Hardware Thread, Buying a new server.... in Technical; Originally Posted by Steve21
I know it's not redundant/SAS etc as you mentioned, but generally we've found being close to ...
12th March 2014, 11:03 AM #16
I know, I totally get that. At the moment little Johnny's Power Point or the X-mas play from 2003 isn't really pushing even the servers we have. But I guess I have to look forward a bit... I have no idea when I'm going to be able to get this kind of money out of the budget again and who knows what the future holds for the school and its IT... There are always rumours about some kind of big SIMS move to Discover, I personally would like to get in a system like Impero or SCCM (WDS, WSUS)... Maybe with a powerful enough server I could think about virtualisation, stuff that would have my current servers crying and rocking back and forth in the corner of the server room!
Originally Posted by Steve21
12th March 2014, 11:11 AM #17
Aye Always nice to have the extra stuff, but in reality I don't think you can beat a few smaller but still powerful servers for the small schools, rather than one epic monster. "Personally" I like keeping SIMs seperate to the main DC side etc.
Can still do virtual servers etc with the smaller servers, just less per machine, but then twice as many (If that makes sense). Running WDS/WSUS/Software Deploy/Printer etc, doesn't really use that much processing, unless you're talking thousands of machines.
Just my two cents
18th March 2014, 09:20 PM #18
OK, so I've just got this spec from the DELL website:
PowerEdge T320, Intel® Xeon® E5-24XX v2 Processors, TPM
3.5" Chassis with up to 8 Hot-Plug Hard Drives
Intel® Xeon® E5-2420 v2, 2.20GHz, 15M Cache, 7.2GT/s QPI, Turbo, 6C, 80W, DDR3-1600MHz
4 x 4GB RDIMM, 1600 MHz, Low Volt, Single Rank, x8 Data Width
Internal Dual SD Module with 1x 1GB SD Card (WHY?)
C16A - RAID 1/RAID 5 for H310/H710, 2 + 3-14 SAS/SATA/SSD HDDs, Max based on the Chassis
PERC H310 Adapter RAID Controller
2 x 600GB, SAS 6Gbps, 3.5-in, 15K RPM Hard Drive (Hot Plug) - RAID 1
80GB Microsoft OS Partition Override, GPT Enabled
3 x 600GB, SAS 6Gbps, 3.5-in, 15K RPM Hard Drive (Hot Plug) - RAID 5
Dual, Hot-plug, Redundant Power Supply (1+1), 750W
DVD+/-RW, SATA, Internal
On-Board Broadcom 5720 Dual Port 1GBE
3Yr ProSupport and Next Business Day On-Site Service
I'm not sure what impact this will have as I will need to nuke it and reinstall my OS, but I have no option to remove it... Does it count as a Server COA that I can use?
Windows Server 2012, Essentials Edition, Factory Installed, No Media
£2,717.40 It's close enough I think to my £2,500 limit, maybe I could even talk them down a little?
Anyhow, if you nice people could rip this apart for me, I'd be grateful...
Last edited by Koldov; 18th March 2014 at 09:37 PM.
18th March 2014, 09:44 PM #19
Is RAID5 on 3 drives any good? I know it works but always thought 4 drives have best performance over 3.
18th March 2014, 10:28 PM #20
Internal Dual SD Module with 1x 1GB SD Card <font color="#FF0000">(WHY?)
For hypervisor os to run from
18th March 2014, 10:57 PM #21
2x 250gb for OS is more than enough. Should save you £100 or so. Spend that on 5 years warranty. Doesn't your LEA have a premier account? I know we've managed to get servers prices at £12k+ for around £8k with premier.
19th March 2014, 08:07 AM #22
I'd recommend getting 1 more 600GB drive and switching to RAID 10 rather than RAID 5. For the difference in price, you'll get a decent speed boost, not lose any space and gain a bit better resilience.
19th March 2014, 10:03 AM #23
Didn't know about Hypervisor, maybe... one day... I guess it's nice to have the option...
The drives were really in the spec due to price and considering the options. The list is bewildering, but I knew I wanted SAS over SATA, hybrid or SSD, but really although I could get away with smaller drives for the OS, the deal on pricing for the 2 x 600GB works out cheapest due to discounts (Save 20% on Hdd upsell) , for pure SAS drives they are cheaper than the 300GB models (smallest pure SAS drive they offer), other than that the choices are near-line, hybrid, SATA or SSD...
RAID levels are a bit of a mystery, I do theoretically know the potential benefits of some and the pitfalls of others, but factor in network latency and the fact that the files won't be accessed by 'hundreds' of users I'm hoping it won't be an issue in the real world. Our current servers are RAID 5 and we've never had any issues with slow access times, but although there is an increase in resilience unless I get a better offer I have to do the best I can within the budget I have. Unless it's worth cutting back on CPU or RAM, but I feel that's giving with one hand and taking with the other... There might be a little more room to change things with other suppliers as I don't really know what DELL are charging in terms of Server 2012, SD card bay and such that I could probably do without, although it says 'included in the price'... But this is just a baseline quote to work from.
I know it's not ideal, but we are coming from some pretty ancient servers and although they do the job well, it's time to move on a bit. The server spec is a bit of overkill as others have mentioned, I'm just looking for the best I can get out of the limited funds.
Also there is the extra warranty to think of, so it's it is all a work in progress...
25th March 2014, 02:50 PM #24
Module Description Show Details
Add-in Network Adapter On-Board Broadcom 5720 Dual Port 1GBE
Chassis Configuration 3.5" Chassis with up to 8 Hot-Plug Hard Drives
Advanced System Configurations UEFI BIOS Setting
RAID Configuration C17A - RAID 1/RAID 10 for H310/H710, 2 + 4-14 SAS/SATA/SSD HDDs, Max based on the Chassis
RAID Controller PERC H310 Adapter RAID Controller
Processor Intel® Xeon® E5-2420 v2, 2.20GHz, 15M Cache, 7.2GT/s QPI, Turbo, 6C, 80W, DDR3-1600MHz
Memory Capacity 16GB RDIMM, 1600 MHz, Low Volt, Dual Rank, x4 Data Width
Hard Drives (2) 500GB, SATA, 3.5-in, 7.2K RPM Hard Drive (Hot Plug)
Hard Drives (2nd Group) (4) 1TB, SATA, 3.5-in, 7.2K RPM Hard Drive (Hot Plug)
Internal Optical Drive DVD ROM, SATA, Internal
Power Supply Dual, Hot-plug, Redundant Power Supply (1+1), 495W
OS Partitions No Partition, GPT Enabled
Support Services 3Yr ProSupport and Next Business Day On-Site Service
Ok so I've taken on board the comments and gone for an extra drive and RAID 10 (but dropped down to SATA).
Need some advice still on certain aspects:
So, SATA... really? Makes me feel like I'm configuring a desktop...
UEFI instead of bios (apparantly for disks over 2TB)? I've never used it that I know of, any issues?
Partition - GPT enabled (again a large disk thing)?
RDIMM over UDIMM (I've read RDIMM is preferable but I can only configure this for 1x16GB stick and I'd rather have 2x8GB obviously)?
Dual redundant hot-plug power supply is it really worth it?
26th March 2014, 08:32 AM #25
26th March 2014, 08:50 AM #26
Originally Posted by Koldov
1) What do you see yourself doing with these servers? What is more important to you, disk throughput or capacity? For what it's worth, we have SATA disks in a lot of our servers and even in a couple of our SANs
2) The TPM can be used with Bitlocker to encrypt your disk volumes. Handy if the server gets pinched, it means they can't take the disks out, put them in another machine and copy the data.
3) You can't boot from a volume greater than 2TB on a BIOS. The problem with UEFI is that you need Windows 2012 to properly support it
4) Again, volumes larger than 2TB need to be on a GPT disk
5) I forget which way round it is but you can put higher amounts of RAM in with one type than you can with the other
6) Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. It means that if a PSU does go, you can still run the school while you're getting a replacement. It's even more important if you're just running one server.
Last edited by Norphy; 26th March 2014 at 08:54 AM.
26th March 2014, 10:42 AM #27
Well, the purpose of the server isn't fully envisaged yet, only that the current one needs to be replaced.
For the future I'm hoping to use it as 'my baby' and put SCCM, WSUS, MDT and images on it, possibly remote access. Maybe something like Impero, but basically have it as the server for controlling the environment. Maybe even looking at VM's in the future. Hopefully it will be the main server for backups and software deployment and have all the cool toys in one place without upsetting the school 'production environment' while I'm working on things and testing or if an install of any of the above goes bad. Also it will be taking the 'roles'... As for school data, SIMS, print server and such that will all be done from the other server, but they will both be DC's as I'm nervous about only having one. Anyway, suffice to say 'I' have big plans for this server and I'd like it to be able to be enough to cope with at least some future IT needs...
I really can't see anyone managing to make off with the server, it's in a locked room and there are far more 'shiny' things around for the opportunistic thief.
I'm not willing to jump into 2012 as yet, I'd rather it was a more mature product and as I'm going to have a lot to configure I'd rather it be with an OS I'm a little more familiar with. Is there really any actual 'problem' with UEFI and 2008R2? I'm not sure what amazing new things 2012 brings that make the effort worth it...
So, I think the disks are 1TB per disk but will be seen by the OS as 2TB as there will be 4 in RAID 10. So I'm not sure GPT will be strictly necessary, but maybe for future proofing it will be worth it.
This means a few things, UDIMM is limited to two DIMMs per memory channel and UDIMMs offer slightly better memory bandwidth for one DIMM per channel. However when using two or three DIMMS per channel you will get better memory bandwidth with RDIMMs. This is because when you go to 2 DIMMs per memory channel, due to the high electrical loading on the address and control lines, the memory controller uses a “2T” or “2N” timing for UDIMMs. Consequently every command that normally takes a single clock cycle is stretched to two clock cycles to allow for settling time. Therefore, for two or more DIMMs per channel, RDIMMs will have lower latency and better bandwidth than UDIMMs.
So I take it this means I have to know now, whether I will want to put more memory in at a later date? As it seems UDIMMs will limit putting more than 2 in, or get big fat UDIMMs now and hope that will last me. Maybe the limitation isn't the same now, but I seem to remember that large memory modules (over 512MB back in the day lol) should be registered? Think I am going to go RDIMM if possible but I also want more than one big stick of RAM (as in the spec above) in case it goes bad.
Ok, ok redundant PSU it is then!
26th March 2014, 10:52 AM #28
All of that on one server is a bad, bad idea. SCCM in itself is very heavy and ideally wants to live on its own hardware. It needs its own SQL server which is very RAM and disk intensive. Deploying software and OS images are I/O intensive in themselves and if they're coming from the same server that's serving files and your SIMS database...
For the future I'm hoping to use it as 'my baby' and put SCCM
and images on it, possibly remote access. Maybe something like Impero, but basically have it as the server for controlling the environment. Maybe even looking at VM's in the future. Hopefully it will be the main server for backups and software deployment and have all the cool toys in one place without upsetting the school 'production environment' while I'm working on things and testing or if an install of any of the above goes bad. Also it will be taking the 'roles'... As for school data, SIMS, print server and such that will all be done from the other server, but they will both be DC's as I'm nervous about only having one. Anyway, suffice to say 'I' have big plans for this server and I'd like it to be able to be enough to cope with at least some future IT needs...
Last edited by Norphy; 26th March 2014 at 10:54 AM.
26th March 2014, 10:54 AM #29
Usually, I'd agree with that, but 2012 is superb. There is now 2012 R2 also, which is even better. Just by using it, you'll get more out of the hardware. For example, disk IO is more efficient in 2012.
Originally Posted by Koldov
26th March 2014, 10:57 AM #30
2012 isn't that different either. Once you get away from the start menu, most things live in the same place as they've always done. The ones that don't live in Server Manager. It's not a huge leap in terms of interface but there are some benefits such as dedup. The space savings we have on our servers through that are huge.
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