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SBS Server hardware

Posted on 2014-04-15
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Last Modified: 2014-04-15
I have a small 5 user network running SBS2008 on an a
Server HP Proliant ML115 AMD Quad Core opteron processor 1354 202ghz 8gb memory
(http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/quickspecs/DS_00136/DS_00136.pdf)

Which is very slow and I am about to upgrade to SBS2011.

I cannot afford a faster server but I do have a unused w0orkstation

HP XW480OT Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 2.83 8GB
(http://icecat.us/en/p/hp/kk508et/pcs-workstations-xw4600+Workstation-1687648.html)

Would I get better performance from the workstation if I installed the SBS2011 software on it?
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Question by:samcory
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Norm Dickinson earned 500 total points
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The Opteron 1354 has a CPU Benchmark of 2563, while the Q9550 has a benchmark of 4074 according to PassMark. http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php
This would make processing faster, but there are other considerations when comparing speed, such as the motherboard, type and speed of RAM, network speed, hard drive / array speed, etc.  Also, servers are generally more resilient and have better safeguards built in to make them run more reliably than workstations, so there is that entire range of considerations to take into account as well.

But overall the Q9550 is more than 50% faster, so it may be worth testing.
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by:Lee W, MVP
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It would be extremely unwise to use the workstation unless it has RAID 1 or 5.

What have you don't to examine the cause of your performance issues?  Is it disk issues? slow disks? It could be RAM (8 GB is a little low).
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by:samcory
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Thank you I will try that, especially as it is much easier to setup a totally new server without any downtime on the old server.

Thanks for your help
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by:rindi
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If I were you I'd add RAM. Go for 16GB. Usually more RAM gives you the better performance boost than a faster CPU, and SBS 2011 with 8GB is on the lower end.
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by:alexgreen312
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I personally wouldn't, do you not have any budget at all?

I mean, you can spec up a pretty decent 6 core for around $2,000 which would be ideal for you.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/3s8bX

That would pretty much be the best bang for buck, would keep you going for a good few years as well.

5 disks, raid5 for 3 of them and a mirror for your OS
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by:rindi
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No, don't create a mirror and a RAID 5 array. That makes no sense these days. Rather use 3 large disks and create 1 RAID 1 array with a hot-spare. RAID 5 can cause many problems in time, particularly if not properly managed, it isn't as easy to manage as RAID 1, and during a rebuild the risk is higher that the complete array will fail than with RAID 1.

The main reason for RAID 5 was that you could create a large disk with many small ones, but today, with the availability of large disks for relatively little money, that isn't such a big factor anymore.
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by:samcory
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Thanks for all your comments, we have no budget at the moment and the SBS2008 server is causing a few problems and the only way to sort them is to wipe it clean and re-install.
As I have to do that I might as well install SBS2011 which I already have,

I am not worried about raid since all users have copies of their mail on their PCs in the .ost folders. We download mail using pop3 into the server so if the server goes down the mail just accumliates in the Pop3 accounts.

We have no database programs running on the server only letters and shared files which are backup up every night.
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by:Lee W, MVP
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I normally like to be conservative in my wording of this, but an SBS server without RAID is foolish.  ALMOST ANY SERVER without RAID is fooiish.  It's $100 and could save you HOURS of lost productivity.  It's better if you spent money on a RAID controller, but even software RAID is better than nothing.
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by:samcory
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Thanks your comments are noted
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