I used to work in a large high school (which is why i still rely on this place so heavily as i used to use it daily) I'm now working in a small business with about 45 users and computers. We are on a workgroup network, no domain, and i want to put in a server to do the following:
Run a few VM's with virtual box to keep some mailboxes and their rules running so that automated responses can be sent out 24x7
Run PDQ Deploy to dish out my software updates on a schedule in the early hours, seeing as Group Policy is not an option
Run WOL2 to wake all devices up prior to deploy schedule and maybe shut down everything on a schedule at the end of the day.
I may then start using it for more in the future but those are the core requirements now. There's no server rack so i'd be looking for a Tower and not really sure what spec i should be aiming for an also do i even want to bother with a copy of Windows Server, i might as well just stick a version of 7 on there as i imagine i wont get a copy of Server bundled with the hardware?
As for the VM mailboxes, i'd need some licenses to run them, can you get any dirt cheap XP or Vista licenses these days or would i be looking at more 7 licenses?
running a server as a server and hosting vms won't get you the best from the hardware. ESXi and vm everything, it'll run much better than virtualbox.
Basically, you'll want a decent spec processor or two, and as much RAM as you can bung in the thing.
though, rather than 4 windows 7 licences - if you licence the processor for server 2008 r2 enterprise, you can run up to 4 windows server vms. might be worth a look? although if its not a domain anyway...maybe not
Does ESXi install onto bare metal then i create and run the VM's from that, so then i just buy lets say 3 win7 licenses if i have 3 VM's running?
Or do i get a server 2008 license, install that along with ESXi then run my free VM's with that license? I'll look into it but i suspect the win7 licenses route will end up cheaper and as like you said, without any domain in place i dont see any reason to use Server really, it will probably just be a waste.
I played with FOG a few years back to replace Ghost, got somewhere with it but then the whole project kind of fell away. I remember it took a fair amount of time just to get it going though as it was the first time i'd used linux and haven't since so not sure if it will be a good use of my time!
As said ESXi (or Citrix Xenserver). 8gb ram+ and imo any Xeon processor. SAS 6R or equivalent with 3 or 4 HDs in raid 5. Deploying software over night and (depending on load) a few mailboxes really isn't going to tax a new server no matter how cheap it is, there's no need to be spending big bucks on it.
The money will be in the licenses. As said Server enterprise, run hyperV and then 4 OSes on top is a good option.
Last edited by j17sparky; 21st November 2012 at 10:37 PM.