New Server

Posted on 2014-02-03
Last Modified: 2014-02-13
Hi All

I have been tasked with buying our first Server for the office which will mainly be used for File Storage, we use a CAD program so accessing these files I assume a Decent amount of RAM will be needed.

Also the Server will be in the office so can anybody recommend a Good server for this with relatively low Noise Levels

Question by:pepps11976
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Expert Comment

by:Nick Rhode
ID: 39829681
My personal preference is Dell Servers.  Servers now a days are all customizable so recommending a specific model still could include next to anything.  Talking to a vendor and they can tailor the server to your needs or make recommendations.

I can get a Dell R720 with 32gb ram, 3TB storage with hotspare, redundant powersupplies for about $5k.

When purchasing a server I recommend dual power supplies for failover, bumped up RAM and adequate storage space.

I would also with a server like above to install VMware and virtualize your servers to you can grow into it as the company grows :).
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Expert Comment

ID: 39830272
How many users?

What OS?

What CAD program (Solidworks?).

Unless the app is actually run off of the file server,RAM is not as important as the speed of the disks,disk controller , Ethernet speed / switches.
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39831419
File servers do NOT require RAM in large quantities.  I'm not intimately familiar with CAD applications, but if you're not installing some application server of CAD files on the server and it's only a file share, then you want FAST disk (not less than 10K RPM, 15 if you can afford, SSD if you can REALLY afford, and at least gigabit networking (possibly teamed dual network adapters).

CPU and RAM are not critical for file servers.  If that's what you're getting then I'd look at a standard quad core CPU (not necessarily top of the line) and 8 GB of RAM.  Even if you throw Active Directory on this, that should be more than enough for an office your size (can't be that big if this is your first server).

I WOULD strongly recommend you virtualize the server.  That WILL take a small performance hit, but it will give you a LOT of flexibility and recoverability and makes the added complication well worth it in my opinion (the question of virtualizing isn't should you, it's why shouldn't you in my opinion).
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Assisted Solution

pgm554 earned 250 total points
ID: 39831430
> it's why shouldn't you in my opinion

Not to sound contrarian,but whenever you add in VM,the cost to buy in goes way up.

Most backup tools for Vmware require the API which is requires a paid version of their hypervisor.

None of this is cheap.

Server 2008 hyper v is not a very good product,so you would need to go server 2012r2 if you want a decent hyper v from M$.
Throw in some buggy 3rd party backup (hear me Symantec) and it's ewww!

And it is a very complex animal to admin.(not my words,but one of the hyper v MVP's from M$ when contrasting it vs Vmware).

As they say Keep It Simple Stupid(kiss)

I've got about 15 or 20 server consolidations under my belt using Vmware and M$ Hyper V and it's nothing a rookie sysadmin should do without a whole lot of experience.
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39831462

Virtualizing doesn't have to increase the price significantly unless your idea of virtualizing is enterprise or nothing.  To increase the hardware spec to support virtualization for this server would require bumping the RAM by 2-8 GB (relatively inexpensive) and MAYBE a little more disk space.  Otherwise, how does the hardware requirements increase?

LATER, if they need another server for a line of business app or something else, then you can add RAM and perhaps a second CPU and if necessary more disk... but that would be CHEAPER than adding a second server.

If you're talking about a "minimum" virtualized system as being a clustered set of two hyper-v servers with shared storage, then yes, that would increase the price significantly, but that's not what I'm talking about.

As for paid backup... what else would you use to protect CRITICAL data?  

Server 2008 Hyper-V is 6 years old.  Why bring it up?  2008 R2 with SP1 is 3 years old and MUCH better.  Further, why would you even bother with EITHER 2008 version when 2012 is out?

Further, Hyper-V doesn't seem all that complex to admin in my opinion... do you need a little training for BASIC operation and understanding, yes, but that can be said of ANY technology.  And considering that Hyper is FREE compared to VMWare's E$Xi.

Advantages include portability, high reliability, flexibility, upgradability, and not to mention, a 2012 license which will be required anyway if they get a Windows server grants you TWO copies of server if you install virtually... so again, WHY WOULDN'T YOU?
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Expert Comment

ID: 39831493
Look ,there are folks here in the valley that have literally hundreds of VM's(very large biotech) in their data center and their experience with 08r2 was ,it was free and pretty much was not very reliable.

At a class  over at M$ SF off of market just a month or two ago ,it explained why if you were going to virtualze,12r2 was a much better idea.

08r2 was a Maalox moment at best when it came to hosting VM's.

The fundamental differential theses as explained  between Vsphere and M$ Hyper v was ease of admin.

You pay for ease of use with Vmware ,pure and simple.
Not my words ,but those of M$ hyper V mvp's.

I just did the roadshow (virtualizing your datacenter with server 12r2) last week and am in the process of setting up a lab to test if I will use 12r2 or Vsphere 5.1 for a 5 server consolidation contract.

If you are a SMB with one file server to admin ,I see very little compelling reason to virtualize.

The vm add on in most paid backup software can be extremely expensive depending upon vendor.
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Accepted Solution

Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points
ID: 39831609
I cannot speak to hearsay.  I don't know these folks in the valley you speak of.  I know people (myself included) with problems with VMWare... so who is right?  I ran several clients and my own systems on Hyper-V 2008 R2 SP1 for well over a year without significant unexplained issue (and my systems are frankensteined).

But I'll ask again - WHY are you bringing up a 4 year old system?  2012 has been out/RTM nearly 2 years and 2012 R2 for 6 months or so... I've been using both as replacements for clients and my own systems without an issue.

Your perspective appears to be coming from that of an enterprise - this person is putting in his FIRST server.  Not his 101st.  So manageability on the level an enterprise needs shouldn't be even discussed in this question (in my opinion).  I find for 1-10 servers, NOT clustered in a farm,and not spinning up VDI instances, Hyper-V management is more than sufficient.

While there are three kinds of lies - Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics, here's the latter:
60% of SMB businesses are planning on using Virtualization.  And in my opinion, with good reason.  
* Options exist for economical disaster recovery that you don't have with hardware only installs.  
* Windows Licensing - you are throwing away a Windows license by NOT virtualizing
* Hardware upgrades become easy.
* RECOVERY from hardware failures (assuming it's not disk) become VERY easy
* Testing becomes easier as you can literally test on an exact copy of your server.

YES, it does make things more complicated - but in my opinion, if you're not designing this to be in an enterprise data center, then the complications are MINIMAL and the benefits FAR outweigh the complications.
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Expert Comment

ID: 39856554
Just got some feed back from Hancock Andrew on 2012r2 and he's not impressed.
Seems there are issues with failover and replication.
He's says he had M$ involved and still no resolution.

I've got a project to consolidate 5 servers on r2 and now I'm wondering if I should go Vmware.

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