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Hardware Thread, Server Spec in Technical; Hi, We a currently updating some of our servers and moving to Server 2012. I am having some trouble deciding ...
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    Torrevez's Avatar
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    Server Spec

    Hi,

    We a currently updating some of our servers and moving to Server 2012. I am having some trouble deciding on the specifications for our main curriculum server.

    We are a primary school with 500 pupils and around 200 computers.

    The curriculum server is used for AD, File Sharing, Print Server, WSUS, DNS and DHCP

    I am currently looking at the HP ML350 G8 with a Xeon E5-2407 and 8GB RAM, is it going to be suitable for the next 3 years?

    Thanks
    Dan

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    Mcshammer_dj's Avatar
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    I would go to 16 GB ram and what HDD's are you planning to use?

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    Neil-Millgate's Avatar
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    Should be ok for the next 3 years. Plenty of scope for expansion with the ML range and no danger of parts being hard to get hold of. Standard warranty is 3 yr parts with 1 yr labour and 1 yr onsite.

    Might be better going for the performance model though purely for the redundancy it provides. The standard model only ships with and only supports 1 PSU.....

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    Torrevez's Avatar
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    Not sure yet probably just a couple of 7.2k 1TB drives in RAID1, we don't have an awful lot of data to store.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    That CPU is pretty weak - its about the same power as a core 2 quad, which is last generation. If you can get it up to an E5-2420, I think that would be a better choice - it is around 3x the power.

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Can't see anything wrong in the spec, 8Gb should be plenty. If you have the budget I'd say look at WD VelociRaptor drives rather than standard 7.2k drives. Possibly think about RAID 5 over RAID 1. I'd put the OS on it's own dedicated drive (possibly mirrored or SSD) and then RAID-5 some drives for data.

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    maybe have the os on some 2 ssd's in raid one and then data in raid 5 - as you are looking at server 2012 why not utilise hyperv and have different services on different servers? preferably have 24-30+ of ram as it is quite cheep. if your budget can afford it get a second and set up duplication

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    wouldnt use 7.2K drives for what your after using it for.
    id be looking at SAS based drives and the required RAID setup, id consider possibly a multi raid array setup for your OS and DATA requirements.

    i like the HP gear and come with good tools for management and they are priced well (the school i work in have considered them recently as Dell pricing has got silly)

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    Torrevez's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input, at least I am on the right track.

    Expansion scope is important to us and the ML350 G8 can support more RAM than we could ever use and has dual CPU socket.

    I agree the E5-2420 looks a far superior CPU so it may be a consideration budget allowing.

    I also like the idea of having the OS on seperate SSD's.

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    RAID5 is reasonable until a drive fails - there is a higher chance of a failure when rebuilding.

    I set up most of my servers now with a 2 drive RAID1 for OS, then a RAID10 for the DATA (15K/10K drives) - it's a hit on the storage size, but the performance, redundancy and improved rebuild speed is well worth it (1 disk to 1 disk, not N disks to 1 disk).

    Personally - I would push the boat out if budget allows and get a single server to run Hyper-V on, you can then split these roles up a little bit.


    Edit - When i say RAID10 I mean a RAID0+1 (HP tends to just call it RAID10 nowadays in the ACU).
    Last edited by Psymon; 24th April 2013 at 12:24 PM.

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    wouldnt use 7.2K drives for what your after using it for.
    id be looking at SAS based drives and the required RAID setup, id consider possibly a multi raid array setup for your OS and DATA requirements.

    i like the HP gear and come with good tools for management and they are priced well (the school i work in have considered them recently as Dell pricing has got silly)

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    Hey Dan,

    I'd probably look at something like the Xeon E5-2620 as this is great bang for buck.

    If your going down the WS2K12 route, go for 10/15K SAS disks, throw some more ram in, enable Hyper-V and you have yourself a tidy little box that's going to last a good length of time and give you some great scalability options.

    I've just installed something similar for another school in Oxford 2 weeks back and it worked really well, I'll pm my details if you want to have a chat about specs and some pricing options.

    Thanks,

    Ed

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    That CPU is pretty weak - its about the same power as a core 2 quad, which is last generation. If you can get it up to an E5-2420, I think that would be a better choice - it is around 3x the power.
    We support a number of primary schools, and I've watched weaker CPU's idle at 2%, I'm never convinced - unless we are talking big SQL db's - that more CPU is really needed on a small network.

    Quote Originally Posted by bwestlake View Post
    maybe have the os on some 2 ssd's in raid one
    Not sure of the current advisability of RAIDing SSD's. Beside, does the OS really need to have a redundant drive? probably not. A single SSD for OS would be nice though.


    Quote Originally Posted by SHimmer45 View Post
    wouldnt use 7.2K drives for what your after using it for. id be looking at SAS based drives and the required RAID setup
    I'd point out that it's a primary school and, from what I've seen in local primaries, budget and workload very rarely require such high specs. 7.2k SATA would be fine. And either RAID10 or RAID5 for a bit of data security.


    If there money is there - then defo, up the ram, increase the CPU core count (speed not that important), give a bit more HDD space and enable Hyper-V. Remember, you'd need the appropriate Windows licenses to go with Hyper-V so that will increase costs. Not always the best solution...

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    Mcshammer_dj's Avatar
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    our central pricing means that the 2609 and a second proc comes in cheaper than the 2620 single proc.

    I would also ensure that the PSU and the drives are hotswap
    Last edited by Mcshammer_dj; 24th April 2013 at 01:10 PM.

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    zag
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    I'd go SSD as well.

    Hard disks are going to look very redundant in a few years time.

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