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Server suggestions

Posted on 2014-09-09
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Last Modified: 2014-09-10
Greetings Experts,

We currently host exchange, CRM 2013 and custom software in-house and we want to continue to host ourselves rather than moving to a cloud setting.

We have quite basic servers - Hp ML110/150s and presently they seem to be able to cope with the current demands of our service.

We are planning for the next few years and wish to virtualise all the servers on bigger and better rack server hardware. (around 5 servers).

I would say our budget would be between 3-5k.

Any suggestions and sites to review hardware? Thanks. SJ
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Question by:sunny-j
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rhandels earned 250 total points
ID: 40311925
To be honest i don;t think you will have that much of an issue finding a good server for that amount of money. The only thing you should take into consideration is if you want HA in some way. If so you need to have 2 physical servers and install VMWare ESXi (or whatever hypervisor you prefer) on that server.

Otherwise i think any basi HP will do. We have DL 360's (the p version, they have a bit more power onder the hood) which can take upto 2 Physical CPU's with 8 cores (so a grant total of 32 vCPU's) and i thought up to 256 GB mem.

Also, keep in mind that you might need to go to SSD disks (or at least heavy IO disks) due to a large amount of IOPS...
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by:andyalder
andyalder earned 250 total points
ID: 40312635
If you can afford the space then 2U rather than 1U servers give you more room for I/O and generally take more RAM. The DL360p than rhandels mentions has 24 DIMM slots, you will not be able to fill them with 16GB RDIMMs for €3-5K if you include the server cost. (maybe the price will come down enough next year though).

Bear in mind the cost of licensing MS Windows, you have to use datacentre centre licensing to be cost effective and that is on a per-CPU basis, so the more RAM (and therefore more VMs) you can get on one CPU the better. If you were to use standard licensing you would have to buy a windows license for every server that instance of Windows may run on so 5 servers in the cluster means 5 licenses for every server copy you run.
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by:rhandels
ID: 40312740
<<Bear in mind the cost of licensing MS Windows, you have to use datacentre centre licensing to be cost effective and that is on a per-CPU basis, so the more RAM (and therefore more VMs) you can get on one CPU the better. If you were to use standard licensing you would have to buy a windows license for every server that instance of Windows may run on so 5 servers in the cluster means 5 licenses for every server copy you run.>>

Isn't this only an issue when you actually use Hyper-v instead of VMware or XenServer (which is free btw)? I also thought that when you buy a datacenter edition (not really cheap, i know) you can put an unlimited number of Windows servers within that license on the Hyper-v server.

Also, if he already has 5 physical servers i guess those licenses are covered?? Just assuming to be honest :)
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by:andyalder
ID: 40312821
Applies whatever hypervisor you use, with Windows standard the license is only transferable to another host every 120 days (except in the case of catastrophic hardware failure). 5 virtual machines spread across 5 hosts would need 25 standard licenses, or at least that's how the licensing used to work. MS may have backed down though since https://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/howtobuy/licensing/calc_2.htm suggests you just need to license the instance once.

[edit], I think the calculator is wrong, see http://www.aidanfinn.com/?p=15477 for example. (I was wrong about 120 days, it's 90 days per transfer)
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by:sunny-j
ID: 40314829
Dear Experts, sorry for delay in responding.
Thank you for comprehensive response. Its great to get more detail to properly review all options.
The DL 360p looks like a suitable candidate and will look into the licensing options, taking into account the datacentre option.
I will open up a separate email to ask about maximum disk space etc., on such a server.
thanks again all. SJ
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