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Hardware Thread, Server Spec for a small primary school in Technical; Though I'd try to crowd source some ideas of a good spec for a new server for a small primary ...
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    Luke_T's Avatar
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    Server Spec for a small primary school

    Though I'd try to crowd source some ideas of a good spec for a new server for a small primary school.

    It's going to be running MS Small Business Server 2011 Essentials for which the minimum spec are:

    1.3Ghz DC, 4GB, 120GB

    However it's going to be the DC, File Server, Print Server, Client Machine backup and remote access server for:
    15 users, inc. 8 staff with remote access & 7 pupils (may go up to 10 staff, 10 pupils)
    on 21 Machines, image backing up 6 of them (may go up to 25, image backup 8)
    3 printers

    So I'm keen to find out what people think a recommended spec would be to cope with load when all users are logged in and using resources ...

    Cheers!

    Also if you have any recommended makes / models / companies please let me know as it'll save me some hunting!

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    IanT's Avatar
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    I would beef the spec up a bit if your planning on running SBS 2011!

    Processor needs to be at least dual core (quad if poss!), more ram, more disk space!

    Is there a budget?

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    Personally, I'd go with 2 servers myself, for redundancy. I've put all my eggs in one basket before, only to have a RAID card crash and burn on me. I'm not a fan of downtime, so HA is now a priority.

    As such, for SBS 2011, I'd go with a quad core with at least 4gb of ram, more if you can do it. Also, a hardware raid controller with at least 2 15k RPM drives would be highly recommended for all the activity your having on that box.

    I'm partial to dell servers, but really, stay away from el cheapo "service provider" boxes and you should be fine.

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    achedgy's Avatar
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    HP ML350
    8GB ram (minimum) SBS 12 would be better
    3x 146gb 15k hot swap drives
    2x quad core 2-2.5Ghz Xeon processor

    Should do the job, add a second to add redundancy some point down the line.

    You weren't considering a micro server by any chance??

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    As a very small primary, I know where you are coming from. Are you replacing an existing server, or starting from scratch?

    When we started from scratch we just had the one Server 2003 server (HP Proliant ML350 G4p) doing everything. We bought a second server - an HP Proliant ML350 G6 which runs server 2008 R2 standard. Do you have a particular reason for using the small business edition?

    The domain is operating at 2008 level and our original server is still chugging away providing additional storage and looking after WSUS. * Touches wood * we've only had one drive fail on this server and the RAID handled that beautifully.

    The problem we have is licensing. Microsoft's definition of part-time (less than 200 years per year) is such that our plethora of part-time staff are full-time in Microsoft's eyes and as such using the new(ish) EES agreement works out very expensive. We're better off with the old licensing system.

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    We kitted our last new server in a primary out with the following-

    HP ML110 G6
    Intel Xeon Quad Core 2.8ghz
    4GB DDR3
    2x1TB SATA HDD

    Runs Windows Server 2008 R2 with AD, DNS, DHCP, File Store, WSUS, WDS and everything else (besides mail/SIMS) like a charm.

    There is a planned upgrade to 8GB RAM next year though.

    For you I would suggest something along simlar lines (8GB RAM for SBS is a must!) - maybe go with a 2x10k SAS for the OS/Applications and then normal SATA for the data store.

  7. Thanks to jamesfed from:

    Luke_T (20th September 2011)

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    Luke_T's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies ... keep em coming :-)

    - Just to clarify it's the SBS 2011 Essentials which has a much lower req. spec than the standard (1.3Ghz Dual, 4GB, 120GB v 2Ghz Quad, 10GB, 120GB)
    - Budget is ideally under £1000 but really the lower the better as always!
    - Considering 2 servers but not sure the school can afford it at the moment ... however i know how you feel as this is replacing the one 7 yr old server that has started to fail oh so sweetly! There will be offsite backup at least though.
    - We're going with SBS for a few reasons:
    + Cost = we've inherited all our equipment and licenses so don't currently pay for anything ... until we get some money to gothe whole hog with Win 7, Office 2010, etc on all the machines then no point in spending more than we need to. No user or client CAL's to worry about etc ...
    + Functionality = Usual DC, File, Print + easy backup & restore of client machines + remote access + easy integration with free live @ edu or google apps suites.
    + Ease of use = since I'm going to be teaching my mother how to administer the day to day stuff (she's the schools Business Manager).

    I guess I'm wondering what I can skimp on and what I can't ... ie: CPU & RAM ...

    Oh and I was looking at the HP Microserver because it hit the minimum spec so nicely ... but worried that the CPU wouldn't be up to much really ... RAM & HDD's are easily bumped up to what's required ... but don't think I can do the same for the CPU ...

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    @Luke_T

    To be honest the HP Microserver (all in my opinion) is aimed at small businesses of less than 10 people who just want a file share...nothing more nothing less than a place to dump files.
    Also take it from the POV that HP has made the Microserver so that it makes a loss in the short term (if they can churn those things out for £100 a go then I'd love to know how!) but in the long term small businesses which grow will be looking at HP again for their next big server (instead of considering the alternatives) because they know HP kit works.

    Now having said that our IT club does have one and they have everything running on it (AD/DNS/WSUS/WDS ect) however where are your options for future expansion?

    Also if you are not on site all the time you want something which you will know will be of server class hardware (longer life span ect) - although I am a avid supporter of AMD the Athlon Neo was never designed for use in a server.

    Now you have asked for suggestions and everyone here has said so far that you need more – it isn’t because we want you to waste money its because in our experience you do actually need that extra boost to make a good server.

    Also the server spec I listed above was only £1000 when we got it and I could well imagine you could get more for less now.

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    Luke_T's Avatar
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    @jamesfed

    Thanks for all the info ...

    I have no issues with taking the advice ... I'm just collecting it and explaining my reasoning :-)

    I've already decided I'll be getting a better spec than the Microserver offers ... just collating peoples advice as to what exactly to get ... I guess at the moment looks like the minimum spec will be pretty much the spec you've outlined ... perhaps with 8GB RAM & more storage if we can afford it ...

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    achedgy's Avatar
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    Even for a small school a microserver isn't going to be man enough for this, i run a couple of them for one man band businesses and they do the job. anything more, you need a 'proper' server with a bit more grunt, ability to upgrade and some resilence, especially if this is going to be a sole server for what could be a while. Something with redundant psu and hot swap drives i think is a must in an environment like this. Unless you want some very unhappy teachers after you!! In my experience you don't scrimp on the server, it's the bit that links everything together, without it, nothing works. They need to up that budget. Also, don't pay too much attention to 'minimum' specifications

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke_T View Post
    I've already decided I'll be getting a better spec than the Microserver offers ... just collating peoples advice as to what exactly to get ... I guess at the moment looks like the minimum spec will be pretty much the spec you've outlined ... perhaps with 8GB RAM & more storage if we can afford it ...
    The same rule always applies. Work out your minimum spec and then buy the best you can afford that exceeds that spec. It's a rule I always apply when buying kit at home and work. The more RAM and storage you get, the better, in other words!

  13. Thanks to elsiegee40 from:

    Luke_T (20th September 2011)



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