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Help on buying a server.

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September 1, 2006 7:07:17 AM

can someone recommend a good server setup? it will house win2k3+ad+dns+dhcp+isa+sql server+mysql+exchange+IIS+file server+some content filtering app ... budget would be like 1,500 - 2,000 bucks

should we go opteron or core 2 extreme?

More about : buying server

September 1, 2006 10:16:03 AM

go Xeon.
Dual Intel Xeon 5130(2.0GHz 1333FSB 4MB cache)
1 GB of Kingston DDR2-667 FB-DIMM Memory(2x512) (Supports Up to 16 GB Max)
Tyan Tempest i5000XL
Western Digital Caviar SE16 SATA-II 250GB 7,200 RPM
Sony DDU-1621 16X DVD-ROM
XFX GeForce 6500 PCIe 128MB Retail
I-Star S-10000LB Black EATX Full-Tower
Antec Neo HE 500W PSU (Single / Dual-CPU Ready)
Total:~2000$ depends where you order that. no keyb, mouse, monitor, OS...But it's a damn good machine. adding another 1GB of RAM and two more hdds for RAID5 and it's your dream machine.
September 1, 2006 10:41:44 AM

dual xeon with 1GB ram?

personally, i'd go with a single dual-core opteron or xeon with 2, maybe 4gb of ram.

and definately go for some kind of RAID, 5 or 6 preferably, depending on your budget and need for data security.

and investigate dual/redundant PSUs too, again depending on your need for data integrity and constant uptime.

and don't bother with the video card, most proper server-boards have onboard graphics, good enough for 2D.
Related resources
September 1, 2006 11:01:59 AM

I pointed that adding more RAM is preferable. But right now those CPUs are the best there are. The setup is not bad at all AND it has two PCIex16(1@x16 and 1@x8 ). The setup i proposed is as it is because of the budget limitations. But it has room for upgrade and is somewhat futureproof.
September 1, 2006 11:27:31 AM

Definitely not Core2 Extreme, and I would not buy Opteron today in a 2 CPU setup - only for 4CPU (8core) or more - which is not your case (at least not with your budget :wink: ).

The most important part of a server is disk and powersupply, and with all those services I would also get a dual CPU (quad core) setup - which you get with 2 Xeon CPU's.
But with your budget it is nessesary to choose some of the lower clocked Xeons to save money for the disksystem.
Preferably you should get a SAS RAID controller and a bunch of SAS disks - both Exchange and SQL server is very disk bound (see Microsofts recommended Exchange systems - they have got a system scaler applet somewhere on their site - and that is with the recommendation that AD and everything else runs on another server :roll: )

I would choose a SAS system disk for Windows 2003 Server and a fast RAID5 array with 4 SAS disks in RAID 5 for Exchange databases and SQL server.

And 4GB RAM (FB-DIMM) is minimum - don't even think about less.

AND DON'T FORGET BACKUP!!! A DVD+RW is not enough - get a DAT72 or LTO232 tape drive depending on the size of your data.

Your 2000$ budget? Not enough for your needs unless you want to run all these programs for 5 users or less. Sorry, you will need 4000$ for a dependable system. You could save serious money by going SATA without RAID (or with software RAID), but the reliablity is not enough for most server systems.
September 1, 2006 11:45:03 AM

2 x Intel Xeon 5130 (2.0 GHz) Dual Core Retail - $776.00
2 x Dynatron H6EG Cooler For Socket-771 - $96.00
1 x Supermicro X7DBE Intel 5000P Retail - $578.00
2 x Kingston DDR2-667 2 GB FB-DIMM - $1,096.00
3 x Western Digital Raptor 150GB 10,000 RPM OEM - $924.00
1 x Mitsumi 1.44 MB Black Floppy Drive - $15.00
1 x Sony DW-G120A Black Dual Layer DVD ± RW / CD-RW OEM - $70.00
1 x Silverstone Temjin SST-TJ07 Black EATX Full-Tower - $375.00
1 x Silverstone Zeus ST75ZF 750W PSU (Single/Dual-CPU Ready) - $208.00
1 x Mozilla Firefox Browser and Thunderbird Email (Free With Any OS) - $0.00
1 x 1 Year Parts and 1 Year Labor Standard Warranty Included Free - $0.00
1 x Self-Assembly Of System (Install Performed By You) - $0.00


Subtotal Price (Excludes Discounts, Taxes or Shipping) - $4,138.00

This is for the 4000$ budget :) 
September 1, 2006 11:59:00 AM

Quote:
can someone recommend a good server setup? it will house win2k3+ad+dns+dhcp+isa+sql server+mysql+exchange+IIS+file server+some content filtering app ... budget would be like 1,500 - 2,000 bucks

should we go opteron or core 2 extreme?



With all of those necessities, I'd go with Opteron. The FSB on Core 2 will choke on fileserving and AD.

You can get a nice dual Opteron 250 system or a single 265. I'd go with the 265 as it can be upgraded. And actually the new Opterons are called 2210-2220 (?). 2xxx is close enough and those will fit K8L next year. It should give a boost of 30-60%.
September 1, 2006 12:07:54 PM

Quote:
2 x Intel Xeon 5130 (2.0 GHz) Dual Core Retail - $776.00
2 x Dynatron H6EG Cooler For Socket-771 - $96.00
1 x Supermicro X7DBE Intel 5000P Retail - $578.00
2 x Kingston DDR2-667 2 GB FB-DIMM - $1,096.00
3 x Western Digital Raptor 150GB 10,000 RPM OEM - $924.00
1 x Mitsumi 1.44 MB Black Floppy Drive - $15.00
1 x Sony DW-G120A Black Dual Layer DVD ± RW / CD-RW OEM - $70.00
1 x Silverstone Temjin SST-TJ07 Black EATX Full-Tower - $375.00
1 x Silverstone Zeus ST75ZF 750W PSU (Single/Dual-CPU Ready) - $208.00
1 x Mozilla Firefox Browser and Thunderbird Email (Free With Any OS) - $0.00
1 x 1 Year Parts and 1 Year Labor Standard Warranty Included Free - $0.00
1 x Self-Assembly Of System (Install Performed By You) - $0.00


Subtotal Price (Excludes Discounts, Taxes or Shipping) - $4,138.00

This is for the 4000$ budget :) 


Nice system - and you priced it too! :D 

But where is my SAS disks and SAS RAID controller?
Backup unit HP LTO Ultrium 448 (LTO-2) Internal (about $1800).
September 1, 2006 12:08:54 PM

Don't build your own server, call Dell or HP
September 1, 2006 12:12:45 PM

Quote:
With all of those necessities, I'd go with Opteron. The FSB on Core 2 will choke on fileserving and AD.


Non-sense :roll: . With only two dual core CPU there is no problem with the FSB. Read any comparative test for your information! Fileserving and AD are disk bound anyhow so it is far form saturating the CPU front side bus which is sooooo much faster than disks.
September 1, 2006 12:17:50 PM

Quote:
Don't build your own server, call Dell or HP


Normally I agree. But sometimes you want to build the machine yourself - mostly for the pleasure of selecting just the right components - and THG forums are mostly for people who take pleasure in building it themselves.

But yes - I agree - you get better price, testing and server management by going Dell or HP.
a b à CPUs
September 1, 2006 12:23:39 PM

Quote:
can someone recommend a good server setup? it will house win2k3+ad+dns+dhcp+isa+sql server+mysql+exchange+IIS+file server+some content filtering app ... budget would be like 1,500 - 2,000 bucks

should we go opteron or core 2 extreme?



With all of those necessities, I'd go with Opteron. The FSB on Core 2 will choke on fileserving and AD.

You can get a nice dual Opteron 250 system or a single 265. I'd go with the 265 as it can be upgraded. And actually the new Opterons are called 2210-2220 (?). 2xxx is close enough and those will fit K8L next year. It should give a boost of 30-60%.

Wow BS strikes again!

A 1066MHz FSB is more then enough for a Quad Processor system (as has been shown). A 1333MHz even better but not needed.

I'm un-sure how the world looks to you but it seems like you're looking at the world through an AMD-only filter. Better get that checked bud.

Anyways...
Woodcrest is definitely the way to go. Especially if you end up using Virtualisation (running a separate O/S within Windows 2003). In that case I also suggest more then 1GB of memory.. 2 maybe 4GB for your usage. Other then that... seems like your Server is going to be one tough machine.
September 1, 2006 1:04:37 PM

I would also recommend Micron (buympc.com). They use OEM products off the shelf for their machines and their server support is top notch IMO, with 24/7 phone support with server technicians who know what they are doing, not your typical phone support experience.

I agree with some of the others, your budget and your requirements don't add up. You need a RAID array and a tape backup system, and that more than doubles the original budget right there without even talking about the system itself.

As for getting a machine now and upgrading later, all I would recommend doing later is adding more ram if you need it. Once you build/buy a server it goes on-line and unless you have a small business and/or a lot of weekend time alone, you can't take it off-line to tinker around with it unless it breaks. Buy/build a machine with what you want/need and be done with it. Yeah, you could come back later and add a tape drive if you can't afford it right now, but the rest of the system pretty much has to be up and running immediately.

Oh, and don't forget the cost of the software too. The OS and licences will cost you $700+ for w2k3 and 5 user licenses, and then you have the backup software cost too. That blows your original budget right there on software alone.
September 1, 2006 1:21:02 PM

Quote:
I would also recommend Micron (buympc.com).

Are they still around? It is a looong time since I bought from them - I thought they went under. Buying my Pentium/100 (top to the line then :D  ) was a good experience. Nice to hear that they still are in business.

Quote:

Yeah, you could come back later and add a tape drive if you can't afford it right now, but the rest of the system pretty much as be up and running immediately.


NO, Don't ever, EVER, run a server without automatic backup. I would save on everything but the backup. You could get a DAT72 which are much cheaper than the LTO 2 - but that would be in an emergency - backup is NOT where to save on a server. Through the years as a consultant I have seen way too many businesses in trouble after not doing their backups.... It is hard not to laugh when a decision to save a few bucks (and $2000 are few in this context), ends up costing several orders of magnitude more.
September 1, 2006 1:38:25 PM

Whoa, there nelly!!! You're lucky I wandered by. Don't be making a shopping list just yet.

You're going about this in the wrong way, and missing your goal. Yes, you'll need to spend that much but NOT on one system. First tell me: how many people will be on the Exchange server, and thus in the Active Directory Domain? Let us know and then we can start to suggest some hardware. But trust me, you'll need 2 systems for what you propose.

First, you need to have Exchange on it's own system and depending on how many people to support you may be able to do that on a $1100 system with 2 disks (RAID5) and 2GB of memory. Likewise, your domain controller could be on something as "little" as a $800 server if it's set up properly. It doesn't take much horsepower for that. And yes, you'll need to think about a backup system.

And also concerning how many people, do you really need Exchange? Do you have it already in production? It's can get pretty expensive with licensing per seat (number of mailboxes) and number of processors. Multiple processors means x2, x4, etc. the license cost. Microsoft I believe counts a single CPU with multiple cores as a single CPU so keep that in mind. So if you don't have Exchange now, and have less than 100 people, there are way better options. Exchange can also be a bitch to maintain over time.

Likewise with SQL. Are you supporting corp. finances, software development for 25 people, etc? SQL could be sitting off by itself on a $600 PC, depending on what your doing with it. But don't mix it in with your Exchange, or even the domain controller if you can help it.

You'll also need to think about overall network design. You may already have so I don't mean to insult you. Just that there is a lot more to think about than just buying a server and and Exchange license to get some people email.

Here is what I run (10 employees, including 3 Windows application software developers). And we used to be about 60 people. Our AD controller is running on an old Dell server dual-proc 533 with just 512MB of memory. The Exchange is on a new Dell 2.8Ghz workstation class with Raid5 by itself. SQL is on an a 1.5Ghz IBM desktop PC. Stay on top of everthing and and it can be rock solid for years. It can be done on relatively low powered hardwae, if you think through everything. So I'm guessing that you are a bit smaller company with limited budget and that' why you are thinking about putting it all on one system. Don't, but you can probably get by with less than you think.

Just give us some more info on your environment, please.
September 1, 2006 2:02:54 PM

Quote:
Whoa, there nelly!!! You're lucky I wandered by. Don't be making a shopping list just yet.


Well there have been a lot of qualified advice in this thread, and of course a few misses... Let me give some comments to your post:

Quote:
You're going about this in the wrong way, and missing your goal. Yes, you'll need to spend that much but NOT on one system. But trust me, you'll need 2 systems for what you propose.


As written earlier, Microsoft advices using different systems and not putting everything on one server. But they also recommends dividing the Exchange installation between: 1) Exchange Store server, 2) Webmail server, 3) SMTP gateway server.
3 Servers- and that is just for Exchange!

While there are good arguments in favor, in my experience that is totally overkill if the installation is under 100 users. And if the installation is less than 50 users, I don't see any reason to buy several small cheap servers, which will be without proper SAS disksystems for cost reasons. Then it is better to have one bigger server with proper hardware.

Quote:
First, you need to have Exchange on it's own system and depending on how many people to support you may be able to do that on a $1100 system with 2 disks (RAID5) and 2GB of memory.


RAID5 on only two disks. You must mean RAID 1 then? Again you don't get good systems for $1100.

Quote:
Likewise, your domain controller could be on something as "little" as a $800 server if it's set up properly.


With a $800 system you won't get the reliability of SAS and RAID5. And when the AD goes down - then everything goes down.
Contrary to gaming systems, the main parameter in midrange serversystems is reliability - not raw performance.

Quote:
It's can get pretty expensive with licensing per seat (number of mailboxes) and number of processors. Multiple processors means x2, x4, etc. the license cost. Microsoft I believe counts a single CPU with multiple cores as a single CPU so keep that in mind.


Exchange and SQL server is licensed per seat and per server, not per CPU. It is not like Oracle :D 
September 1, 2006 2:16:25 PM

Yes, you're right! RAID1. Sorry, trying to help the OP and carry on a office conversation at the same time.

But my main point is, we really need to know a lot, lot more about the OP's situation before we can specify anything. He shouldn't even look at Exchange for under 100 people, IMO. There are 25 ways to skin this cat, but not until we have more details, including the level of expertise that company has.
September 1, 2006 2:21:44 PM

bgaWrote:
Quote:
Exchange and SQL server is licensed per seat and per server, not per CPU. It is not like Oracle


Really?



Quote:
SQL Server Pricing and Licensing
Published: November 7, 2005 | Updated: April 21, 2006
* *
Download
Download SQLServer2005Licensingv1.1.doc
777 KB
Microsoft Word file
Updated: Apr 21, 2006
Get Office File Viewers
* *
Summary

Based on extensive input from customers, partners, and analysts, Microsoft offers three licensing models for customers to license SQL Server 2005. Each model is designed to meet specific customer needs.


Processor license. Optimized for customers building business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), and business-to-employee Web-based applications. A single license is required for each CPU in the operating system instance running SQL Server. This license does not require any device or user client access licenses (CALs).


Server plus device CALs. Optimized for non-Web-based scenarios in which there are multiple users per device (for example, kiosks). A license is required for the computer running SQL Server 2005, as well as a CAL for each client device.


Server plus user CALs. Optimized for non-Web-based scenarios in which there are multiple devices per user (for example, a laptop, PDA, and home PC). A license is required for the computer running SQL Server 2005, as well as a CAL for each user.

This document explains key licensing considerations for SQL Server customers.

Included in this document:
September 1, 2006 2:27:18 PM

Quote:
I would also recommend Micron (buympc.com).

Are they still around? It is a looong time since I bought from them - I thought they went under. Buying my Pentium/100 (top to the line then :D  ) was a good experience. Nice to hear that they still are in business.

Quote:

Yeah, you could come back later and add a tape drive if you can't afford it right now, but the rest of the system pretty much as be up and running immediately.


NO, Don't ever, EVER, run a server without automatic backup. I would save on everything but the backup. You could get a DAT72 which are much cheaper than the LTO 2 - but that would be in an emergency - backup is NOT where to save on a server. Through the years as a consultant I have seen way too many businesses in trouble after not doing their backups.... It is hard not to laugh when a decision to save a few bucks (and $2000 are few in this context), ends up costing several orders of magnitude more.

I don't disagree, but it is possible to add a tape drive without bringing the server off-line for extended period of time. That is my point, and you took that one sentence out of context.

Would I do it? No. But, my dudget wouldn't be $1500-2000 for a server that will probably run $8000. You could come back and add a $3000 tape drive in a few months, if you are willing and able to assume the risk with partial backups using some other method.
September 1, 2006 2:31:00 PM

Quote:
But my main point is, we really need to know a lot, lot more about the OP's situation before we can specify anything. He shouldn't even look at Exchange for under 100 people, IMO. There are 25 ways to skin this cat, but not until we have more details, including the level of expertise that company has.


I assumed that the original poster is from a smaller organisation - any big company has an IT department or at least too many qualified persons on board to go around asking basic server question in forums.
Of course to get a real professional solution, a lot of more analyses is needed. Thats why Microsoft Small Business Server is so dangerous. You get a LOT of powerfull server software in nice small box - but the complexity, or even the appropiateness, is way too much for the non-professionals who typically picks up the product.
September 1, 2006 2:35:42 PM

Quote:
company has an IT department or at least too many qualified persons on board to go around asking basic server question in forums.


Exactly, and until the original poster comes back and explains in more detail, and/or clarifies his position, it's very easy for the rest of us to spend his money and blow his budget on items he can neither use nor afford, and may not actually need. :wink:
September 1, 2006 2:36:58 PM

Quote:
bgaWrote:
Exchange and SQL server is licensed per seat and per server, not per CPU. It is not like Oracle


Really?


Generally Microsoft products are licensed per seat and per server - not per CPU. The exception being that SQL server (being a direct competitor to Oracle) CAN be licensed per CPU (with dual CPU counting as one).
But you can also license SQL server per seat or server as the document you quoted says.
September 1, 2006 2:45:38 PM

Quote:
Whoa, there nelly!!! You're lucky I wandered by. Don't be making a shopping list just yet.

You're going about this in the wrong way, and missing your goal. Yes, you'll need to spend that much but NOT on one system. First tell me: how many people will be on the Exchange server, and thus in the Active Directory Domain? Let us know and then we can start to suggest some hardware. But trust me, you'll need 2 systems for what you propose.

First, you need to have Exchange on it's own system and depending on how many people to support you may be able to do that on a $1100 system with 2 disks (RAID5) and 2GB of memory. Likewise, your domain controller could be on something as "little" as a $800 server if it's set up properly. It doesn't take much horsepower for that. And yes, you'll need to think about a backup system.

And also concerning how many people, do you really need Exchange? Do you have it already in production? It's can get pretty expensive with licensing per seat (number of mailboxes) and number of processors. Multiple processors means x2, x4, etc. the license cost. Microsoft I believe counts a single CPU with multiple cores as a single CPU so keep that in mind. So if you don't have Exchange now, and have less than 100 people, there are way better options. Exchange can also be a bitch to maintain over time.

Likewise with SQL. Are you supporting corp. finances, software development for 25 people, etc? SQL could be sitting off by itself on a $600 PC, depending on what your doing with it. But don't mix it in with your Exchange, or even the domain controller if you can help it.

You'll also need to think about overall network design. You may already have so I don't mean to insult you. Just that there is a lot more to think about than just buying a server and and Exchange license to get some people email.

Here is what I run (10 employees, including 3 Windows application software developers). And we used to be about 60 people. Our AD controller is running on an old Dell server dual-proc 533 with just 512MB of memory. The Exchange is on a new Dell 2.8Ghz workstation class with Raid5 by itself. SQL is on an a 1.5Ghz IBM desktop PC. Stay on top of everthing and and it can be rock solid for years. It can be done on relatively low powered hardwae, if you think through everything. So I'm guessing that you are a bit smaller company with limited budget and that' why you are thinking about putting it all on one system. Don't, but you can probably get by with less than you think.

Just give us some more info on your environment, please.

that's the only reasonable answer i've seen on this topic. People until now got recommending xeons, dual-socket with dual-cores and other expensive stuff without asking one of the most important things when designing a server: the load it will handle.
Then you guys say he'll need to buy a $4k machine to serve 5 people, tape backup when he can just burn a dvd, or stuff like that
be reasonable
September 1, 2006 2:47:07 PM

Quote:

Exactly, and until the original poster comes back and explains in more detail, and/or clarifies his position, it's very easy for the rest of us to spend his money and blow his budget on items he can neither use nor afford, and may not actually need. :wink:


I agree, more information on his needs would be good - but then again, this forum is not a substitute for a professional consultant.
I felt that recommending hardware on which a good reliable Windows Server for a smaller organisation could be build, is helpful for the original poster - specially if he is thinking about the Core2 X6800 EE and a server in the same breath.
There is of course more to a succesful server installation than hardware, but getting solid hardware even for very small installations is worthwhile for the reliability involved.
September 1, 2006 2:50:54 PM

True... It seems that once one gets the licensing model understood, they change it. :lol: 

The software is quite costly on it's own. I spent his budget on my SCSI adapter alone.
:wink:

Sounds like a lot of eggs for one basket to me. I would rather have less users beating my door down if the machine were to go down for any reason.
Just my opinion ofcourse.
September 1, 2006 2:59:55 PM

Quote:
that's the only reasonable answer i've seen on this topic. People until now got recommending xeons, dual-socket with dual-cores and other expensive stuff without asking one of the most important things when designing a server: the load it will handle.
Then you guys say he'll need to buy a $4k machine to serve 5 people, tape backup when he can just burn a dvd, or stuff like that
be reasonable


I can not agree with that. The reason to buy a $4000 (or more likely $6000) server even to service 5 people, is to get reliability. While it is possible to use several older/cheaper PC'sand partition the work between them (and burn DVD's for backup), - I would recommend against it -if your time, and that of your company, is worth anything. In a professional setting, hardware costs are neglible. It really does not matter if the server costs $2000, $4000 or $8000. What matters is the reliablity of the system as a whole, and the server are the most vulnerble part.
If you have so small a system that $8000 in hardware costs are significant, then don't use a server at all. Use POP3 mail, and install SQL server Express (free) and use file share from a standard Windows XP Prof machine, which even can doble as a workstation. And run it all on a standard PC.

Just don't expect server class reliablity.
September 1, 2006 3:04:15 PM

Yes, I pointed this out. And not to be a "smart arse" but to illustrate the complexity of the required planning for such a project. There are so many things to consider when building a server, all of which are important. I personally prefer to buy server hardware in 2's (Identical Hardware). This has saved me in the past and I will never forget it.
September 1, 2006 3:43:18 PM

what defines a server is what it does, not the hardware it uses. It's very possible to build a server based on "consumer hardware", with the same reliability and a lower cost. It all depends on what you're serving.
September 1, 2006 3:49:37 PM

Quote:
it will house win2k3+ad+dns+dhcp+isa+sql server+mysql+exchange+IIS+file server+some content filtering app


I can't believe anybody even TRIED to answer this question without first asking how many users will be banging on this server, how big are the data stores for exchange, how big are the databases served by SQL, etc etc etc.

On first glance it looks like you're cramming 10 pounds of ass in a 5 pound pair of jeans. I mean, are you really trying to do some serious database work w/ SQL server? Do you want maintainance on your database to bring down your e-mail and content filtering? Or more likely, do you want e-mail maintainace to bring your database programming to a hault ???

ISA, DNS, DHCP, and possibly IIS should go on one server which will be your firewall/internet server. It should have two network cards, and depending on the amount of content provided, will not need much storage. You probably don't even need a super fast CPU to deal w/ all that.

On the friendly side of that firewall is where you put your file servers, database servers, and e-mail servers. Again, files serving and exchange don't need the fastest CPUs in town, but will need large amounts of disk space.. that's redundant, fault tollerant, fast disk space w/ an off line backup - retrieval system. Look at RAID level 5 and some sort of tape system. Exchange will want as much memory as you can imagine... so that means 2 or 4 GB.

SQL Server, if used right, will be running querries on large files. The CPU should be used continuously, so use the fastest processor w/ as many cores as you can afford. Go dual or quad processor if possible.

Unless you're running a tiny little mom and pop home office, your budget is not realistic for all the services you are trying to provide.
September 1, 2006 4:00:12 PM

Quote:
what defines a server is what it does, not the hardware it uses. It's very possible to build a server based on "consumer hardware", with the same reliability and a lower cost. It all depends on what you're serving.


Non-sense :roll:
There are definite differencies between dedicated server hardware and consumer PC's. And they are mostly related to reliability, through better quality hardware and redundancy.
You can NOT get the same reliability from comsumer hardware no matter what the server is used for. Lower price, means MUCH lower reliability.
And while a consumer PC can be in a server role, it is not a professional server, and should not run anything critical for any business.
And when you say that you are going to run Windows Server, Exchange Server, SQL server, IIS and ISA serverprograms - you are planning to serve more than 2-3 PC's, and you definitely need real server hardware, and you can't get the same level of reliability with consumer hardware - even multiple consumer PC's. When you install a server, which is critical for any function on a network, then you need a certain minimum of professional server hardware (which I detailed earlier on). As your network gets bigger, you will need to eliminate ANY single point of failure, which means that at least two professional servers for every function on the network.
September 1, 2006 4:07:29 PM

Quote:
it will house win2k3+ad+dns+dhcp+isa+sql server+mysql+exchange+IIS+file server+some content filtering app


I am wondering, who runs sql server AND mysql on the same server ?
Anyway if its a very very small office like 10 people or less I would just buy some cheap low end systems with linux and split the load up.
Use the bulk of it for a decent backup system, even then your gonna exceed $2k. Thats just unrealistic to expect to handle all of that for only $2k.
You need that just for a decent backup system...

If theres gonna be more then that then your gonna have to triple the budget or more to handle all of that. Personally I like to duplicate everything, I have two of everything and I load balance it. If one server goes down then the other one takes up the slack while I repair the broken one. Reliability is key as system down time cost your company money. More money then doing this right is gonna cost you so its worth it to do it right.
September 1, 2006 4:13:03 PM

okay, then go to dell, hp or ibm websites, look for some entry level SERVERS. If ibm, dell or hp call it servers, i think they know what they're talking about... now check the specs:

pentium 4 (consumer processor)
sata drives (consumer drive)
ddr memory (consumer memory)

and so on.

Then you check the price they charge for exactly the same part you get from newegg or something, just because it's been used on a "server" machine.
Now you tell me these servers are not reliable just because they use consumer level hardware? Or maybe they are wrong by calling those machines servers...

Now who's non-sense?

like i always say: it's so easy to spend someone else's money...
September 1, 2006 4:29:08 PM

Quote:
ISA, DNS, DHCP, and possibly IIS should go on one server which will be your firewall/internet server.
It should have two network cards, and depending on the amount of content provided, will not need much storage. You probably don't even need a super fast CPU to deal w/ all that.


In Windows server system, the DNS server is integrated in AD. The DHCP server should be inside your firewall, so when the IIS machine gets hacked, you still have DHCP and DNS (rather essencial services). Yes a dual Xeon is not nessesary for this, but I would still get SAS discs for reliability.

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On the friendly side of that firewall is where you put your file servers, database servers, and e-mail servers. Again, files serving and exchange don't need the fastest CPUs in town, but will need large amounts of disk space.. that's redundant, fault tollerant, fast disk space w/ an off line backup - retrieval system. Look at RAID level 5 and some sort of tape system. Exchange will want as much memory as you can imagine... so that means 2 or 4 GB.


Well that is the kind of machine I have been recommending.

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SQL Server, if used right, will be running querries on large files. The CPU should be used continuously, so use the fastest processor w/ as many cores as you can afford. Go dual or quad processor if possible.


Well it depends. The typical need for SQL Server in the SMB market is a databaseserver for their accounting system. It can happily coexist with the Fileserver, Exchange server, DNS,AD and DHCP.
As the network size increases he needs to put Fileserver, AD server (+DNS and DHCP), SQL and Exchange servers on different servers.
And as the network size increases even more, he needs to duplicate the servers for redundancy. We are now talking 250+ clients.

When you have a relatively small network (and are not a heavy SQL user), it makes sense to put everything not external on one server, and the external part (IIS and the Exchange SMTP gateway) on another server which can be a simpler machine if external IIS is not critical for the business. Probably it is better to dispense with all external services and only use IIS internally and relying on an external webhost.
Then he only needs one good server.

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Unless you're running a tiny little mom and pop home office, your budget is not realistic for all the services you are trying to provide.


I think we agree on that!
September 1, 2006 4:33:33 PM

I don't consider low-end servers from Dell, IBM, HP etc. useful in any context. SATA drives in mission critical servers (except for non-essensial bulk data or near line backup) should be punishable by death. :twisted:
September 1, 2006 4:38:06 PM

yeah, i tend to agree with that. What i was trying to say is: let's wait for the OP's answer, which wiill help us help him on the best setup for his needs. There's no need for guessing, or even giving specs if he doesnt even answered what he needs.
A bad formulated question leads to bad answers, and that's what's happening now. Someone said that a 1k machine would be good for a mom and pop office, but what if it's this what he needs? :p 
an entry level, pre-built server may suck, but may be the right one for him
September 1, 2006 5:01:22 PM

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Someone said that a 1k machine would be good for a mom and pop office, but what if it's this what he needs? :p 
an entry level, pre-built server may suck, but may be the right one for him

Well not if he wants to run all those services he says he wants to run. And if it is only for mom and pop, he should run something different (no Exchange, no SQL and no Windows Server) in a peer to peer setting. Again you have to take is question at face value - assuming he are going to install all those systems on his server, and give him at least a one resonably configured server, even though his original question needs more information, to determine the number of servers needed.

Regarding the low-end prebuild servers, I can tell you as a HP certified professional, that on every course we are told by HP, that these machines exist only to offer something at a particular price point, to get some sales from those to would otherwise go to the whitebox market and buy a upgraded consumer PC as server. They are definitely not recommended.
A server without SAS drives, ECC and solid powersupply is not reliable enough for most businesses (even a grown up mom-and-pop), and RAID5 is beginning to be a requisite as well.
And when you go under a certain price point, these things are no longer included.
September 1, 2006 5:23:55 PM

in a word, SBS server. 1- you get all exchange, sql, ad, isaa (premium sbs that is)..
Server wise..
IF you support it, then build your own, if you are putting off site,
Get a dell or hp. IF you can avoid it, dont use sata drives, and definetly dont do raid 5. Either raid 1 or raid 10. Raid 5 is for storage (as of todays writing).
With a 6 drive raid 10 you could loose 2-3 drives, as long as not in the same mirror set, and still stay limping. And read / Write times are respectable.
Now processor wise, well, any dual core cpu will be ok. RAM is your friend in this situation. Make sure you have a 2x network port, 1 for lan, 1 for wan, to truely use the isa server (STILL USE A HARDWARE FIREWALL THOUGHT)..

this is the cheapest way to get a sql license period, MS charges you for the per user license format.

i recommend getting dual - 5110 cpu's... intels cheapest dual core xeon, yet more then enough for SBS. Ram is going to be the killer.
BUT it will cost a little over 2k for the hardware + software.. but can be done. but again, dont cut corners using sata drivers, versus scsi.. if you need storage, then get 2x 300 gb sata drives - mirror them, and use them for storage. but for the exchange and the sql's ,, scsi will make life easier, and most small companies dont really need 300 gb of high performance data space.
September 1, 2006 5:48:32 PM

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in a word, SBS server. 1- you get all exchange, sql, ad, isaa (premium sbs that is)..

Well cost wise, it is surely the best solution. After some bad experiences I don't recommend SBS to anyone. Maybe the newest version is ok, but I stay away.... Once burned.... :cry: 

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and definetly dont do raid 5. Either raid 1 or raid 10. Raid 5 is for storage (as of todays writing).

That is some strange advice. Every enterprise class solution uses RAID5. It is the best way to combine speed with redundancy. And no, don't count on loosing two drives at once. It is more likely that lightning strikes you on a clear day.
September 1, 2006 6:08:02 PM

Where i work we use Dell power edge servers. Most are on a couple 42U racks but we have some free power edge servers.

wow - so you wanna put your domain name server on top of a sql server on top of another sql server with exchange server an IIS server a file server and filtering app server ...

I guess if you have a small company 21-100 people i would get a dual xeon 3ghz with 2GB-4GB of RAM. I personally would get a dell because their service in the enterprise market is excellent. Next day delivery of a dead power supply is great.

If you got 101 - 1000 employees .. you're gonna need a server for each of those application and put it in a 42U rack.

JSYK all of that is going to take up quite a bit of resources and may cause lockups as each server app is grabbing at resources. I would recommend getting a couple servers to put all that on.

I don't know how you're gonna do it with just 1500-2000 dollars ... ???

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can someone recommend a good server setup? it will house win2k3+ad+dns+dhcp+isa+sql server+mysql+exchange+IIS+file server+some content filtering app ... budget would be like 1,500 - 2,000 bucks

should we go opteron or core 2 extreme?
September 1, 2006 6:27:53 PM

If this is for a business, and it sounds like it is, you would be EXTREMELY crazy to build it yourself, esp with a budget of $2k.

You aren't doing anything special with that machine- buy a simple, inexpensive Dell server (my favorite) for about $1500, and spend the other $500 for support services (or software licenses).

You do not want to run a business on machines you built yourself.

Or buy 2 servers- one to run Windows Active Directory, and a cheaper linux box to do everything else... That would probably be more stable too.
September 1, 2006 9:12:30 PM

yah, enterprise use raid 5, but accross 14-56 drives, not 3..
3 is slower than dirt, trust me, lol... Especially sata.. scsi is faster,
BUT for exch and sql, the MS best practice have those primary db's on raid 1 or 10, some logs on raid 5, but those are bigger servers. for a smb server, i always recommend raid 1 or 10, because of the speed..

With regards to sbs 2k3.. yah, the older versions were nothing but headaches.. but 2k3 when implemented correctly, rocks.. Draw back is that they are all on 1 machine. when r2 is released sbs allows you to use different physical servers, which is a definite plus, but until then..
September 1, 2006 11:35:56 PM

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yah, enterprise use raid 5, but accross 14-56 drives, not 3..
3 is slower than dirt, trust me, lol... Especially sata.. scsi is faster,
BUT for exch and sql, the MS best practice have those primary db's on raid 1 or 10, some logs on raid 5, but those are bigger servers. for a smb server, i always recommend raid 1 or 10, because of the speed..

With regards to sbs 2k3.. yah, the older versions were nothing but headaches.. but 2k3 when implemented correctly, rocks.. Draw back is that they are all on 1 machine. when r2 is released sbs allows you to use different physical servers, which is a definite plus, but until then..


??? Why do you think RAID 5 on 3 drives would be slow? The vast majority of RAID 5 arrays in business use are 3-5 drives only... Those "14-56 drive" arrays are pretty rare- and only the larger companies use more than a few of them because they're not cheap (to buy nor to service), nor are they necessary for almost any small business (or even most medium sized businesses).

In my experience, RAID 5 on 3 drives yields about a 20-30% increase in HD performance depending on the controller... SCSI is not necessarily faster than SATA. They both have the same maximum throughput generally, it's just that some SCSI drives spin faster- there aren't any 15k SATA raptors yet though I doubt it'll be long till we see them. What I like about SCSI is that they are generally built better, carry longer warranties, and you could technically use more of them on a single controller.

Still, for what this poster is thinking of doing, a small 3 drive RAID 5 array seems reasonable.
September 2, 2006 12:03:25 AM

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yah, enterprise use raid 5, but accross 14-56 drives, not 3..
3 is slower than dirt, trust me, lol... Especially sata.. scsi is faster,
BUT for exch and sql, the MS best practice have those primary db's on raid 1 or 10, some logs on raid 5, but those are bigger servers. for a smb server, i always recommend raid 1 or 10, because of the speed..


I don't know where you get your information. As you can se most other participants are rather puzzled by you not using RAID5. I have researched the issue a little and found that RAID6 is more common in those extremely large arrays you mention. I have several 4 disk RAID5 arrays running, and while they are not nesseseraly faster (and can be slower in read performance) than 4 disk RAID0+1 arrays they have only 25% disk space loss, compared to 50% for RAID0+1. A pure RAID1 (mirroring) 4 disk array performs poorer than a 4 disk RAID5 array. RAID0 seems to be the performance workstation standard (though lousy reliability), RAID5 the 4-16 disc array standard, with RAID6 or proprietary RAID formations for anything larger than that.
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