Server Replacement

Hi Experts,

I am looking for some feedback regarding the upgrading/replacement of my current servers.

We have 4 physical servers: 3 Windows Server Standard 2003 32 Bit, 1 Windows Server 2003 Standard 64 Bit (Exchange server)

The support for Windows Server 2003 is coming to an end real soon so we would like to replace the hardware and software. It seems like visualization is the way to go with any new server upgrades. I would also like to have High Availability in the cluster. Dell has recommended their PowerEdge VRTX with 2 blade servers using Hyper-V in Windows 2012 will handle my needs. The only problem is the price is over the budget that I've been allocated so my question is there a way fulfill my requirements with out going over a budget of $10K to 15K?. Also, I am on the right path to future proof my server environment for the next 5 years or so. I would love to your expert's opinion.
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
That's a tight budget for a cluster. Shared storage is still a cluster requirement, and while SAS enclosures are helping to drive down the price, SAS disks are still not cheap. And for performance you need RAID controllers with caches that are cluster aware or you need to use tiered storage. And SAS SSDs are still rare.

I'm not saying its not possible. But I am saying with such a small budget, there are usually better ways to spend the money. A cold spare server, for example, is usually less expensive and can be a quick restore fallback.

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$15k budget to replace 4 servers is very tight as it is already without high availability.  I don't use Hyper-V, we use VMware and they have the VMWare essentials plus package that comes with everything you need from virtualizing, virtualization management and high availability.  I think this alone is already $7k-$9k for 3 servers (please don't quote me and check with VMWare for their latest pricing structure).

When I hear "high availability" then it's an automatic assumption that all the hardware are in pair for this to  work because you need a fail-over strategy as well as the infrastructure to support it.

Considering hardware as well as basic MS volume server/client licensing cost, a budget of $15k is almost impossible for a high availability environment.
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
VRTX with dual SPERC has performance issues with RAID in parity form: Dell Community: VRTX Performance Issue / Poor Performance

We've deployed dual R710/R720 with MD3220 dual SAS configured in a Hyper-V cluster. That's one option but beyond budget.

Even our Intel Server Systems based clusters with DataON JBOD storage (hyper-converged/asymmetric SOFS/Hyper-V) could not be purchased on that budget.

If stuck on Dell go with 2U, 16 drive bays, PERC RAID with non-volatile RAM, and fill the 16 bays with 10K SAS spindles to reach the necessary storage volume needed for the next three to five years. Dual E5-2630+ v3, 128GB or 256 GB ECC, and you're all set. That would probably come close to the $15K.

From there, the backup story is next. High-Rely makes a nice unit that will allow Terabytes of data to be backed up and rotated off-site while StorageCraft's ShadowProtect would be the go-to for us for backup. Altero, Acronis, and others also have similar backup and recovery stories.
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jnsimexAuthor Commented:
Experts, thank you for your feedback.

It looks like my budget will limit me to go with the spare cold server fallback option.
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
If you are acquiring two identical servers then Hyper-V Replica would be a viable option.
jnsimexAuthor Commented:
Excellent Point Philip!
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Windows Server 2003

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