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Hardware Thread, Server and workstation specs in Technical; Hi I have gone through most of the threads for server and worksation specs. I have come up with the ...
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    alexknight's Avatar
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    Server and workstation specs

    Hi

    I have gone through most of the threads for server and worksation specs.

    I have come up with the following and wondered if you could have a look and add comments or recommendations?

    Basically i want to replace our existing DNS\DHCP server ( then using it as a file-printer server) and having the new server set up as existing.

    Also looking a a good spec worksation (need 32 of them) for normal curriculum use. Meida applications will simply be Audacity, moviemaker etc, but being able to cater for future more intensive application.

    We are a middle school with 400-500 pupils and approximatley 150 - clients, including printers.

    Budget for the server work approx 7K, Workstations approx 12 k, so a combined budget of 19k.

    Am I missing anything?

    Server renewal and upgrade

    Replace existing RDC/DNS/DHCP server with:

    Rack mounted server
    RAID5 card (without battery)
    Dual quad-core Xeon at 2.8GHz each
    8GB RAM
    RAID 5 4 x 500GB SATA 300 7200 drives
    Dual Gig Ethernet broadcom cards
    Dual PSU
    DVD R/RW
    3 Yr on site warranty
    Dual back up solution, one to a Buffalo NAS the other to a recommended solution capable of backing up and restoring whole system.
    Migrate/copy/transfer existing shared data, including users home directory data to appropriate shares on new server and apply permissions accordingly. Modify/add/adapt domain login scripts to map relevant network drives for all users. Create organisational units, security groups and group policies in a new active directory forest and provide DNSD and DHCP services. Map file server to home directories and map to print server. Test and commission servers operation.

    Software required to administrate system such as: Adding bulks users, adding printers to network, viewing remote workstation, remotely installing windows updates, new software, restricting use/modifying users desktop settings/controils.

    Modify existing RDC server

    Modify existing server to act as file/print server. Specification of server is:
    Dual Xeon 2.8 Ghz CPU
    2 GB Ram
    2 x BG NIC cards
    3 x 35Gb Hard drives in a raid 5
    50Gb Sony tape drive
    Windows 2003 server os

    Workstations
    2GB Ram
    Minimum 80 GB HDD
    3.2GHz Inter Core Quad CPU
    XP Pro os
    DVD Drive (or DVD RW Drive)
    Front and rear usb and audio/microphone connections
    Optical USB mouse and USB keyboard
    Windows Vista capable
    Micro tower case
    Minimum 3 Year on site warranty

    any suggestions gratefully recieved.

    Alex

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    button_ripple's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexknight View Post
    Hi

    Workstations
    2GB Ram
    Minimum 80 GB HDD
    3.2GHz Inter Core Quad CPU
    XP Pro os
    DVD Drive (or DVD RW Drive)
    Front and rear usb and audio/microphone connections
    Optical USB mouse and USB keyboard
    Windows Vista capable
    Micro tower case
    Minimum 3 Year on site warranty
    I would say a little bit over powered, you would do better with a 3.2 GHz Dual Core, not Quad as you have said you are only running Audacity and Movie Maker, no programs for schools will need quad core for a long time, stick with dual core!

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    alexknight (12th May 2008)

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=alexknight;189878]Rack mounted server
    RAID 5 4 x 500GB SATA 300 7200 drives[/QUOTE

    Could make those 300GB SATA 300 10,000 WD VelociRaptor drives - bit less space, bit more speed.

    Dual Gig Ethernet broadcom cards
    Splash out, make it four - or a single four-port card.

    Workstations
    Minimum 80 GB HDD
    DVD Drive (or DVD RW Drive)
    Worth adding front-mounted multi-format card readers. If you have any Mini DV cameras around, don't forget to add a FireWire port too (don't bother buying Mini DV cameras if you don't already have them, though). Probably want a bigger harddrive than that.

    --
    David Hicks

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    alexknight (12th May 2008)

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    maniac's Avatar
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    Make sure you're never likey to want to put add-on cards in the micro cases, as quite often they will only take one full height or half height card, or sometimes no expansion at all!

    We fell foul of this with our music department when we decided we'd like to put better sound cards in them than the standard on-board ones, but we couldn't find any decent half height sound cards. We're might have to add firewire to them for the proposed media course this year, although I'm pretty sure we can get half height firewire cards, but still not as convenient as it may have been if we brought just some of our machines with full size cases.

    Also another consideration with micro cases is when the machines go out of warrenty, can you get decently priced spares that will fit them? I've always tried to get cases that will take a normal sized motherboard, so if we do still have them when the warranties expire, we've a good chance of keeping them in service. Some micro cases take a very customised board.

    The workstation specs look good, they are overkill at the moment, but if you run Vista in the future (which is likey if the machines have a lifetime of say 4 years) then you'll be glad you brought over the top machines, so if it doesn't kill your budget to get them at that spec, then I would do so.

    8GB of RAM in the server is probably over the top. I'd only go for 4GB, but leave room to expand in the future if you find you need to. Our DCs both have 2GB each and they cope absolutely fine with a 650 station network. Saying that, our DCs don't handle any data storage as they are purely DCs and there are 2 of them to share the workload. None of them ever shows any sign of being stressed thou, the second is there more as redundancy than load sharing.

    For the hard drives, I would consider changeing the configuration for 2 x smaller capacity 10,000rpm drives in RAID 1 to load the operating system onto, then 4 x drives in RAID 5 for the actual data storage. This keeps your operating system totally independant from your network data, which is good practise, it will also speed up the booting of the server and allow nice fast disk access for directory operations and swapfile.

    If the budget allowed, I'd change it totally and opt for an external drive array for your storage which will allow you to expand easily in the future. Also this has the advantage that if the server dies totally you can attach it to a new server easily to get access to the data. If that's totally out of reach (don't discount it, some external SATA arrays are getting very affordable now) just make sure you choose a server chassis with plenty of space for drives, as some only have room for 6 disks which won't give you enough room for future expansion (or none at all if you do the disks as stated in the other paragraph)

    We've had to add 4 new disks to our 1.2TB array after 2 years, as the amount of data on it expanded 4 fold on what we predicted, it's on a steep up hill trend still mainly due to the amount of video material teachers are using now, and filling up our network servers with!

    Saying that, we're on a larger scale than your system is, so it may not be necessary in your situation, but just a few ideas.

    Mike.

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    alexknight (12th May 2008)

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    To make your clients more “student proof” I wouldn’t bother with an optical drive at all. As for backups for the servers I wouldn’t use tapes. We are phasing ours out and backing up to a NAS (located offsite) much more easier.

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    alexknight (12th May 2008)

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    alexknight's Avatar
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    Thanks

    Hi

    Thanks for your suggestions which I will take on board. Some good points raised. I will incorporate some of them into the specs to give to suppliers ready for quoting and also see what they come back with.

    If I get it right at this stage then the replacement server programme should go smoothly and the server should have the capacity in case there is any future increase in load etc.

    Any other observations that you guys want to make feel free to add them?

    Thanks

    Alex

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    broc's Avatar
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    If the budget will stretch to it, how about 15k rpm RAID SAS drives rather than SATA?

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    alexknight's Avatar
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    SCSI

    Would it be an idea to speed up data transfer to specify SCSI hard drives in place of SATA hard drives?

    Alex

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    broc's Avatar
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    SAS = serial attached SCSI

    Faster than SATA, especially with 15k drives, and with a file server disk speed is king......

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    if your sticking with 8GB you will need to put a x64Bit os on the server

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    I would add a 512MB write-back cache to the SCSI controller as it makes a massive performance boost. An alternative is to split your bill in two, drop the server to 2 small disks (RAID 0+1) then put the fast disks in a second machine and create a SAN using iSCSI? Starwind is brilliant using the iSCSI software in Windows. You would need to add an additional network card to your main server and make that the SAN network.

    Just a thought.

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