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General Chat Thread, 5K for a new PDC in General; So title says it all, which would you all go for. I have 1600 users, about 800 computers, I plan ...
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    mthomas08's Avatar
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    5K for a new PDC

    So title says it all, which would you all go for.
    I have 1600 users, about 800 computers, I plan on having a few DCs down the line to help with the load. Our current PDC isnt a bulky one but it has managed well and never seems to be over loaded.
    Windows 2008 R2 64x is the OS we plan on going with.

    I personally am a Dell fan, but by all means go for other suppliers.

    So which what spec would you go for if you had the 5K for a new PDC. We have also purchased a new email server for 5k which will have exchange 2010 on it

    I believe I once got told to get two new servers and virtualise them as well.

    So thoughts and comments perhaps?

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Is the server going to do anything other than Active Directory?

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    mthomas08's Avatar
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    Guess I should have added that.

    Tricky one that, on one side I have dedicated PDC and nothing more (So yes AD/DHCP/DNS/GPO and thats it).
    On another side some one mentioned to me having the above and have Hyper V on it for any future servers you may require (given the added HD/RAM etc).

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Is the server going to do anything other than Active Directory?
    If not, I'd think 5k is a bit overkill.

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    5K?!! Seems a bit steep for a DC.

    But... if you're planning on turning it into a virtual host, then 5k could be very worthwhile.

    Ideally you'd have a SAN for failover and HA (e.g. if one virtual host fails, then the other could still "power" the machines that are on the shared storage) - but you'll struggle to get a SAN plus two hosts for 10k.

    So... 5k would get you a very nice HP ML350 G6 box with a couple of quad core processors, two dual-port NICs, 64GB RAM and a fair few disks for storage - 1TB SAS drives seem to be fairly reasonable at the moment.

    Perfect for running Hyper-V, or just plain old ESXi.

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    Is it gold plated? Like localzuk said if all it's doing is a DC, you don't need to spend that much.

    Two SAS disks + hot spare in a mirror on a decent hardware raid card, redundant psus, decent chunk of ram and a low-end quad core processor.

    DCs don't actually do much heavy lifting, but they do need to be highly available.

    Say an R310 1U from Dell.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mthomas08 View Post
    Guess I should have added that.

    Tricky one that, on one side I have dedicated PDC and nothing more (So yes AD/DHCP/DNS/GPO and thats it).
    On another side some one mentioned to me having the above and have Hyper V on it for any future servers you may require (given the added HD/RAM etc).
    None of that uses a lot of resources. Our AD server with DNS and DHCP has maxed out at 13.48% of a single 2.8Ghz Xeon core. It also has maxed out at 315Mb RAM used (server 2k3 r2 for us, so 2k8 r2 will be a little higher).

    Disk usage is max of 291Kbps too...

    So, AD machines really don't need much. I would suggest buying 2x £2.5k boxes and virtualising across them instead.

    EDIT: That's for about 600 users, 250 computers in total.
    Last edited by localzuk; 7th April 2011 at 10:29 AM.

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    @localzuk (sorry to OP for hijack!) - what do you use for benchmarking? Those are some interesting stats.

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    mthomas08's Avatar
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    Thats what is going through my mind, our current one isnt pushed at all, it was previously our Home/public drives too and no additional DCs.

    The new one will sit there as a PDC and nothing more or .... that is where other things are going through my mind. When the orders go through I will have two brand new servers.
    And some one once mentioned about Virtualising them both, we currently have a Hyper V box which has 4 VMs on it and works a treat.

    I have a little niggle in my neck about virtualising Exchange and PDC/DCs. DC I wouldnt have a problem with but Exchange is much more critical and so is a PDC. Guess I was not so specific

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pantscat View Post
    @localzuk (sorry to OP for hijack!) - what do you use for benchmarking? Those are some interesting stats.
    Its running in VMWare ESXi, so I just look at the performance statistics on that.


    Quote Originally Posted by mthomas08 View Post
    Thats what is going through my mind, our current one isnt pushed at all, it was previously our Home/public drives too and no additional DCs.

    The new one will sit there as a PDC and nothing more or .... that is where other things are going through my mind. When the orders go through I will have two brand new servers.
    And some one once mentioned about Virtualising them both, we currently have a Hyper V box which has 4 VMs on it and works a treat.

    I have a little niggle in my neck about virtualising Exchange and PDC/DCs. DC I wouldnt have a problem with but Exchange is much more critical and so is a PDC. Guess I was not so specific
    All our active directory servers are virtualised. I can't see it being an issue.

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    mthomas08's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    All our active directory servers are virtualised. I can't see it being an issue.
    Does that include the PDC?

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    @localzuk - Ah... ok. Assumed the DC was physical.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mthomas08 View Post
    Does that include the PDC?
    Active directory doesn't use 'PDC' any more, not since NT4 era, but yes, all active directory servers are virtualised. You have to be careful with time on them - ie. don't use 'suspend' features etc...

    They've been virtualised here for at least 3 years without any issues so far.
    Last edited by localzuk; 7th April 2011 at 11:08 AM.

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    We use a couple of entry level Proliant ML115 as DCs. They're never pushed and do the job perfectly well. Student log ons are about 4 seconds.

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    @localzuk - just out of interest as I've been thinking about virtualising all my DCs, do you use an external time source?

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