Help Pricing out a Large Job

Posted on 2013-10-04
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-14
Hello All,
     I have been installing servers in small business settings for years and know pretty well how to price them. However, I recently signed a mid-sized business for a job, and need help with how to price it out. For one server about 10 client jobs, I generally estimate between 25-40 hours, depending upon the network. But, well, this is in a different class:

Two Locations joined by a leased line

Location 1:
6 2003R2 Servers
   - 2 SQL Servers
   - 1 Exchange Server
   - 1 DC
   - 1 FTP Server (in DMZ)
   - 1 Web Server
65 Workstations (Migrating over to Windows 7 Pro 64bit)
Cisco 5510 ASA
(There is more, but this is the most relevant information)

Location 2
1 2003 Server
   - Used as a BDC
15 Workstations (Win 7 64bit pro)

The reason they are bringing us in is to migrate their whole office to Office 365 with Single Sing On. So here is what we will be doing:
1 - Replacing the DC with a 2012 Server
2 - Replacing the BDC with a 2012 Server
3 - Replacing the FTP server with a 2012 Server
4 - Programming some basic GPO's (Drive and Printer mapping kind of stuff. They do not even us GP right now)
5 - Installing Federated Services on the FTP server
6 - Configuring Directory Sync on the new BDC
7 - Configuring Single Sign on
8 - Migrating all accounts to Office 365 and eventually eliminating the exchange server.
9 - Replacing (and programming) a new Cisco Firewall (Possibly Sonicwall)

In some ways. this install will be easier than a couple of the small networks we have done. They have maintained everything VERY well and everything works. Things SHOULD go smoothly. However, I also understand there is a level of complexity in each of those steps so I cannot just multiply my 1 server cost by 3 and get a good estimate. Anyway, looking for some guidance here.

Oh, we change 130 an hour for tech work and 150 for consulting. For our proactive services customers we charge 100 per hour.

Question by:JesusFreak42
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Accepted Solution

Seth Simmons earned 1332 total points
ID: 39548151
random thoughts:

1) i personally would virtualize some of this
2) you could do physical or virtual for exchange
3) use bare metal for sql for performance reasons
4) recommend 2 domain controllers in each location (at least 2 in location 1; 1 physical, the other can be virtual)
5) your forest/domain functional level must be 2003 before promoting first 2012 domain controller
6) password sync for office 365 cannot be installed on a domain controller


what san are you looking at?  have you done any sort of capacity planning?
you could have both exchange and sql connected to it over fc

do you have exchange in the environment now? just wondering how to plan if you are looking to move off of it

i don't know what hardware you might be looking at for your servers, but i've done a lot with dell over the last several years.  for physical boxes, you would want a lower-end power edge R420 for a domain controller which would go about 3k.  you could do a couple R620s for sql which would be a lot more depending on how much memory, disk, processing capacity is required.  then if you decide to virtualize - it's vmware or hyper-v which you could attach to the san over fc so you have a number of options available
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Expert Comment

ID: 39550633
Some great point from seth there.

Can I ask te reason for replacing the ASA. They are great devices, still supported and can be upgraded to the latest version of OS very easily. Upgrading this to the latest version of OS may well be the most cost effective way of upgrading the firewall if it needs to be upgraded.
LVL 30

Assisted Solution

by:Blue Street Tech
Blue Street Tech earned 668 total points
ID: 39551339
Hi JesusFreak42,

I'll chime in on the firewall and Office 365 side since most of the rest has already been covered.


A great recommendation for replacing the the ASA would be the SonicWALL NSA 3600. The NSA kills the ASA in shear performance and security (see attachment comparative).

For more info on the competitive advantages of the NSA over the ASA series: http://www.sonicwall.com/us/en/competitive_campaign.html

Here is a look at the NSA 3600: http://www.sonicwall.com/us/en/products/NSA_3600.html

I've seen many clients go into the NSA 220 instead of the NSA 3600 for cost saving with no issue, but each environment is different and you'll have to make the final decision after evaluating the specs of both.

Here is a look at the NSA 220: http://www.sonicwall.com/us/en/products/NSA_220.html

Office 365

I'd migrate the entire org over to Office 365 using OnRamp: https://onramp.office365.com/onramp/

I typically prefer their Enterprise plans especially if you want a complete Unified Communications Platform with integrated VOIP, which would be E4 otherwise Midsize Business or E3 are both good because in either of them you can do SSO and AD sync, which I'd recommend both. E1 is great is you just want Exchange (no Office, Lync or Sharepoint). It comes with archiving as well even though it doesn't specify it in the comparison. Here is a comparison of all their business plans: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/business/compare-all-office-365-for-business-plans-FX104051403.aspx

NOTE: Unless they have changed this recently, which they may have, you cannot upgrade plans to other categories or models, meaning all Enterprise plans (E1-E4) can upgrade and downgrade as so can Small Business upgrade to Small Business Premium. In order to go from Small Business to E3 you'd have to treat it as a normal server migration. Whereas in the upgrades its all administrative - no work, no downtime involved.

Here are some good tips for prep on the migration: http://slashdot.org/topic/cloud/office-365-migration-tips/


Don't forget about Murphy as he won't forget about you. Plan for a buffer in case things go south as they always seem to here and there in projects.

Let me know if you have any other questions!
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Blue Street Tech
ID: 39569068
Any other questions we can answer?

Author Comment

ID: 39641990
I am about ready to post points for this. I do have one more question in terms of time. Should I move the PDC to a 2008 machine before moving it to 2012?
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Assisted Solution

by:Seth Simmons
Seth Simmons earned 1332 total points
ID: 39642057
i was looking around and couldn't find any reference to a PDC here

you are not required to go to 2008 before 2012

a 2012 domain controller will work fine in a 2003 environment as long as the forest/domain functional level is 2003 (can't be 2000 native)


if you are going with 2012 R2, then yes, you will need to demote the 2003 domain controller(s) first since 2012 R2 requires 2008 forest/domain functional level


Author Comment

ID: 39642422
    Ok. Thanks for that update! The client just told me we will be able to make all the domain controllers at least 2008. (not R2). There are several non-domain controller 2003 servers left, however. So in this scenario can we use 2012 R2 with 2008 functionality (because all the controllers themselves will be 2008 or newer).
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Expert Comment

by:Seth Simmons
ID: 39642462
2003 member servers will be fine with it
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Expert Comment

by:Blue Street Tech
ID: 39689350
Any more we can help with? If something comes up later you can always post another question...we'll be here for you!
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Expert Comment

ID: 39718767
I would visualize everything in the main office onto a two node cluster. You already have a SAN. Use Windows 2012 R2. The interface changes alone are worth it compared to Windows 2012. You also need a member server for ADFS,  so it makes sense to virtualize them. I have never dealt with ADFS for Office 365, and I have briefly looked at the documentation. My guess is 20-40 hours of work just to get that working, not including all of the DC upgrades you need to do.

Good luck!

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