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Deploying new Windows server

Posted on 2013-05-20
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Last Modified: 2013-05-22
I need some suggestions regarding deploying a new server.
We're a medium sized company that's not an IT oriented.....now this makes the managers think that you don't need quicker and faster hardware and ONE server is sufficient to run everything.Well, the time has come where we have to implement a new server to take the load of the current(Windows SBS 2011) one.
The three main culprits that takes up most of the RAM and processing speed is the following order:

1)Mic Exchange 2010 (majority)
2)SQL server 2008
3) Web apps and apps.

I'm looking at getting Win 2012 srv.Obviously there is a budget to adhere to.I'm thinking of converting the next srv into the db server because we don't need to buy CAL's for all the db users.We have one SQL license that covers all our Windows srv users on current srv but if i had to move all the Win srv users over from the SBS srv side i have to pay for +- 50 client CAL's because you can't migrate the SBS 2011 CAL's to the WIN SRV 2012.
The current srv will stay the main DC and the new srv the secondary.
I have not done a setup like this before where i have to do a migration from SQL srv and setup a WIN srv from scratch.

Any advise?
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Question by:The_Nibbler
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by:jhyiesla
jhyiesla earned 300 total points
ID: 39181589
If you're talking "best" practice, grouping Exchange, SQL and other things on the same server is not a good thing to do.  SQL can be a massive hog and unless you are buying a super duper server with tons of RAM and CPU power and fast disks, I think you'll find that it just is not the best way to do; especially if you plan on any growth.

If was were setting this up in my world I'd do one of two things. First, set up physical servers, one for each task; one for Exchange, one for SQL, and one for web and DC. The other way would be to invest in a very high end server with fast storage, fast CPU and an appropriate amount of RAM and use something like VMWare ESXi to virtualize the server environment. In this scenario you could most certainly put all of these on one physical box with separate virtual machines as above.

It's not that you can't install all of these roles on one physical server, but I think the head butting that will go on between these apps for resources may be more of a headache than it's worth.
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by:Kent Fichtner
Kent Fichtner earned 200 total points
ID: 39181620
I am not trying to pull anything to get points, but I 100% agree with jhyiesla.  Putting all those servers on one is a bad idea.  We are a medium sized company with three IT people and about 100 users.  We have two Domain controllers, two SQL boxes, a crystal server, a few app servers and an exchange server.

You might also want to think about moving to full server software, just make sure you invest in your CALs and other licensing (we just went though an audit and it is a b***h)
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39182555
I would strongly recommend you look for a local consultant who knows how to advise you.   You are about to purchase 50 CALs at $35 each (give or take) and that can cost you $1750.  BUT, YOU DON'T NEED THEM.  And a good consultant is would know this.  Further, the advice offered above doesn't (in my opinion) offer a very answer for YOU.  It's not that it's wrong, but it's only BROADLY correct.

First, you have SBS 2011.  This HAS saved you money and may still be the most cost effective solution for you.  It's not clear if you purchased the premium Add-on or not (that would have included SQL server and another server license so, at least OS wise, you wouldn't have had to put SQL and Exchange on the same system.

Second, buy a 2012 license and you get TWO server licenses when you run them virtually (and you should be running everything virtually - unless you have a VERY GOOD reason not to).  You just cannot use Server 2012. 2012 at least when purchased through a volume license (which ALL your server OSs should be purchased) includes downgrade rights AND online access to media images (ISOs).  So you buy a 2012 license and install 2008 R2.  Your SBS 2011 CALs cover access to the other servers and you don't need any other CALs - or to buy Exchange separately.

One thing - Exchange and AD MUST be on the same SBS server - those roles CANNOT be separated.  You could add another Exchange server if you wanted and make the one on the SBS minimally used, BUT, AD (and the other resources utilized besides Exchange on an SBS server are fairly minimal loads... Exchange is the big one.  So the only thing I would move to another server is the SQL server.

Further, YES, BEST PRACTICE is to separate ALL functions on separate servers.  A SEPARATE DNS server, a SEPARATE DHCP server, a SEPARATE Domain Controller, a SEPARATE Exchange server, etc.  NOT because of load (in most cases) but instead for a separation of services so you can reboot one without affecting all the other services.  BUT, in a small environment, the licensing, the hardware, the maintenance costs to do this is EXCESSIVE - you could easily bankrupt the company on IT expenses doing that.  There are times where things can be combined and SHOULD be combined.  Rebooting a domain controller for 10 (or even 50) users won't have the economically disruptive impact of rebooting the only domain controller for 1000 users.  (not that 1000 users should only have one DC, they should have two, but hopefully you see the point).

You/your company has a choice - they can be cheap about IT and ask questions here (a GOOD SUPPLEMENTAL RESOURCE) and hope that the one mind in charge of the server at the company is good enough... or they can hire a pro who deals with this stuff every day.  Sure, they may charge $100-150 per hour... but if they can use that hour to save you $750... isn't it worth it?
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by:The_Nibbler
ID: 39183712
Thx for all the feedback!

To the 1st two answers:-I clearly understand that's how a server environment should be set up but this is not viable to us and it does frustate the hell out of me!The fact is that that we'll be getting one server sooner than later and the soonest we'll be buying another srv is in another year to be optimistic.I had to already twist management's arm to acquire the new srv because the current srv freezes now and then and some load has to be taken of it.

So this means i HAVE to make due with two srv's for now.This means migrating all the db's + db software over to the new server leaving Exchange and the rest intact on the "old" srv.

Obviously Exchange takes the most RAM of the current srv but as i mentioned before there's the CAL issue involved moving over to WIN srv 2012.
So does everybody agree that converting the new srv into a db server is a good idea?
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by:jhyiesla
jhyiesla earned 300 total points
ID: 39183994
It probably depends on what's taking the most resources. I note that above you mention that Exchange takes the most RAM. Do you know this for sure?  Exchange 2010 is way more resource intensive than older versions, but SQL, it it's large enough, can dwarf Exchange.  How many mailboxes do you have on the Exchange server? How many databases and how big are they?  These would be questions to ask. Before Exchange 2010, if I had a choice I probably would have moved the SQL server off to it's own separate server before Exchange, but now, it really depends on which server really has the biggest needs. Regardless of what you move, having the DC up and functional is critical.

The CALs are obviously an issue for you with your budget and that may dictate more which one you move as you have noted. Have you considered hosting your email in the cloud?  Perhaps even moving away from Exchange to Google Apps.  We're considering that right now, although we're still not sure that it's going to be a good fit for us.  Still something to think about that may ease budgetary concerns and server resource concerns at the same time.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39184251
So I take it you don't agree with my comments that a professional can save you money and you don't have to do what you want to do?
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Author Comment

by:The_Nibbler
ID: 39184364
To jhyiesla:
We have looked into google apps before and would not benefit us.Maybe one day when we start going regional and then international which could happen within the next 5 - 10 years.

MS Exchange is using 19 GB out of our 32GB RAM +- 50 % of time(in a 24hr day).Even if i try and manually set parameters in the registry on the Exchange side memory does not go down and as iv e read Microsoft doesn't want users interfering with these values anyway.

While there's a high mem usage on the exchange side there's a lot of I\O , CPU usage + RAM usage on the SQL server side and that's why i'm considering going db server.
You agree?

To leew:
I do have a middleman \ supplier that help me with for instance setting up our most current server that will probably help setting up prospective server.But they themselves outsource guys to help them with different server setups.

I would have liked to take on this challenge myself but its too risky especially if something had to go wrong....
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by:jhyiesla
jhyiesla earned 300 total points
ID: 39184470
I would agree that SQL is the most resource intensive of the two and probably moving it is the better choice.

Exchange has gotten a little more like SQL in that it will use what's available - almost. When I spun up my Exchange 2010 environment I allocated 16 GB of RAM of which it used about 14 all the time. Our Exchange server is virtual so, while it uses most of the RAM, it is naturally limited by how much the VM has allocated to it. At that time we had about 550 mailboxes with an average upper limit of about 500 MB/mailbox.  Some users had more and some less and it's not all being used by any means. Now we have about 860 mailboxes and I have upped the RAM on the VM to about 18 GB and most of the day it just runs fine. I do find it now using closer to 16 GB of RAM most of the time.
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Kent Fichtner earned 200 total points
ID: 39184480
The_Nibbler

I have moved a few SQL servers, and depending on the programs that use it, the move is pretty straight forward.  I would agree with your thoughts on moving the DB server and not the Exchange server.  I also feel your pain on being required to do so much but have nothing to do it with and no support from management, but that is a long conversation for another day.

If your new server is pretty much the same (same CPU amount and core amount) then I don't think you will need any new licenses.  I believe SQL is on a per server core license structure with the option to license a full server for a flat rate.  I have worked with CDW and PC Connection in the past, but most resellers of software can help with any questions.

Hope that helps, take care!
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39185247
What you're doing doesn't make sense to.  You CANNOT remove Exchange from SBS.  It's a license violation and the server will start shutting down on you.  You CANNOT remove the Domain Controller functionality from SBS.  Same issue.  The ONLY thing you can move is SQL.  I also don't understand why you're not (apparently) virtualizing.

I work for small and medium size businesses exclusively these days after working for a rather large one for a decade.  Not sure why you doubt my advice and are (apparently) unwilling to discuss this with your supervisors but since you're not interested in my input any longer I'll stop participating.  Best of luck.
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Author Comment

by:The_Nibbler
ID: 39187752
Amerilabkfichtner:
 
I'm also almost sure that you pay a license per cpu,i'll do investigation.
Looks like the majority agrees that setting up the new server as a db server would be most beneficial in our case.

Leew:
I agree with everything you said but you are not putting yourself in my shoes.We're a medium sized foods supply factory that don't focus on the IT side of things although the mind set here is slowly changing though.So Yes, i would love to have virtual machines but i can't get past my supervisors(and yes,i have discussed it with my supervisors,...a while back) and i myself worked for a bigger company than i'm working for now.....
Well, i wanted to "accept multiple solutions" but you don't seem to want to participate anymore.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39188956
> (and yes,i have discussed it with my supervisors,...a while back)

How long is a while?  Did you tell your supervisors that Server 2012 grants you TWO licenses for server - when run Virtually?

I do put myself in the shoes of others... But when information isn't provided I have to work with what I have.  And when you don't acknowledge my points what should I do?
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