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Server advice for POS/File/DC...

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February 8, 2010 9:40:07 PM

The company I work for on the side (not main job) ran out of hard drive space. They only have 8GB free. The server is getting well aged; I believe its 5 years old, can’t recall what specs are. But what it sounds like is they want to get a new server. At least have me research the option and compare just getting another SCSI drive (not possible the drives in there now are in mirrored raid) or just an external HDD (also no my recommendation, no redundancy etc). So the best options I see is getting a new sever.

We have all HP devices printers, server, and workstations. It would be nice to stay with the same manufacture.

I want a server that will fulfill the following requirements:

• Support 7 office computers 3 POS registers at main location and 7 at remote locations(see end for details)
• Run these services
o Domain Controller
o Print Server
o File Server
o Pervasive SQL Server
o PC Charge it’s a Credit Card system
o Run some intense account reporting software
• Perform backups to some sort of removable media Tape preferred, don’t want to deal with DVD’s
• Has great hardware warranty so I am not responsible for that.

Another side question, I have 3 remote stores and one main store. I want to add those remote sites to the domain right now they are on a peer to peer network 2 registers at each store. How reliable will that be over a Site to Site VPN to have remote stores login to a Domain controller? What happens when lets say the internet goes down to a location, Trust me happens all to often at these locations.

If more detail is required I will answer as soon as possible. Also I know it’s late but I have to go to a meeting for this exact thing in 3 days.

More about : server advice pos file

February 8, 2010 11:03:50 PM

If you do a unified AD structure I would advise having local AD controllers at each site. The master can be at the main site and you can sync the other sites together (specifically to address latency and internet outages). Thats essentially our structure (very simplified), since everything sync's there is no real reason to go to the sites to deal with the AD controllers (although remote users can make changes to their site in the structure, that need for that would have to be determined based on your operation).

As far as the server... HP has plenty of options to fullfill whatever it is you need, the big quesiton is what your budget is. Also you can add a Modular Smart Array to an existing server to expand capacity without mucking with the existing drives (MSA-60 for instance). It all depends how much you want/need a new server for things besides storage.

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February 9, 2010 2:54:11 PM

I would love to have DC at each site. The budget isn't that high to by 4 new servers. So keep those remote sites on a peer to peer then?

I am the only IT staff they have and I have a full time desktop support job at a big company. So I am in charge of it all but don't have the time for it. I would love to do so much with the company as IT is concerned but just not realistic. Enough about my sob story.

I do not know the budget but I am guessing around $4,000. I think a new server with 4 1TB SATA drives in raid 10 would be ideal. They only have I think 150GB drive they just filled up in 5 years. P.S. I did not setup there network originally.

Can I through any SATA drive in a HP ProLiant ML370 G6 Server series? Like a western digital 1TB drive ($90 from Newegg). If I look at the customize options on that ML370 it like $300 for 1TB SATA. That’s out rages compared to Newegg. I did notice that the HDD from hp are SFF(small form factor) that’s if you go with the small form factor server. But the LFF(large form factor) I am not sure what size that is. Is that a standard HDD? Also the hot swap drives I don’t really need hot swap, Do I?

It would be great to get a MSA-60 but I don’t think they need that much space and I don’t think I could justify the cost.
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February 9, 2010 3:14:46 PM

Do you have open PCI 32 bit slots in the 370? If so, you could certainly add an inexpensive external SATA array using an eSATA PCI card with hardware RAID. To get RAID 10, you would need at least a four drive enclosure, and an eSata card that supports hardware RAID. You could also do software based mirroring if you don't need serious performance. This is certainly the cheaper way to go, and would get you through the disk shortage until you had other reasons to replace the entire server(s). You can easily do something like this for under $600.00.

JF

PS, once you do decide to go with a server upgrade, you should consider more but smaller servers, and use the newer server 2008 remote office server install that handles mostly AD type functions.
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February 9, 2010 3:44:48 PM

Sorry I guess I did not clarify. The ML370 G6 is what I am looking at getting. We have a
ML350
2xXeon 3.40ghz dual core
3.5Gb ram
140GB
Storage works ultra 215

I just talk to them they said they are fine on storage for now they are doing some spring cleaning on the server I Guess.
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February 9, 2010 4:29:37 PM

I use Dell servers, so they might not do things the same, but when I bought our Precision 2900, Dell price matched 500GB hard drives for me. Bear in mind the HDD are enterprise-class, which are usually more expensive. I found the enterprise drives on Newegg, called Dell, and the pricematched them in the Hot Swap trays. I think Hot Swap is worth it. If a hard drive goes down during the middle of a busy business day, you have have a hot spare on hand, it kicks in, you swap out the bad drive, plug it back in and it becomes the new hot spare. All this while the server stays online.

One other note: DO NOT put the OS on the same RAID array as the files. I would also strongly caution about using anything other than a RAID 1 array for the OS. Our server has the OS on RAID 1 and 5x500GB on RAID 5.
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February 9, 2010 4:32:37 PM

I did not think of price matching. Curious how much did you pay for those 500GB each. Are they SATA?
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