Which MS Server license to take ?

I am planning to buy a server for my office . Currently we have 4-5 users. The use of this server is going to be ;

1.      Store all work related files ( so anybody can access these). Files can be of many types PDF, excel, word and images
2.      Put the database file of MS access application we use onto this server, so all users can connect to this database for work.
3.      Install MS SQL in future and convert this Access application to SQL based (This is planned in future)
Currently I have 4-5 users, and I do not expect the number of users to go beyond 10 in a long future time horizon. Each user also has a full fledged desktop unit with all MS office, mail etc products and they will use this desktop to connect to server.

SO my question ;

1.      Which MS server edition and what kind of license I need ?
2.      Do I need CAL license ?
3.      What server specs are recommended ?
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Joseph DalyCommented:
Do you plan on using this server for email as well or do you have some other email provider/hosted solution?

If you are only planning on using this server for file shares/SQL (down the line) then I would probably go with server standard either 2008 r2 or 2012. If you were planning on running exchange as well I would say purchase SBS.

Yes you will need CALS for each user that will access the servers. I believe it comes with 5 cals included.

File sharing is pretty light on the resources of the system. A few things to consider for the SQL is that it loves memory so I would definitely either buy more now or make sure you have slots available to upgrade in the future.

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David Paris VicenteSystems and Comunications  Administrator Commented:
Do you already consider have a infra-structure outside your physical office, with a hosted provider.

In this days in my opinion the technology is in Warp Speed, and if you buy a physical server in a few months that server is old, this related to the physical server.

Now in terms of software of course you can buy the software and the licenses but in a matter of years you will have to update your software again and buy new software and lincenses, etc...

With a hosted services you can buy just the service that you want and never worry with licensing, the backups, the software and the hardware

This is my opinion in long term you will save some bucks.

Now your questions.

1 - A SBS 2008 or SBS 2012  will be sufficient
2 - Yes If you will have remote services and app´s running.
3 - This will have to be at least with 8GB of memory, 2x discs for raid mirroring in my
      opinion and for the processor an average processor, you don´t need the ferrary

This is my view, but wait for other opinions.

According to the site below you could probably get by with Essentials. It comes with 25 user accounts and supports 2 processors.  The datasheet below discusses your options.


If you are purchasing a server and plan on running SQL in the future I would go
with as much RAM as you can afford.  You can have up to 64GB in the 64 bit version of Essentials although 32GB should be plenty for a multi-roled server running SQL.

Hard drive space is another story and only you will be able to calculate that.  But what I can recommend is that you go with at least 4 disks so you can configure RAID 5. SQL will also perform better with more spindles.

I hope that helps.

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Vaibhavjoshi2005Author Commented:
Does it need to be server only. What I mean is can I use a good quality PC with RAID enabled motherboard as server ?

My initial use will be primarily storing files and running an access application. Even after shitifing to MS SQL in few years time I dont expect daily volume of database to be more than 20 new records per day, and average couple of reports per week.
For such a small office, I wouldn't even go the route of a PC with Windows.  Consider a small NAS/SAN unit that will operate with RAID, allow file shares, and eventually iSCSI so you can run VMs in the future for your SQL environment.

Something like a Synology unit can be configured with dual-gigabit NICs, RAID levels of 10, 5, or 6.  RAID 6 would be a good balance of space versus redundancy, as recovering from a multi-terabyte drive failure with RAID 5 can take a while.  A second failure would ruin the array.  For speed, RAID 10 is best.  You'll get faster storage than on your PCs locally.  You could move 120-160MB/sec to the server.

A small NAS unit has other advantages over a desktop.  Many have synchronization tools built-in.  You can sync to another unit locally, or remotely.  Backup tools.  File sharing or remote access tools.

For around $1,000-1,500 (without disks), you're ready to go.
Yes, you could get by with a robust PC with RAID. Just get plenty of RAM.  RAM is the cheapest way to get the most performance increase out of your system.

RAM won't help with a cheap and slow RAID 5.  If this is acting as a file server, you need at least 1x1GbE, and a decent controller with cache.  A file server doesn't have to be a speed demon with tons of RAM.  The OS shouldn't be doing anything other than serving up files...2GB is more than enough.  Single socket CPU.
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