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Optimizing our Server 2011 Standard

Posted on 2012-03-29
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Hello.

I have the following setup.  

1 PowerEdge T410 Server
Windows SBS 2011 x64 OS
4 500G RAID 5 7200 RPM Drives
8G DDR3 8500 RAM (upgrading to 16G soon)
1 XEON Dual Core Processor at 1.86GHz
Had I investigated further and found out it was only dual core, I would have opted for a second processor or a single quad-core.  I have the ability to add another processor and I have 4 banks left open for RAM.
Dual Gigabit LAN PCI-e
2 Standard gigabit switches (Not smart switches)
Every user had a gigabit port

I have high processor utilization as well as memory utilization on the task manager.  Processor utilization varies.  Memory nearly stays at 6.5G of the 8G total.  Exchange is taking up 1.8G of that.  I've heard if the system needs it, Exchange will give it back to the system.

Here's what we do with it.  

I have 16 users always connected:

1.  All users documents and desktop items are redirected to the server.

2.  We host our own email.

3.  We have a companyweb calendar.

4.  4 users use Peachtree Accounting and it is always running on at least one of their machines.  Most of the time, at least 3 are running.Database file size is less than 80 megs last time I checked.

5.  2 Remote users who only check email and access the share drive VERY rarely because it is so slow.  Unfortunately, we have poor Internet service upload speed in our old business park.  300K is about our max. So, that kinda kills that idea.  It's a wonder they can get email.  Another ISP is coming in FINALLY and we'll have a 15M X 2M.  This will help.

6.  Some users may store large CAD and Revit drawings on the server and access them directly.  I think the largest one is 135Megs.


SO....finally, my suggestions to myself and questions to you all.

I was thinking about getting an additional processor for the system to meet the SBS 2011 Standard requirements.  I'm surprised it installed without throwing up some type of flag saying it didn't meet minimum requirements.  Get it from Dell so as to not have to worry about it coming from a different manufacturer's site.  I heard that you just can't go out and get a matching processor.  It has to come from the same factory or something.  Maybe that's bull.  I'm not sure.

Upgrading to a total of 16G RAM

As I am only using one Ethernet port, bridging the two to push more data into the network more efficiently.  (THIS IS WHERE I NEED HELP)  How do I do it and will I benefit from it?

What am I missing?

Thanks!

Rexx
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Question by:rexxnet
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7 Comments
 
LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:TunerML
ID: 37785056
Are you just trying to have the server going 2Gbit into one switch or do you intend to use Link Aggregation to have both swtiches talk to each other at 2Gbit as well? You may need smart switches for Link Aggregation, what brand and model swtiches?
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Author Comment

by:rexxnet
ID: 37785084
I'm trying to push 2G into one switch that is connected to another.  I have 2 12 port gigabit switches.  I do not recall the make and model off hand.  I know they're not Cisco as I would have put in.  Unfortunately, I do not have the budget to go to the higher end switches right now.  We're using CAT 5e.

I do not know what Link Aggregation is.  I'm learning as I go.  I've only been working with servers for about a year and a half now.  Only installed 4 and they're for 5 users or less.  this is my first larger one with the demand.
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LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 37785378
As far as i know, sbs does not support the use of multiple NICs in any configuration. I would  forget about teaming the NICs or anything like that. For your user count I see several problems with your configuration.

First, 16 GB of RAM shoud be considered the minimum.
Second, you're running with 7200 RPM drives. I would seriously consider upgrading to 10K RPM drives.
Third, the CPU could be upgraded but i have doubts that that is your bottleneck.
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Author Comment

by:rexxnet
ID: 37785422
I have considered upgrading the drives to WD Raptors.  This is a SATA configuration.  We use Symantec System recovery.  I wonder if it would work restoring the server after replacing the drives with different size drives and recreating the array.

With your RAM suggestion, I may just ADD 16G for a total of 24.  This server wil max at 32.  I still have to stay in budget.

I agree with you on the CPU.  It was just a personal consideration because of the daily access and tasks it has to perform.

There has to be a way of pushing the data from the server to the client machine more quickly.  Any suggestions?
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LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 37785433
Have you verified that network is a bottleneck?

And sbs max ram is 32 gb

Does the server not support SAS? It can be tricky changing controllers but as far as restoring new drives especially if you change the controller type.this is not omething I've done or had the need to do.my preference is to run things virtually... you take a small performance hit but the flexibility is enormous.
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Author Comment

by:rexxnet
ID: 37785450
I'm actually looking for the bottleneck.  I'm assuming it's the amount of RAM and utilizing only one NIC instead of bridging them to push out 2G.  Maybe it's more complicated than that.
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LVL 96

Accepted Solution

by:
Lee W, MVP earned 2000 total points
ID: 37785512
Have you looked at your network throughput? System monitor / performance monitor for what's going on with bandwidth? My guess - and it's really little more than a guess - is that your disks are too slow to handle multiple data requests simultaneously. RAM is too low (MS minimum  is never enough when it comes to RAM) but CPU is probably not an issue.  Again, all guesses based on my experience and very limited knowledge of your network.
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