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Windows Server 2000/2003 Thread, advice on building new server before april in Technical; Hello all, Hope this is in the right section (sorry Mods if not) I am in a primary school which ...
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    advice on building new server before april

    Hello all,
    Hope this is in the right section (sorry Mods if not)

    I am in a primary school which needs its server upgrading as the last servers MoBo through its legs in the air and died. Im temporarly using a Pentium D 2.8Ghz with 2gb RAM + 2x500Gb SATA2 which is proving to be a bit guttless when it comes to intense situations.

    Im looking at a budget of about 600 but that has to include CPU, MoBo, RAM, Hdd and PSU

    Ive been looking at CPUs and MoBo's and its a bit of a mine field out there. I was looking at a Intel Xeon X3230 S775 2.66GHz 8MB 1066FSB but then was scared off by the 'EM64T' hardware and software requirements (but i will be running a 32bit version of server2003 so im not sure if that affects anything).

    Another CPU ive been looking at is the Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 3.16GHz 6MB Cache S775 1333MHZ, would be brilliant as a fileserver but it will also be the domain controler so maybe only 2cores is stretching it abit.

    Does anyone have any advice as to what chip and mobo to go for, any help would be much appreciated

    Thank you in advance

    P.S did I mention that this has to be ordered and payed for by the 30th of March (10 days!)

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    The Xeon is a server CPU and probably much better at handling the tasks required. Don't worry about EMT64 it will still run 32bit stuff fine but does give you the option of upgrading to a more modern server OS at some point that will require 64bit.

    To properly recommend it would help to know more about the environment it is going into. How many client pcs, what serveses and applications must be run on it, how much document space is in use at the moment and how much do you forsee that you will need. We will be able to give you much better suggestions and assesments with this information.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JAB1a View Post
    Im looking at a budget of about 600 but that has to include CPU, MoBo, RAM, Hdd and PSU
    Make sure the CPU you get has hardware support for virtualisation. This is a server, you'll want RAID storage. For 600 total you're probably going to be able to manage software RAID only, so get a smaller harddrive to install the OS on (maybe a 32GB 10,000 Raptor drive if you can afford it) and get a couple of larger disks (1TB or 500GB) to make a RAID-1 volume. Install your favourite VM system on the main harddrive and run VMs from the RAID volume.

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    Thank you SYNACK for your fast reply.

    We have about 400 pupils and staff, about 60 workstations and about 30 laptops. The server is running as print server, DHCP, DNS, WSUS, DC. Also there is alot of curriculum software installed to run from network rather than localy. For the Hdd I was going to buy 2x 1Tb SATA2 for storage and redundancy then 1x80Gb for OS. Its more the chip and MoBo im after help with.

    Basicly I want as much bang for my buck as possible as this will be the last upgrade of quite some years I think, so I need the storage but also the throughput to last awhile. I dont think I will be moving to Server2008 yet unless its not that much different to 2003 (but thats another task for later, I need to buy this hardware first)

    Any more suggestions will be very nice to have.

    So SYNACK, do I have to buy a MoBo that has EM64T-enabled bios etc for this chip to still run 32-bit OS or is this only if I want to later run a 64-bit OS?

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    Michael's Avatar
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    I've used the Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 3.16GHz 6MB Cache S775 1333MHZ in quite a few server installations. It's perfectly suitable - even for running a domain controller.

    As Synack already mentioned, EM64T simply means it's compatible with 64bit operating systems, such as Windows. Pretty much every CPU released today supports this, as eventually 64bit will become the norm.

    I really like Intel's own motherboards for servers. They're fairly priced in my opinion, but it may slightly push your 600 limit. It depends what else you're looking to buy or need. Intel server boards also come complete with RAID built in and it's all straight forward to setup.

    Using a combination of RAID and multiple physical hard disks for storage, you can then load balance files/services. The latest Maxtor/Seagate SATA2 with 32MB cache is what I used recently with excellent results. Read/write speed is better than U160 SCSI, and fractionally slower than U320 SCSI. The price difference is huge however.

    SATA3 is in the final stages of being completed and is twice as fast as the SATA2 specification (theoretical), however I suspect hard drives based on SATA3 won't be available until the end of 2009.

  6. Thanks to Michael from:

    JAB1a (20th March 2009)

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    I had a sales email from ebuyer earlier which had an HP ProLiant ML115 G5 server: Quad core AMD, 1GB RAM, 160GB SATA HDD for 199.99 inc VAT

    that may do the trick with a little upgrading on the RAM and a couple of HDD's to stick in RAID for System Drive

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    Quote Originally Posted by JAB1a View Post
    Thank you SYNACK for your fast reply.

    We have about 400 pupils and staff, about 60 workstations and about 30 laptops. The server is running as print server, DHCP, DNS, WSUS, DC. Also there is alot of curriculum software installed to run from network rather than localy. For the Hdd I was going to buy 2x 1Tb SATA2 for storage and redundancy then 1x80Gb for OS. Its more the chip and MoBo im after help with.
    with all those roles and features running I would personally get a couple of servers and split them out - you'll proberbly find a good preformance increase (I have most of those services running on different servers)

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    Very interesting DAckroyd,

    What services would you split out, because I can always use the old server (using it at the moment) to do some work (but then im worried about running old hardware with the new hardware which could later lead to troubles maybe if the old server decides to die)?

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    with all those roles and features running I would personally get a couple of servers and split them out
    You could do that, but alternatively (in most situations) it's better to buy more smaller hard drives. Such as 4 or 5 x 500GB hard drives, instead of just 2 x 1TB hard drives. The performance is better the more physical drives you have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    You could do that, but alternatively (in most situations) it's better to buy more smaller hard drives. Such as 4 or 5 x 500GB hard drives, instead of just 2 x 1TB hard drives. The performance is better the more physical drives you have.

    So you think 4x500Gb RAID1?

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAB1a View Post
    So SYNACK, do I have to buy a MoBo that has EM64T-enabled bios etc for this chip to still run 32-bit OS or is this only if I want to later run a 64-bit OS?
    Any MB that supports the Xeon chip will support both x86 (32bit) and x64. I would also agree with DAckroyd about getting a brandname server because of the quality of the hardware and warrenty (which can be hugely valuable 3years on a ML110 I think) along with the quality of the drivers and the fact that they are designed to run in a server role. This means better quality components on the MB and a PSU with a bit more inteligence built in. The RAM is also ECC which is especially important for extra stability in a server.

    The ML110 has a software raid unit built onto the MB which works pretty well and so long as you aren't doing heavy database stuff should handle it fine. The Xeons as a CPU are generally a better quality part as their QA testing is more through on most lines and they are also more likely to support virtualization. With the load you look to be expecting a dual core should even cope - again excluding heavy use databases - but the extra cores will give you a speed boost.

    If you are going for large hard drives that will running the whole time then you may also want to look into server grade SATA drives like Seagate ES drives. Again these cost a little more but are speced to run 24/7, have a longer warrenty and are generally more robust.

    Probably outside you budget but a propper RAID card can also be hugely benificial and make the system a lot quicker. You may be able to squeze an Adaptec adapter into the budget which is not fantastic but is slightly better than the onboard stuff that is included on a ML110.

    You could also look at getting a second hand server of a much higher product line from a refurbishment place with dual PSUs and CPUs but replacement parts on this would be expencive and you would not have the nice fluffy warrenty to fall back on.

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    Well RAID1 simply gives you redundancy, so in practice, 4 x 500GB (2 x RAID1 configuration) would give you 1TB of useable space. RAID5 might be a better option. It really depends how much redundancy you need.

    As a recommendation, your system drive should have RAID1 as a minimum. As for everything else, this really depends. Most servers don't have redundancy for everything, it would be too expensive, but of course a good backup solution (either tape or a NAS) would be recommended.

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    if you have an old server laying around put WSUS onto that with either PrintServer or DHCP should offer nice load balance - it's more the network traffic you will be spilting on a network this size.
    Was this your only server that died or did you have a second AD server already? I would always recommend having a second AD if thats all you have. you might actaully want to look at having 2 DC's and use shared storage for user data?

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    matt40k's Avatar
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    Buy either a supermicro barebone, a HP or Dell server, really cheap, then get Kingston RAM and some Seagate HDD.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Buy either a supermicro barebone, a HP or Dell server, really cheap, then get Kingston RAM and some Seagate HDD.
    Have to agree with this strategy, it describes most of our servers. You can fit four harddrives in the Dell T105 server (and the motherboard has 4 SATA ports) if you take the DVD drive out - might want to get a 5.25" fan unit to fit in front if you mind the machine having a hole in, and you'll probably want a USB DVD drive standing by. Dell (and probably HP, too) sometimes sell their cheaper servers with two harddrives, so you'd just need to get a couple more and some RAM.

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