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Hardware Thread, Recommendations on Server configurations in Technical; Has anyone any recommendations on Server configurations? We are looking at replacing our curriculum servers, we have been using on ...
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    Recommendations on Server configurations

    Has anyone any recommendations on Server configurations? We are looking at replacing our curriculum servers, we have been using on rather large (well we thought it was at the time) dual Xeon Compaq server with a rather dodgy configuration and not enough storage space. Our mirrored system drive wasn't actaully mirrored, as we found out when the SCSI drive went down!!! Thats the last time I trust someone else to configure a server.

    Anyway I digress...

    We are thinking of using 3 or 4 rack mounted servers, 2 smaller servers would replicate and be used for logon and DNS + one large one with BIG drives would be used for Home Dirs, shared areas, file and print and also maybe one for email (exchange). The servers would use RAID 5. We also have a small SATA server doing onscreen exams that is serving as an emergency PDC.

    We currently have our school networks completely seperate domains, anyone any ideas on the pro's and cons of keeping seperate / making one network?

    Will Exchange run across 2 seperate networks? I presume it will but at the mo' we just use it for Senior management diaries, but need to introduce internal email and also pupil email. We have been using an old compaq workstation for this up to now.

    Any ideas would be much appreciated and I hope this makes sense, I a writing this whilst changing yet more passwords.

    I have only just joined the site but it is a great community for tekkies after seing you at BETT. Theres a lot of knowledge within here (well perhaps not me). It is great to see there are others having similar problems as me.

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    projector1's Avatar
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    Re: Recommendations on Server configurations

    quick question, how many nodes are there on the network and how many users?

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    Re: Recommendations on Server configurations

    How many Users and machines is quite importaint. I asume your wanting full Windows Server 2003 and XP Pro Clients or are you thinking Terminal Serivces with Dumb Terminals?

    My Instant thoughts (making an assumption of secondary school, maybe 300-500 workstations in total) would be something based around HP DL380 Rackmount servers for your main DCs, DNS, Active D, Print etc... Then maybe one or two if you can stretch to them HP Proliant ML370G5s, these use SAS disks and you can get upto 16 in one machine without external expansion! So thats a lot of storage for email and or files. If you can only stretch to one then just get one for Files or Email and use a normal DL380 for the other.

    Spec wise, minimum of 1GB Ram, Ideally 2GB. CPUs 3GHz Xeons again as a base area, the ML370G5s use the new Dual Core Xeons so they are not as fast but are dual core so its not an issue. Hard Drives SCSI or SAS drives, you want 10K or 15K, it does seem to make a difference using the 15K, I changed my profiles from 10K to 15K disks and loading is faster and in my view worth the aditional cost for the 15Ks over the 10Ks.

    This is a DL380 - http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/uk/en...-66980053.html that seems a good base to start with
    This is a ML370 - http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/uk/en...-77557731.html seems again a good base to start with. I have chosen them based on my assumptions

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    Re: Recommendations on Server configurations

    Just in case anyone out there is confused by the Intel Xeon range (I sure was), then this is very roughly how it appears to me...

    3000 series
    - Basically a Core 2 Duo with a different badge
    - Limited to single CPU operation

    5000 series
    - Dual core but based on older Pentium D style NetBurst architecture
    - Limited to dual CPU operation

    5100 series
    - Again, basically a Core 2 Duo
    - Limited to dual CPU operation

    7000 series
    - Dual core but based on older Pentium D style NetBurst architecture
    - Multi processing

    7100 series
    - You guessed it.. It's a Core 2 Duo
    - Multi processing

    Unless of cours, you know different

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    Re: Recommendations on Server configurations

    @markman: I think I met you at BETT... glad to see you here...

    Now time for my two penneth...
    * Easy things first: Exchange will run across both domains if you choose to do so - a quick search should turn up some recent posts on this
    * In theory, one hoofing great server and virtualisation will allow you to run it all on one box whilst keeping things separate - you may have seen our server at BETT running 4 Server 2003 VMs
    * For practicality, a number of less powerful servers would be better because you don't have a single point of failure
    * Check out SANs (these allow you to consolidate your storage and increase server capacity as your requirement grows)

    I'm happy to talk to you about how I do things... not saying it's perfect... drop me a PM and I will send you my number.

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    Re: Recommendations on Server configurations

    Exchange will not work over 2 Domains... the standard policy now days is to have one Domain for Admin and Teaching

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    Re: Recommendations on Server configurations

    It will if they are in the same forest.

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    Re: Recommendations on Server configurations

    You can also multi-home your server.

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    Re: Recommendations on Server configurations

    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_
    You can also multi-home your server.
    Don't you have to tinker with Exchange to get it to talk to a lot of interfaces though? I'm thinking one for Admin, One for Curriculum and External? Or does it go oh yeah 3, thats the outside world, those are inside off I go (assuming the 2 internals are different IPs, Subnets etc but same domain name)

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Re: Recommendations on Server configurations

    @john: It just works... not too much tinkering required depending on the wierd setup you want to use.

    The only interface that needs any particular settings is the one that is used for SMTP IIRC.

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    Re: Recommendations on Server configurations

    I didnt have to do anything to get it to work on 2 networks aprt from admin has to manually auth.

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    Re: Recommendations on Server configurations

    All sounds good stuff then, thanks for the pointers on that one

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    Re: Recommendations on Server configurations

    I got exchange working on both networks here aswell, like chrish, the admin have to authenticate when they open outlook first thing.

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    Re: Recommendations on Server configurations

    Thanks for ll replies.

    * We are a secondary school with around 350 networked curric machines including 80 laptops.
    * We have 1000 users
    * We use Server 2003 and XP Pro clients
    *

    One spec we have had qouted on was:

    Dell 24u cabinet

    2 x Poweredge 1425- Xeon 2.8
    1gb ram
    2 x 146 10k scsi hdd
    nic
    s/w raid
    3yr nbd wty

    1 x Poweredge 2950 Dual 3.0 xeon dual core proc
    4gb ram
    5 x 146 gb scsi 15k hdd
    dual giga nic
    perc 5i raid
    3yr nbd wty

    1 x LTO 100/200 ext backup 1yr wty.

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    Re: Recommendations on Server configurations

    We have 6 x DL380's all on one domain.

    We have run one domain for six years now and I cannot think of a single downside to it. Unless you are talking about totally seperate wiring for the two seperate domains then there is very little security or bandwidth difference. The biggest reason your network will get compromised is a discovered username and password which will happen no matter what.

    We have one server dedicated for SQL / CMIS, one for eportal, one for Exchange (plus an old compaq server to act as the front end for incoming mail just in case), one for users files, one for applications (including printers) and one for our website.

    All dual xeon and 2GB memory - varying drive sizes the biggest being 5 x 360Gb drives running raid.

    The one inportant thing to remember about having huge servers for data is that you have to back them up - you have to think about the backup device carefully, not just to make sure it can handle the capacity but will do it quickly enough to run overnight and not run over to the next day when people are using the system.

    A ot of people seem to be talking about getting SAN's - having mirrors in different buildings etc. Not sure if we are ready to move that way just yet!

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