server spec for Active Directory server with 1000+ users ... just users no dhcp or dns invovle.

looking into a server spec to host Active Directory with 1000 plus users.
mwaukiSystems EngineerAsked:
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
That many users and only one server and no DNS?!? You sure about that???
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Chirag NagrekarSystem AnalystCommented:
Do you also need roaming profile for them and store them in same server ? If no then windows 2012 Std with 8GB RAM and 4 Core CPUs would be sufficient for smooth operation.

Also is this single domain in single DC ?
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
You do realize that Active Directory REQUIRES DNS.  And not just any DNS - it requires a DNS that supports Service Records and Dynamic Updates.  And are you suggesting that you're introducing Active Directory into an environment that never had it before?  Because odds are a single core single CPU with 2 GB of RAM would service it fine too.  AD is a VERY light weight service (I used to run 1000 users on a singe system (well, two, but when I looked at the CPU usage, it was near ZERO and it was never struggling for RAM).
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mwaukiSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
thank you all... yes it is being installed at a site that never had it before... ok. DNS but not dhcp. with that being said, would single core single CPU with 2 GB of RAM still good?
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mwaukiSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
no roaming profile and yes single domain, Chirag Nagrekar
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
I prefer 4 in most scenarios these days  AD is lightweight but windows is greedy with any role.

With that said, I'd still do two servers.  It for load reasons, but with that many users, any mishap with a domain controller can be expensive. Redundancy is extremely important at that scale. Only very small businesses should consider running a single DC, in my opinion. On two separate physical machines (even if they are VMs on those two physical machines.)
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mwaukiSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
Thank you, Cliff.
this is a small company which will be expanded down the road.  This AD server will only to host our cloud based users.  right now, our users are in 100's but just a pro active thinking for 1000 users.
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
That's still a good reason for two servers.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I used to recommend 2 DCs at all times... HOWEVER, if you don't understand AD backup and restore procedures, you would be WISER to setup ONE and perform regular backups *OR* learn about AD backup and restore strategies FIRST (there are books on AD and definitely chapters dedicated to this - it's not going to be covered adequately in a forum post or two, in my opinion).

That said, While I said a single cpu single core and 2 GB of RAM is sufficient (and it ALMOST CERTAINLY is), AS a general rule, I create all VMs with TWO vCPU because (similar to what Cliff has said) Windows can have a process that goes nuts and hogs CPU.  Having a second helps ensure the system stays responsive.  My point is/was, 4 cores and 8 GB of RAM is WAY overkill.  Even file with basic file and print services.  There CAN be things that up those requirements, but for an environment of hundreds or thousands of users, the DC should not be performing any other tasks than AD/DNS and (though apparently not necessary for your circumstance), DHCP.  In which case, very few resources are required.

Further, you ARE virtualizing, right?  If not, read this article first:
https://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/27799/Virtual-or-Physical.html
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
Agreed on all counts. Just to clarify, at "100s" of users, that's not small by most definitions. And while a restore is fine for 10 users, having 250 employees twiddling their thumbs for even an hour Monday morning while a DC restored is a ton of lost man-hours. 6 weeks of man hours lost isn't trivial. At that size, I still think 2 DCs is almost mandatory, along with the requisite knowledge/education to manage them.
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mwaukiSystems EngineerAuthor Commented:
awesome inputs everyone!  if your professional opinion, virtual vs. physical.  I've played with virtual quiet...

thanks
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MichelangeloConsultantCommented:
AD should use 2 DCs at a minimum, find a quick background about AD installation here

Set up a single Server with say windows 201x and HyperV and build your AD on VMs on that  Server. grant them 2-4 gb each and a minimum of 2 CPUs each, as has already been said. Backup that Server sistematically.
Specs for this virtualization server would be 2gb ram plus the ram you are going to allocate for each VM. Same for the CPUs: 2 cores plus the cores you are going to allocate for each VM.

Disk space wpuld be about 40 gb for each VM. Try to put each VM on a different RAID so that a failure would not involve both DCs. In case you have network storage available, use different LUNs /aggregates/whatever for each DC
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I still think 2 DCs is almost mandatory, along with the requisite knowledge/education to manage them.

If you're going to have hundreds of users, I do agree.  The single DC/good backups is generally only appropriate for smaller organizations.  A lot of consultants don't understand the economic realities of small businesses and refuse to provide advice appropriate for them, leaning on enterprise level recommendations as being one-size fits all.
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