What's a server newbie to do?

Hi,

I have the first of many eventual questions as I'm going to need a lot of advice over the next few months.

I have a working, adequate 5 year old WServer2008 r2 server replicating with ESXi vms to a 9 year old server. I did not set up either one, and am a novice to servers. I have ordered a new server so I can retire the 9 year old server, but I would like to get some advice setting it up, as I decided I want to do that myself. I have no time pressures, so I need to know what I should learn about first, second, third, …. I don't have a specific question yet, but would like a synopsis of the journey ahead as well as what I should research for the first step.

This is for my medical office with 2 partners, 20 staff, and 25 desktops, and we primarily work with 4 small databases for a total of 200 GB where speed is desirable (Sql Server Express, MS Access, and 2 Advantage) and 2 archival databases of 100 GB, both MS Access. We have about 1 TB of archival documents as well, and I keep an image of the production array on the archival array every night as well as good back up. Our data growth is slow and should be stable. The only future change I foresee is consolidating the 4 small databases into a single Sql Server database if we ever agree on one.

The new server coming has Wserver2012r2 installed on a single 4 tb SAS hdd, 64 gb ram, a LSI 9361-8i controller with write back cache and 8 ports, and I have 8 LFF drive bays.

Separately I have ordered 3 Intel S3500 ssds for a raid 1 with hot spare, and 4 SAS 4tb hdd, (same as the hdd coming with the server) for raid 10 with hot spare.

I want to learn how to configure raid, virtualize machines with hyper-v, move the OS to the ssd array, and replicate to my 5 year old server after I upgrade it to 2012 r2. That may be a bridge too far, and I may need to have a pro do it, but I want to understand it better and possibly do it. I have plenty of time. I want to slowly work through the steps and I don't want to get the steps out of order due to my ignorance

What do I need to study first?
Daniel WatrousAsked:
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MontoyaProcess Improvement MgrCommented:
I would start with understanding raids. The rest will come rather slowly. I can point you to posts on raid configs right here, or we can go outside. Actual setup depends on your raid array s/w. They are all quite different, though the methods are the practically the same.

All the other skills do take time, and knowledge and experience. Some people devote careers to any one of those subjects, but ask your questions one at a time, and we will always be happy to at least point you in the right direction.
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Daniel WatrousAuthor Commented:
Thank you Iammontoya,
My present server is raid 10, 300 gb SAS 15 drives and I added another raid 10 with 2 tb drives for archive.
My research suggested that for ssds, raid 1 with replication was better than raid 10. Do you agree, or should I get 4 of the ssds for raid 10 and give up hot spares for each array? The server is not physically checked daily out of bad habit.
Dan
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