What will the server be doing?
We are upgrading our server this summer. We are currently looking at the Dell PowerEdge 2900. It will need to run 90 machines with an additional 16 machines next summer. The question I have is it two powerful and are we spending money on something we don't really need.
It will be the main server in a new whole school network.
What would the ideal specifications be?
What will the server be doing?
Will you be running it in addition to your existing server?
Do you have other servers too?
What OS and other tools do you run?
Why do you need a new server?
So many questions.
As Norphy said, what is it going to do? Is it going to be a file server, application server? Is it going to host your DNS, DHCP? Is it going to be a print server? Do you plan on doing RIS installs from it? Will you run WSUS from it?
Here I have 4 servers that cover all those things, if you're not planning on doing all of that then yeah maybe 1 server would be enough. If you can spec it up to 2 Xeon 5060's with 2GB-4GB of RAM you are future proofing yourself and shouldn't have to upgrade for a while.
If you are going to use it as a print server or for RIS then make sure you have a second partition on your RAID array, RIS needs it.
Also, think about keeping your old server and setting it up as your KS3 server, the computer based testing is going to become mandatory!
I agree with what indie is saying "future proofing" is what it is about, no good buying a cheap server and then having to replace it two years down the line if you can get some idea of the schools future plans for ICT then you can commit yourself to a ten year plan before even looking at upgrading your servers. you should be looking at about 4-5K for a good spec server and also have a look around at other peoples servers. Good luck
I think the 2900 is what I've just bought but not being at work can't be 100% sure got tonsillitis atm.
If it was then I specced dual 3ghz xeon, 6 x 146 hot swap scsi drives, 4gb ram, raid controller, redundant psu.
Came in a t ¬£2999
Plus a ups plus a 2TB terrastore.
Tried to answer as many as possibleOriginally Posted by Ric_
It's going to file server and application server and running all the admin applicatons. Our current admin server is going to be the print server. The idea is that we don't have to upgrade for a while at least 3 years.Originally Posted by indie
Thanks for the advice. Thats exactly why I asked the question. We have big plans for the future. Currently the plans are just to extend the ICT suite but the idea's are endless.Originally Posted by bossman
Similar to what we want. We are also going to have the infrastructe to accomodation it.Originally Posted by plexer
Is there really such a thing as "future proofing" in this industry though?
From the experience I have seen so far in education, completely overspec hardware with a high price to match is routinely purchased "for the future", meanwhile the technology drops in price by 25% + each year.
By the time you get around implementing what your plans, you can get equipment that is 5x the spec you would have been able to buy originaly and usually even cheaper at the same time.
lets face it you don't want to replace a server very often and even if you do you won't get the money for a new one. So I would buy big now. we bought a high spec server in 2002 (P3 cpu's) and it is now so short of space (36gb Scsi hd x 6) and I have to struggle till April before I can replace it. Remember severs are like the M25 you make more space it gets filled.
I think 3 - 5 years is the average lifetime for a server around here. Towards the end of their lives they get relegated to simpler and less demanding tasks.
I would tend to favour a couple of lesser specced machines, rather than a single 'uber-server'. That way you can spread the load a little... possibl a little bit of redundancy and all is not lost if one goes tits up.
Unless you are going to be doing massive calculations, running SQL servers or running HUGE apps, a 3GHz dual XEON with masses of RAM is probably overkill in a primary.
HP ML330's sound ideal for you job, you can get one with a 3GHz Zeon and 2GB ram for peanuts, then slap in some SCSI disks and away you go for under ¬£1K. If you need rack mount then got DL380's or the one below (forgot the model) but no matter how future proofing you do you are never going to win. When I am asked how long a server should last, especially in a school that has never had a proper full client - server setup I say 3 years if you take my advice so I do over-spec based on experiance, but I say please budget for a complete new server for the end of Y3 of its life and most places seem to listen and do plan it into the budgets for a new one in Y3 and if its not needed well never mind, but I would never say 5 years for a server unless you can farm jobs around and mix and match, but primarys generally dont have 20 servers to mix and match they have a couple and there is only so much farming out you can do.
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