Best Hardware/Network Solution for one of my clients

Hey all,

I have taken over a site and am in a cross-road situation as I am having a lot of issues with exchange so I need to find out the best solution for my client as I am weighing up costs and long-term security, redundancy and maintenance etc. They used to have 50-60 employees and now have reduced down to around 25-30 and don't plan on growing in the next 3-5 years. Users are based all around the world and these users only need access to emails and files.

Specs of the network:
1 x VM host (2008 Enterprise R2) Main role is Hyper-V which hosts 8 VM's
  - Primary DC, DNS/DHCP, Exchange 2007, TMG 2007, print, cad licensing etc.)
1 x (2008R2) Secondary Domain controller, Veeam backup of VM's as a DR solution (not the best I know)
1 x Backup server (Backup Exec) which points to dell power vault tape drive.

We will be migrating to MS 365 & still need the other servers operational. Only problem is the hardware on the Host is starting to fail, raid batteries etc. The server is roughly 4 years old and am wanting to find out your thoughts if I should purchase a new maintenance agreement (about $2.5k per yr) or purchase a new server for redundancy.

I will be definitely be decommissioning the TMG and replacing with a SonicWALL.

I know this is a big question but any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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NerdsOfTechTechnology ScientistCommented:
Sonicwall: Yes!!!

New server: Yes, since your current hardware is in danger of failing and you'll want to stabilize the current DR strategy; then you'll want to optimize that DR strategy subsequently [near-future].

Maintenance Agreement: Optional. It sounds like total hardware replacement is optimal.

Good luck
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
RAID batteries are a maintenance item. It is expected that they will need to be replaced after two or more years of service depending on the environment.

IMNSHO, Veeam is one of the best virtualization backup products on the market bar none.

Is there an IT vision in place for the next four or five years?

Migrating mail to the Cloud is one thing but if there is no real clarity on what needs to be done with the local infrastructure then purchase the extended coverage and work with the powers that be to establish one.

Oh, and replace the batteries with a capacitor based battery pack (non-maintenance) if there is one available for the RAID controller(s).

We worked with TMG and ISA for years. It's by far one of the best edge products put into play. We've replaced them with SonicWALL as they provide the closest level of packet filtration and rule sets to TMG/ISA over the others.

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Chopper2302Author Commented:
Thanks for your replies, really appreciate it!

I forgot to mention there is about a solid x hours of patching on the host server so this needs to be taken into consideration also, onsite and after hours.

Phillip, there is no real vision for IT in the next 4-5 years but I suppose I am trying to open up my options, hence this initial post/question.

Ideally, I would like to have their mail in the cloud and to move parts of their document/file sharing to the cloud also. Not sure how efficient/safe One Drive 4 biz is on a larger scale (25 users) but I know it can be a little clunky from experience (me using it as a single user), with the understanding MS are improving.

Phillip, so you think working with what we have and purchasing a hardware maintenance agreement is the best solution for the time being, The client is happy to purchase more hardware but I suppose building the right solution for them is critical and feel throwing money at a dead-horse or dying-horse, so to speak doesn't make sense to me. I would have thought purchase new hardware, new warranty agreements, new OS, updating the firewall, new DR solution and having a hybrid solution would be the way moving forward?

Thanks again.
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NerdsOfTechTechnology ScientistCommented:
I second that total replacement sounds better than buying batteries and parts, any of which can fail, or is failing now.

Congratulations, I think you may have answered your own question.

Chopper2302Author Commented:
lol thanks Nerds.
Chopper2302Author Commented:
I've requested that this question be closed as follows:

Accepted answer: 0 points for Chopper2302's comment #a41000085
Assisted answer: 250 points for NerdsOfTech's comment #a40993384
Assisted answer: 250 points for NerdsOfTech's comment #a41000664

for the following reason:

Very quick to respond, thank you
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