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Hardware Thread, Need a little help getting my point across in Technical; During my meeting with my Line Manager, i tried to explain why we needed a new server, but it didnt ...
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    Little-Miss's Avatar
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    Need a little help getting my point across

    During my meeting with my Line Manager, i tried to explain why we needed a new server, but it didnt go too well. He didnt say no, but he still needs convincing.

    So I need some help articulating why we need a new server.

    The current one is about 4 years old. I dont know the specs off the top of my head but when people have come in to do quotes and whatever they are all usually a little shocked by it.

    We currently have about 2 gig left on shared. I think there is about a gig of memory.

    We have about 50 client pc's, thats going to be 58 soon. I would also like to get all the Teacher laptops correctly set up with images and what not. Plus we are planning on getting a trolley of laptops in. So the amount of clients is creeping up which worries me.

    We also have the very evil Winsuite! Plus it would just be bloody nice to have it set up properly instead of software all over the place!

    So what spec would you expect us to have these days? How can i explain that we need to bring us into the 21st Century and a bit of future proofing would be nice!

    Basically he's worried that im doing something i cant cope with and that we are going to have loads of problems from doing it. But im planning on getting someone in from outside to do it, set it up and show train my while they are at it!

    The more i think about it, the more the idea is scaring me! It would be the biggest thing i've done!

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    Midget's Avatar
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    can the server be upgraded? with those clients it'll be nowhere near CPU capacity, so can you add more RAM and storage? It'll require a weekend job to clone the RAID, put in new HDDs and ghost it back but it'll be quicker than a whole new domain build.

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    Little-Miss (4th June 2009)

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    ranj's Avatar
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    I think you need to explain that all the load on this one server could be a bit too much, and usually a server life is approx 5 years but you could say that if the school are considering adding laptops, the back end has got to invested into as well. If not expect problems. You could also mention that adding a second server will add some redundancy/resilence to your network and will help support any further IT you put in. You could say that the old server will be used for less intensive tasks or something similar.

    Try running server performance monitor if its a windows 2003 server.

    Download details: Server Performance Advisor

    This will allow you to identify what sort of load your current server is faced with and will present it in what is hopefully a easy to understand report, but feel free to ask questions if you get stuck.

    Hopefully then you could provide useful evidence to your manager about the workload of the server.

  5. 2 Thanks to ranj:

    AndyD (5th June 2009), Little-Miss (4th June 2009)

  6. #4

    Michael's Avatar
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    If the server is four years old, I would definitely start again. You probably could upgrade it here and there, but the cost over performance gains wouldn't be worth it.

    We also have the very evil Winsuite! Plus it would just be bloody nice to have it set up properly instead of software all over the place!
    If you search the forums for Winsuite you can see I did this at a school recently. It does require a lot of planning and preperation. I can help you with this and how I went about it. The school now runs a native Active Directory environment on a new server after I transferred all the FSMO roles. The old server which was running Winsuite is now used as an application server only.

    Birmingham do have policies requiring schools to replace equipment (especially servers) every 3-4 years, so you are in the right time frame. Secondly you're running low on disk space and thirdly (in my opinion) moving away from Winsuite and migrating FSMO roles and other server roles (such as WSUS and Sophos AV) to a new server would be much easier.
    Unless you still have Windows 9x clients (possible but unlikely) then Winsuite offers no benefits whatsoever.

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    Little-Miss (4th June 2009)

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    Little-Miss's Avatar
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    Ah see what i failed to explain is it being a new domain server. What other options do i have then? I was considering one maybe being a file server....

    Plus im hoping this would all happen during the 6 weeks...

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    Michael's Avatar
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    Ah see what i failed to explain is it being a new domain server. What other options do i have then? I was considering one maybe being a file server....
    With 50 odd machines and a server migration, it could be done in a week or two, so most definitely achievable within 6 weeks.
    It does sound very similar to the setup I worked on. The Winsuite DC was running 2000 Server and I installed a new 2003 R2 Server. The Winsuite server is still there, but it's now just a member server hosting curriculum applications. If it dies it's not a major problem as applications can easily be restored.

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    Little-Miss (4th June 2009)

  11. #7

    john's Avatar
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    I would suggest one of these:

    to assist in the discussions

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    Little-Miss (4th June 2009)

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    Midget's Avatar
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    you'll need to put together a full document on current load (i assume youve been running some daily reports) and usage and how this will help aid the delivery in Teaching and Learning. Then do a full plan on how you will implement everything and that the old server will become a Ghost/RIS server dedicated to imaging machines reducing turn around time for fixing machines as they can just be wiped and imaged in 60min since you'll now be able to use Roaming profiles with nothing stored on the machine (doesn't really matter if you use them already, if bread manufactures can get away with 'now made with REAL yeast' you can get away with this). This will mean that what used to be a day at leasts downtime for that teacher will now only be a lesson*

    *assuming nothing else is more urgent or you are drinking a coffee, your milage may vary

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    Little-Miss (4th June 2009)

  15. #9

    EduTech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by john View Post
    I would suggest one of these:

    to assist in the discussions
    Hmm, and how long did you spend finding the prettyest hammer on google

    Sorry didn't mean to go OT.

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    Little-Miss's Avatar
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    lol! No i did wonder that myself!

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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    Slightly unrelated to the original question.

    Plus we are planning on getting a trolley of laptops in.
    That's not your idea is it?

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    somabc's Avatar
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    At 4 years old the server should be replaced. Hardware is still fairly cheap so go dual or quad core with 4GB of RAM and the storage space you req with 3 year warranty. Should be possible on less than 1k.

    You could also take the opportunity to deploy Windows Server 2008 on the new PC, again to future proof yourself.

    Run AD Prep, join the new server to the domain, promote to domain controller, transfer FSMO roles. Setup File/Print Server/DNS/DHCP etc. Deprecate old server. You may like to keep it as a backup.

    Job Done!

    Installing Active Directory on Windows Server 2008
    Installing an Additional Domain Controller by Using the Windows Interface
    Windows Server 2008 ADPREP
    Transferring FSMO Roles
    Forcibly Removing Active Directory from a DC - Retire a Domain Controller
    Raising Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Domain and Forest Functional Levels
    Last edited by somabc; 5th June 2009 at 12:12 AM.

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    Little-Miss (9th June 2009)

  20. #13

    SYNACK's Avatar
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    I would mirror the comments of others about listing the benifits in a report but really at 4 years old you have a compelling reason anyway.

    At four years old the server has no warrenty left and any hardware failure will be unsupported and will require the purchase of spares directly which is expencive and takes time. If the server dropped a motherboard you could easily be looking at a third the value of the original price for the server and a week to source it. Repairs on servers get very expencive when not under warrenty and this should be a good motivator. If it breaks the school is immediatly up for a third or more the cost of a new server just to get their old slow server back with no upgrades.

    You can also plot the time till failure, if it only has 2GB of drive space free how long will it take before the staff fill it. I would inform them that they are about X weeks away from having to go through and delete a whole bunch of their files because there is no room left on the server to store them.

    Once they no the doomed nature of their existing system give them a way out by simply approving a new server and outline all of the improvements that this would enable. WDS rebuilds in an hour, central application distribution, roaming profiles, additional speed, additional space etc. I would also be tempted to seel the additional security aspect of running modern up-to-data software over whatever is on there now.

    Unless ranger really messes with the AD schema then there is no reason that the new server can't simply be joined alongside the old one and take over roles from it. This makes the process pretty painless. Even if it has messed with the schema then a domain migration is possible and less work than a full rebuild of all the machines.

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    webman (5th June 2009)

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    skysock's Avatar
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    The approach that i would take is

    Tell your line manager that the server is running out of space and that we have x amount of time to do some thing about. Make sure that other people know about it as well if you can his line manager as well.

    Then tell him the only way to extend the life of the server is that stuff needs deleting and that All members of staff need to delete work (this is now creating work for him and other members of staff). The response that you will probably get is "can you sort that out" and your answer is NO as you do not know what is important to staff.

    Make sure everything is in E-Mails and cc the Head or the Bursar as well to cover your own back. Let him stew for a couple of days.

    Technician to the rescue time

    If we got a second server in and added it to the domain it would give us

    Additional disk space
    A second DC to act as a back up controller WHEN THE OLD SERVER FAILS not if

    If you get the new server promote it to the master controller then keep the old server as a secondary.

  23. Thanks to skysock from:

    Little-Miss (9th June 2009)

  24. #15

    localzuk's Avatar
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    The first question I'd have is whether or not the server is still in warranty? This is the key issue, and this is what sways decisions here - if a server is out of warranty, then if it fails, getting it fixed can become expensive, or having to get a new one on very short notice could lead to higher expenses also.

  25. Thanks to localzuk from:

    Little-Miss (9th June 2009)

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