Which Server should be Buy - SBS 2011

Hi All.

We have the opportunity to purchase and install a new rack mount server for one of our clients.

Previously we have either built them ourselves in the days of SBS2003 or inherited them and perhaps re-installed poor OS's - but we have been given the opportunity and budget to purchase a new Rack Mount Server and wanted to know the following:

What do people feel would be an ideal rack mount server (Dell, HP etc.) to purchase for and environment of around 40 users - emailing, remote access - file storage, printing  and that's about it (AV management will probably be on a separate server).

I know it has to be SBS 2011 Standard and we may well need the SQL add-on, but I wanted a server with plenty of Grunt - Maxed out at 32gb Ram and that runs swiftly and will last.

We have a client who invested over £12,000 ($18000) on a Dell Rack server for 30 clients doing the same thing and I swear our rack server costing £2200 ($3300) with a quad core (8 threads), 32gb ram serving 15 clients is a damn sight quicker!

I am looking at these rack's from Dell and we DO know our stuff, but they pretty much all look the same except for the obvious differences and yet they can start from around £1800 ($2700) up to £4000 ($6000) for what we need - and while I feel the cheaper end of the range looks good with a 6 core Xeon CPU and 8gb Ram  (Ok - Need to pay more to up the ram) - I am not sure why I would pay £4000 ($6000).

Could someone please give us some advise on the sort of budget we should be spending based on the above criteria.

PS. - SQL would be used on a separate TS server for Sage and Bar Code applications so would not impact the needs of the SBS2011 server.

Thank you all
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Michael MachieFull-time technical multi-taskerCommented:
I have recently purchased a set of HP ProLiant DL360s Generation 8 rack servers.. these things are power houses! They went for $7,000 US each with dual 6-core processors (= 24 virtual CPUS), 32Gig RAM,  (4) NIC ports, iLo (which is outstanding for remote management), Total local available storage of 3.3TB RAID 5 using 900gig 10k SAS drives. Easily upgradable to 386+ gigs RAM and can handle VMWare ESXi5.5.

With this setup I am comfortably running 9-28 VMs so what you are trying to do is cakewalk for this machine. You do not need to buy all that storage or those exact drives and could save some cash if you went a different way with the drives, but the machine is outstanding!

This is a link to the model I purchased.. Customize it as needed but the core server starts at ~ $1,000 US.
David AtkinTechnical DirectorCommented:

Do you have any particular models that you are looking at so we can compare them?

We've done an installation fairly recently with SBS 2011 and SBS 2011 Premium Add-on (Server 2008 R2 with SQL).  We used a couple of ML350 G8 Servers, 32GB RAM with 10K RPM Drives - Works a treat.  In our case though they where not rack mounted. If you where going to use the same hardware you would need a rack mount kit.

A couple of servers with alright spec will probably put you back about £10-12K. Depending on configuration and licencing.

Hope this helps a little.  If you can give us some server specs then we should be able to weigh it up with you.
Olaf De CeusterCommented:
I don't think you can run dual six core on SBS 2011.
I have plenty of Single and dual Xeons (4 core) out there servicing 20-50 clients. As long as you have 32Gb of ram and run SSD drives on OS and Exchange it works fine. And Enterprise drives for data. No need to spend big $.
And use Gigabit switches.
For SQL and LOB: Add a second server.
Hope that helps,
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David AtkinTechnical DirectorCommented:
I would totally agree with Machienet about the HP G8 servers.  I've had only good experiences so far.  

The intelligent provisioning feature is really nice.  It fully updates the firmware and drives when the OS is installed.

The iLO port is another life saver.
Cris HannaCommented:
Well I have several clients with Dell R610's  32gb ram, big raid 5, etc paid about 6k us, But you do realize SBS 2011 is no longer available preinstalled from any company, right?

There are are still some places with a few copies but I would not count on getting SBS for this customer
Michael MachieFull-time technical multi-taskerCommented:
Good choice, cheers!
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