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advise new server

Posted on 2012-04-02
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
Hello,

We want to get a new server and was wondering what hard and software i could best get.

Current situation:

1 Windows 2k3 server (file & printer sharing, Active directory)
130 clients (laptops and desktops, with home folders on server)
6 network printers

What kind of machien would best fit this envoirment?
What kind of backup do you recommend?
What kind of software ( OS, cals, antivirus ) would you recommend?
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Question by:Th0R
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by:Anutechnologies
ID: 37795342
There are a sea of solutions.  What type of business is this?  How much data do you need?  What is your budget?  Do you want rack mounted or tower?  What are the specs of the current server and how well has that held up?   What is the urgency of the backup. e.g. How soon do you need a restore and how much data can you afford to loose? A day, an hour?
As for the AV, I like Vipre and Kapersky because they do a good job, have small footprints and can be centrally managed.  Not to mention they tend to be more affordable.
How many people connect at once?  Do they all have a machine?  You would need at least 130 CALs in your example, but you need to take into account remote users.  If you have fewer users that use multiple machines a user access license may be cheaper.
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by:Th0R
ID: 37795404
What type of business is this?  How much data do you need?  What is your budget?  Do you want rack mounted or tower?  What are the specs of the current server and how well has that held up?   What is the urgency of the backup. e.g. How soon do you need a restore and how much data can you afford to loose? A day, an hour?

This is a school using max 1TB of data.
Current server specs are unknown to me.
The server is a tower.
The backup should not lose more than 1 day.
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by:Venugopal N
ID: 37795429
For Active directory desinging you can use the buildin tool Active directory sizer tool.
Which will provide the hardware and disk space requirement based on the input.
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Anutechnologies earned 400 total points
ID: 37795515
Depending on your budget, you may want to go with a lower end HP or Lenovo.  I tend to shy away From Dells simply because of the support experience I have had with them.  I tend to spend more time trying to get something fixed with them.  By the time I got the answer I usually could have purchased 2 of the servers with the cost in time.
I'm not as familiar with the Lenovo small business line, but HP has a ML 110 that may fit your need (Windows 2008 R2 - Min 8GB RAM).  Go with 3 TB drives in a Raid 5 Config and you can have 1st tier disaster recovery there.  If a drive fails the system will run on 2 until you get the 3rd replaced.  If you loose a second before you get the other installed and rebuilt you will have to go to tier 2.
Tier 2 can be a simple 2GB USB drive.  Try to get a bare-metal restore option in your backup software if you MUST have a quick restore.  This feature can be expensive but well worth it if time is of the essence.  You need to keep in mind that if you are at tier 2 you have had a major failure such as a full Windows crash or hardware failure.  If you have multiple drive failures or worse you will need to account for the time to replace the hardware.  The 2GB may only give you 1 previous backup.
You can go one step further and do what I call, Tier 2.5.  You can swap hard drives and take one off site.  This will help if you have a local disaster such as a fire, flood, etc.  This is still cheaper than tape backup.
Tier 3 would be to use a cloud backup to store the data as well.  You can save money here by backing up just the essential data (user files, system state etc) and not the entire disk.  This safely puts your data off site but will take awhile to restore.  By the time you need tier 3 though, that will likely be the least of your issues.
   BONUS: With most cloud backup services, the method they use to get just the data that changed allows you to have multiple versions of the file to restore with little extra space.  This can be a quick way to restore previous file versions if you need to.
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Author Comment

by:Th0R
ID: 37797787
Thanks for the large response, that coverd my hardware inquiry :)

How about the windows server OS.
I see that SBS2011 are quite limited in users (max 75?)
Would it be best to still use 2008? Or would you recommend 2011?
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by:robdl
robdl earned 100 total points
ID: 37801290
I would recommend Server 2008 R2. You will need to purchase Active Directory User CAL's for the number of AD accounts. They are not tracked but are needed for licensing compliance.

If you decide on a backup solution, I would also use the Volume Shadow Copy (part of Windows) on each drive or share. This leverages snapshot technology for each volume down to the individual file and you can limit the number of snapshots each day so too much space is not wasted.
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by:Anutechnologies
Anutechnologies earned 400 total points
ID: 37822625
Sorry I didn't get back to you, but have been busy.  You need to go with 2008R2 due to the number of users.  Had you been a smaller shop I would have recommended 2011 since it has more wizards to easily ,manage normal tasks.  In this case you have no choice.
VSC can be useful when you have open files/databases to grab a snapshot, but it is not in itself a backup solution.  Not only is the data on the same system as the data (think disk failure) but can be on the same partition.  You would still need a Tier 1 backup at minimum.
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