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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Small server to run vm while normal server gets fixed. in Technical; I look after a number of small primary schools that have a single server setup. Along with the normal backups ...
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    Small server to run vm while normal server gets fixed.

    I look after a number of small primary schools that have a single server setup. Along with the normal backups I also use vmware Converter to capture an image. This has served me well in the past for doing server migrations and could be used if a server goes down to let a select few members of staff still work.

    I am looking to get a not so powerful server that I can take with me into a school, dump the image onto and leave on site until they have a working server.

    I did see on these forums something about a mini server (might be HP) that may do the job.

    Obviously it needs to light so I can carry it.

    I was going to say cheap as its got to come out of my pocket, but if its good I might be able to find the cash.

    Any thoughts on this or alternative ideas.

    Thanks.

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    You are probably thinking of the HP Pro Liant Micro Server - small little thing with a Athlon Neo II processor (will run hardware VMs on it well). Certinly not the most powerful thing on the planet but runs 2k8R2 well enough.
    Last month HP were doing a 100 cashback on it and it might even be still running now.

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    m25man's Avatar
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    Are you planning on using the VMWare converter to create a VM to run on your "Spare Server"? or is the "Spare Server" going to be a Physical replacement?

    Im just thinking about the VM Template issues in moving between Intel and AMD hardware. Fine if everything is Intel "OR" AMD but if you need to support both it could give rise to issues.
    Never had to deal with it myself as I only use AMD's to cook toast...

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    chrbb's Avatar
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    Do you have server software running on the 'small server' to enable the vm image to work?

    Also what do other primary techs on here do to prepare for the day that their one and only server goes pete tong?

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    VM Template issues in moving between Intel and AMD hardware
    I am going to have windows installed with vmware server2 running the vm. Is that still hardware dependant? if so good thinking m25man.

    Basically I will probably use it at home as a server (server2008) for testing and running my own network but in the event of complete failure I can bung it in a school for a few days.

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    Do you have server software running on the 'small server' to enable the vm image to work?
    I have played with vmware esxi but they don't fit a small school setup. You can get everything backup and running in no time using esxi but you need iscsi drives and other hardware for it to really work.

    I currently use vmware server2 (free) to run a captured system from. you can run multiple desktops and servers all virtually linked with a virtual network all from one computer for testing.

    I use vmware converter to capture a working live system that can run in vmware server2.

    Its a backup of a backup plan. (can't have to many backups) and the fact its a live working system gives you testing options too.

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    We migrated over 3 2K8 servers from Intel processors to a AMD 8 core using Hyper-V/System Centre Virtual Machine manager with no troubles, while Hyper-V server may not be your best option (as its a bit of a pain to setup) but it runs fine using local storage.

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrbb View Post
    Also what do other primary techs on here do to prepare for the day that their one and only server goes pete tong?
    Personally I always have next day onsite warranty and valid backups. Never needed anything above this.

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    TechSupp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrbb View Post
    Also what do other primary techs on here do to prepare for the day that their one and only server goes pete tong?
    Pray! or at least thats what I do, only ever had one server go down and that was really only just a W98 PC that was used as a general file store when I first started so not a proper server. I did have an NEC have its power supply blow with flames, fortunately under warranty and a nice man came out and sorted it :-) Try to get servers with three years on site warranty for harware issues and as I say for software issues a little bit of praying goes a long way so far! (touches all bits of wood he can find near him!) Others are Fujitsu and they have never had a moment so far (6 years for the oldest), bit slow now (P4 with 512Mb) so in the process of sorting out replacements, the originals being put to use as backup devices of extra storage for archive etc.
    Last edited by TechSupp; 17th January 2011 at 09:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    Personally I always have next day onsite warranty and valid backups. Never needed anything above this.
    The problem is virtually all the big manufacturers (Dell, HP and Lenovo) have a clause in there warranty plans that say next day on site warranty - somebody will be on site by the next day to look at the problem, if however you need parts then these will be as long as they will be!.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TechSupp View Post
    Pray! or at least thats what I do, only ever had one server go down and that was really only just a W98 PC that was used as a general file store when I first started so not a proper server. I did have an NEC have its power supply blow with flames, fortunately under warranty and a nice man came out and sorted it :-) Try to get servers with three years on site warranty for harware issues and as I say for software issues a little bit of praying goes a long way so far! (touches all bits of wood he can find near him!) Others are Fujitsu and they have never had a moment so far (6 years for the oldest), bit slow now (P4 with 512Mb) so in the process of sorting out replacements, the originals being put to use as backup devices of extra storage for archive etc.
    Actually I should have said what happens if there's a software problem! Like most people I have a warranty for hardware, onsite nbd, but when windows goes and the server needs rebuilding what do you have in place for that? Timescale etc?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesreedersmith View Post
    The problem is virtually all the big manufacturers (Dell, HP and Lenovo) have a clause in there warranty plans that say next day on site warranty - somebody will be on site by the next day to look at the problem, if however you need parts then these will be as long as they will be!.
    Dell offers a ProSupport Warranty on all their equipment. We order desktops, servers and laptops all with ProSupport Warranty. With this warranty they dont even have to send a tech and will have parts their next day if you feel you are qualified to handle it.


    As far as the vmware issue - not sure. Why not just have the schools pay for a server? If they are THAT small, you could probably run 2 domain controllerssand file server and have them replicate eachother. Servers arent THAT expensive especially for smaller applications.

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesreedersmith View Post
    The problem is virtually all the big manufacturers (Dell, HP and Lenovo) have a clause in there warranty plans that say next day on site warranty - somebody will be on site by the next day to look at the problem, if however you need parts then these will be as long as they will be!.
    Over the past 5 years the few problems I have had with a server have been cured with a next day visit by tech (who have always brought a wealth of parts) or next day delivery of parts for me to replace. So far not gone beyond one days worth of downtime.

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrbb View Post
    Actually I should have said what happens if there's a software problem! Like most people I have a warranty for hardware, onsite nbd, but when windows goes and the server needs rebuilding what do you have in place for that? Timescale etc?
    Without wishing to tempt fate here, I have never had to rebuild a server.
    But if I did it would depend on the situation. At my CCx schools it would be the time taken to restore from the backup. At Vanilla school I have a store of backups with be can bare metal restored and also every so often the VHDs are copied over. So in an emergency it would be the time to reinstal Hyper-V and attach the VHDs.

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    TechSupp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrbb View Post
    Actually I should have said what happens if there's a software problem! Like most people I have a warranty for hardware, onsite nbd, but when windows goes and the server needs rebuilding what do you have in place for that? Timescale etc?
    On the software side....pray and hope Edugeek will come to my rescue, other than that would call a local company and be prepared to pay for day rate call out charges for one of their engineers to come and assist. As far as time scale it is what it is and it would get fixed as soon as possible, cant do more than that. I only cover the curriculum side so if it goes down its not mission critical and people would have to go back to chalk and slate for a while. Admin side is looked after by the LA.

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