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Hardware Thread, What should I buy in Technical; Hi all, I've only just started as ICT Technician in a large primary and I'm trying to figure out the ...
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    What should I buy

    Hi all,

    I've only just started as ICT Technician in a large primary and I'm trying to figure out the best way of improving the system. So basically I'm asking for any opinions in regards to what hardware/software you use and how to set it up all(in a broad overview kind of way)

    Currently have:
    1*Curriculum server - running server 2003, AD, file/print the lot basically. 3 years old and has no space left
    All of the switches are Cisco installed by Link2ICT(or at least through them), not happy with the config as it won't let me Ghost anything without grinding to a halt.
    Emails are pop3 hosted by Link2ICT

    I think the following would be best:
    New AD server
    File/Print server
    Exchange server
    Possibly virtual desktops

    What do you think? Would you do the same/different? Regards to budget, I don't really know what I have available. Hardly anything has been spent in several years and so if I go forward with it chances are I'll get it within reason.

    Rich

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    clarky2k3's Avatar
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    Could just get one 'beefy' server and run xenserver or vmware esxi or proxmox and install several virtual servers?

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    Could do, but is that not a bit risky running everything on one physical machine?

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    TNE
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    Hi Rich welcome to the forum.

    Hopefully you dont mind me replying just to say that if when you have your shopping list completed you require a new Cabinet please bear us in mind.

    We are currently looking to put an offer together for members (possibly local to start with) where the racks will be delivered and assembled in the required position for no additional cost.

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    Little-Miss's Avatar
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    Welcome to my world!

    Been in my primary school for 10 months now and im still trying to improve it. I dont think you're going to get that all at once as well as possibly paying for consumables and the day to day items.

    I'd start with a new AD/domain. Possibly use old server for something else?

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    And mine! It doesn't matter how much has been spent in the past - most of it you can't keep so they may well not have it now.
    I don't think you will get funding for three servers, and in a smallish school I don't think you'll need them. I would go for as big and beefy and future-proofed as you can manage, and maybe use the old one as an exchange server?
    Re the switches: I'm sure you know what you need but we got confirmation of what was needed by involving the NM of the high school at the top of the pyramid - there is supposed to be an agreement whereby the larger schools help the smaller ones - I meant to say this to you, Little-Miss, as well to help bolster your argument for a new server when an external 'expert' agrees with your diagnosis of the network's problems.

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    Tricky_Dicky (9th June 2009)

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    Little-Miss's Avatar
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    That's an idea Witch.

    I've got a guy from link2ict coming out to have a look around this afternoon. I think he's visited our school a few times over the years so is coming in to have a nose and to see what he thinks.

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    Where in brum are you as you could pop over and see my set up if you want.

  10. Thanks to JOrdan01070 from:

    Tricky_Dicky (9th June 2009)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tricky_Dicky View Post
    Could do, but is that not a bit risky running everything on one physical machine?
    Buy two and get a cheap SAN solution, then you have failover for all your servers which would give you theoretically greater reliability than just buying a four-or-so physical servers. You'd also probably get better utilisation of your hardware and easier expansion if it was planned right. However, virtualisation really isn't the answer to all problems and I'd be cautious of recommending what is essentially still an enterprise-level technology on a small network.

    Have you sat down and planned your storage requirements, both now and in the next 3-years (or longer if you don't get a regular budget for big upgrades)? It's definitely worth doing properly so that you don't waste money or under-spec your storage. Any idea very roughly how much budget we're talking? You might be able to get a really good deal from Sun on a matching grant for servers and discount on a cheaper SAN.

    How many client PCs do you have? If it's quite a lot then you might want to look at two DC/DNS servers to balance the load a bit and provide you with a little redundancy. How are you finding the Cisco switches themselves, particularly with regards to cost? Cisco are definitely one of the best switch manufacturers out there but they're also one of the most expensive. You might be able to save a lot (and spend it on servers!) by using a different provider in the future. We use primarily Allied Telesyn (fairly big site here, 70+ switches) and the last time I looked at moving to Cisco their closest switch to what we use was over 3 times more expensive!

    Cheers,
    Chris

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    coquet636
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tricky_Dicky View Post
    Could do, but is that not a bit risky running everything on one physical machine?
    True, but if you had another server maybe not so beefy and store backup images of the virtual machines you would have a contingency ready to rock and roll.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JOrdan01070 View Post
    Where in brum are you as you could pop over and see my set up if you want.
    I'm in Alum rock, that would be awesome if I could. Where are you?

    I've been speaking to Sun over the last few days about their 7000 series in regards to virtualisation and it looks pretty good, however I'm very keen to actually go and have a look at some in a working environment to see if it is suitable.

    Current load is: 1 IT suite of 30, 3 trolleys of 30 laptops(don't work,but that's another thread), about 30 classroom machines, 50 ish staff laptops and 7 shiny new mac books. We have about 700 children as it's a 3 form entry.

    How does that compare to other people?

    I didn't buy the Cisco switches so can't comment on that, they were in already and I think they will be fine once they are configured properly.

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    The S7000 is great kit and the 7110 should be able to handle that load absolutely fine. If you're looking at potentially 200-250 machine simultaneously on the network then it's worth investing in decent hardware to support the backend. We're an IT Specialist Secondary School so our setup is considerably different, but the principals are all the same I guess. If the Cisco stuff ends up working fine then no worries, but if any additional switches are coming out of your budget then be sure to compare the alternatives before buying!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tricky_Dicky View Post
    What do you think?
    Buy two cheap servers (HP and Dell do ones for around 200 each), 4 extra harddrives (750GB ones? 50 each?) and extra RAM (200 for 8 2GB sticks, so each server can have 8GB of RAM), 2 extra LAN cards (30 each?). So call it around 1,000 for hardware. Place the two servers in separate locations, run a standard CAT5 cable betweeen linking the extra, dedicated network cards. Install CentOS on the original harddrive of each machine, making sure to select the "virtualisation" option. Install two extra harddrives (and RAM) in each machine, set up as a RAID-1 mirrored array. Create virtual machines for your DC, print server, etc (could use Zimbra instead of Exchange if you don't feel like paying money for an email server), mirror them to the second physical machine via DRBD. You'll probably need to buy two copies of Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition, which will allow you to run four virtual machines per license - that's around 300 at education prices. So that's somewhere under 2,000 (don't forget CALs for Windows client machines).

    --
    David Hicks

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    Love to see the justification to spending on that little lot (I know it would make sense to spend it before you ask) I too work in a couple of primaries and money is scarce at the moment for anything but essential ICT.

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    im in bordesley village directly behind the blues ground we are only a 2 from entry school but we have a childrens centre and a day nursery.

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