Server Hardware Question

I plan to build a new server for our office to replace existing 6 year old hardware and i am asking for opinion on # of CPU and RAM. We have 55 staff in total and don't expect that # to grow much in next 5 years.

The server will be configured with 3 x VMWARE virtualized Windows Server 2012 Installs as follows:
  1. Domain Controller (55 CALs)
  2. Exchange 2013 (55 CALs)
  3. Remote Desktop (Terminal) Server (20 CALs)

One server guy I know says a single 6 or 8 core Xeon would suffice while another person says go with 2 x 8 core Xeons. I don't want to waste company budget but I'd rather have too much power than not enough.

Any thoughts?
shood4012IT ManagerAsked:
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Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
6 core and 32gb ram should be fine
While there are dedicated hyper-visors, vmware (note that vmware server support has been discontinued) would also do, but it will take extra performance. Since you would need an Operating system to run the VMWare instances on.

That said, and even with VMWare running those servers you should have easily enough with a single Xeon 6 or 8-core as you prefer. Also: Do not cut back on RAM. You're going to need more than 16 GB, i'd recommend at least 32GB.

Note that - with 1 server - you'd still have a single point of failure, which may cost your company more money than an additional server to run alongside as a backup site.
shood4012IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
These are my options so far (provided to me by vendors). I see big difference here.

Vendor #1 suggests I go with
IBM x3500 M5 Server
2 x Xeon E5-2640v3/2.6GHz CPU 8 Core
64GB Memory

Vendor #2
HP ProLiant ML350 Gen9
1 x Intel Xeon E5-2620V3/2.4Ghz (3.2Ghz) 6 Core
64GB Memory
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shood4012IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
I am being told VMWARE with Veeam for backup is best route to take. Is this correct?
If you indeed do not expect to grow much you'll be fine with the solution from vendor #2. Of course solution from Vendor #1 is more solid, but it will cost you more money.
Carlos IjalbaIT Systems DirectorCommented:
It's not IBM, now they are Lenovo.

But you can compare Lenovo, HP, Dell & Fujitsu, all good servers, make sure they are in VMWare's Hardware Compatibility List (HCL), and get 1 CPU with 8 cores minimum, and 32GB.

Of course 2 CPUs are better than one, but usually you can buy 1 CPU with more cores than 2 with less cores, as you can save money on licences (some licenses go by CPU, not by cores, for example ESXi, VSAN, Oracle...).

VMWare ESXi & Veeam Backup, is a wining combo.
How many people will be on the Terminal server at one time.
What will they be doing?  Outlook? Excel? Specialized app?
You listed 20cals,
If you are going to have close to 20 people on there at one time I would go with twin 8 cores.
If the number is low, then a single 8 core with the option to add a second 8 core later.
32gb sounds good unless you will have those 20 people on the terminal server at one time.
If so, go with 48gb.

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Server Hardware

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