10 users and you should be backing up your database in case of corruption or whatnot.

Expert Comment

by:Benjamin MOREAU
ID: 36589742
If you take the 4 hour Dell support (exist in France....check in your country); if a SAS or SATA disk failed, Dell is able to change your disk with less than 4 hours ! So, don't worry for your RAID 5.

We have more than 150 Dell servers with RAID 5 and we have less than 10 disk replacement by year :)
LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 36589816
I concur with jojo, I missed the CRM part no sql on DC unless it is WSUS.  However you can run two vmware servers on there a DC and Ap server both W2k8.
LVL 30

Assisted Solution

by:Mike Lazarus
Mike Lazarus earned 125 total points
ID: 36589882
SQL can run fine on a DC.
The reasons it's not recommended are: 1. heavy usage may impact performance; and 2. A security breach in SQL leaves the entire domain vulnerable.

I also find faster RPM drives can make a big difference with SQL (no matter the RAID config or controller)... if an option, go for 10K or 15K
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 36590483
I would change the raid 5 for raid 10. You'll need 4 disks for this. You'll also need cals for your 2008 server. Would you not be better deploying 2008 sbs rather than standard, it's more suited to smaller environments.
LVL 42

Assisted Solution

kevinhsieh earned 75 total points
ID: 36590748
Install the new server as a DC and then install your software. You should buy only a single processor, your second processor, and at least half of the first will be idle.

Instead of RAID1 and RAID5, a single 4 drive RAID 10 will perform better and be cheaper.  

You can also add a pair of 1TB drives as RAID1 and move all of the existing files off the W2K3 box, or just put them on the RAID10. If you use 10K SAS your system will be so much faster than your current system, even with the CRM. The CRM can't be too heavy because SQL Express is limited in how much resource it can use.
LVL 95

Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 50 total points
ID: 36591098
If you'd like, I can save you $500 if your client does NOT expect to grow beyond 15 users any time in the next 3-4 years.

I can save you $200 AND get your workstation backup if your client does NOT expect to grow beyond 25 users.

NOTE: if the client DOES exceed those limits, the investment will be completely wasted.

COMPLETELY separate from the above, I agree with GLComputing - SQL is fine on a DC.  What others are not properly recognizing in my opinion is that a small business typically CANNOT AFFORD to have multiple servers and separate roles.  While it's IDEAL to limit each server to ONE function for security, reliability, and flexibility, trying to do so in a company who may not have the revenues to properly purchase and maintain support for a single server, let alone multiple servers.  As such, with a few exceptions, running multiple functions on a single server unless it's explicitly unsupported should not be recommended against - NOTED fine, but not recommended against.

Your existing server may well be fine to handle all this.  You should consider cleaning up the existing server.  12 GB is more than enough if properly managed.  And there are ways to work around issues if absolutely necessary.  You're call.  I'm not recommending you don't get another server, but you might want to outright replace the existing server (at least as primary - keep as a second DNS & DC if you like) because if it's using a PERC4 RAID controller, it's old and likely no longer under warranty - any server that runs your business - is critical to your business - SHOULD be under warranty.

Assisted Solution

D_Vante earned 50 total points
ID: 36594077
good input here
I would recommend
SBS 2011 standard with the premium add on (SQL)
Make it the DC and SQL server
go with 6 drives
RAID 10 Data/SQL
Dell only offers a 1 year warranty on the SATA drives even if you pay for the extended service.
All drives fail, SATA or SAS or SCSI, it is just a MTTF.  
With SAS Dell would bring you a drive out, with SATA you might have to order it from Dell Spare parts
Then decommision the old server and rev AD to the 2008 level
Setup any file shares using DFS
Rebuild the old server into a 2008 domain controller and print server and store for DB backups

Author Comment

ID: 36719925
Thank you all for your excellant comments.

I have been swaying back and forth on my proposed solution. Reviewing your comments has helped me come closer to a final decision.

Yes SBS 2011 was my original thought, but, It would add an extra layer of complexity to the situation. Even though SBS now allows more than one server it still wants to be the first. I believe I would have to build a new domain, add all the existing clients w/ new profiles and somehow intergrate the orignal W2003. I am also concerned  messing with the only live server for the company.

Do you agree D Vante???

It would have been great, due to the fact that I was just informed that I have to buy SQL standard and not go with express. So, now I have to purchase W2008, SQL and all the associated CALs for the envirnoment - instead of using the add on for SBS.

I will pull one of the Xeon processors. Yes, it felt like over kill.
I will go with the SAS over the SATA for the performance
I will also make the server a BDC prior to the install of SQL and the implementation of the 3rd party DB


Author Closing Comment

ID: 36816390
Thank You All!!!

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