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$3000 Small Business Server

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  • Servers
  • Systems
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 2, 2010 7:56:11 AM

I know gaming computers fairly well, but I'm going to be building a $3000ish PC for a doctor's office next week, and would love any advice that anyone has to give! This machine will basically be a server, probably not used as a workstation all that much, and will just run some simple doctor's office software. There will be 5 or 6 other computers connecting to it. Also, if anyone knows anything about fax servers let me know! The system requirements for a server of that size with the other program are something like a P-IV with 2gb RAM... but he wants to spend a fair bit of cash (since the license for the software alone is $500 a month or something). I just tossed a few parts together on a couple sites, and ended up with something like this:

CPU: Intel Core i7 980x
MOBO: Gigabyte X58A-UD3R
RAM: 24gb (6x4gb) Corsair Dominator CL9 1600mhz
CASE: Corsair Graphite 600T
PSU: Corsair TX650W
VIDEO: Radeon 6870 (know I don't need this, but I can't put a 5450 with a 980x....)
HDs: 4x 1TB WD Caviar Black in Raid 10 (have done RAID 0, don't know much about this, any suggestions welcome)
OS: Windows Server 2008? Windows 7 Ultimate? Either apparently will work, don't know much about Windows Server... any tips welcome!
ODD: Samsung 24x DVDRW

Once again, any help would be great! Thanks in advance!

More about : 3000 small business server

a b B Homebuilt system
November 2, 2010 1:02:12 PM

You are essentially speccing a gaming machine as a server. Why? That makes no sense. If he is just wanting to spend money, buy or build a server with either a Xeon or Opteron CPU along with ECC memory. Make sure you have plenty of memory (8GB or better) and plenty of disk space. Also, you must use a server OS to make a server.

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a b B Homebuilt system
November 2, 2010 1:08:48 PM

COLGeek said:
You are essentially speccing a gaming machine as a server. Why?

This
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 2, 2010 1:27:36 PM

delluser1 said:
This

Huh???
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 2, 2010 1:30:28 PM

COLGeek said:
Huh???

Um, I was seconding your question.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 2, 2010 1:33:43 PM

delluser1 said:
Um, I was seconding your question.

HOOAH!!! Got you now. For $3K, one can spec a great server. This is simply not an appropriate platform, as is.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 2, 2010 4:43:48 PM

Like I said, I'm completely new to this. I've only dealt with really small scale servers in the past, have never used Windows server or gone with ECC RAM or a Xeon etc.

What sort of stuff would you recommend? Dual Xeon processors? And what is a good motherboard to base that around then? Also, are those enterprise hard drives much better than just going with Caviar Black ones?

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a b B Homebuilt system
November 2, 2010 4:55:54 PM

Given the size of the network and minimal software requirements from your original post, a single CPU server will meet the need. Do you really want to build a custom system or buy a complete system that will include a warranty and tech support?
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 2, 2010 4:59:56 PM

Check this out:

http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/quickspecs/13716_na/...

You could get one of these with 4 2TB drives, 8GB RAM, and Windows Server 2008 and more than meet the small office's needs. It would be cool, quiet, energy efficient, and "green".

A server is about storage and reliability, not raw horsepower like a gaming box.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 2, 2010 7:06:35 PM

Alright, I looked through the program requirements, and here's what they say for their recommended 5-45 user server:

Dual Processors with speed of 2.0 GHz or faster
4 GB RAM +
Redundant Hard Drives (RAID 10), 7200+ RPM
Hard Drive Size: 60 GB +
Recommend 6 physical Hard Drives including 2 mirrored
pairs in a RAID10 configuration
Ethernet NIC 10/100
Fax Modem (for paperless office set‐up)
Windows Server 2003 Small Business Premium (includes
SQL Server 2000/2005)*

So it looks like I need that particular version of Windows Server, which I can a copy of. I'd prefer to build my own rather than simply buy an HP as well - that way people pay me rather than HP for tech support and warranty... So how does this machine sound:

Dual E5620 2.4ghz 32nm quad core chips
ASUS Z8PE-D12 dual 1366 motherboard
24gb (or 12gb?) 1333mhz Kingston ECC Ram CL9
6x 1tb Caviar Black hard drives (2 in Raid 1 for OS, 4 in Raid 10 for storage)
(or 2x SSDs for the OS in Raid 1?)
Corsair Obsidian 800D
2x Hyper 212+ CPU coolers
Modem

Also, curious about a power supply and video card here... Seems like the board needs a 20+4pin and 2 8-pin ones - any suggestions? Also, for a video card, should I bother with something like a 6870, or just toss in something cheaper? Thanks again for all your help!
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 2, 2010 7:32:23 PM

Go with whatever on-board video the mobo has. No need to add another.

Specs look good. If your budget can swing it, go for the 24GB.

Go for a redundant PSU.

Now you are on the right track.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 2, 2010 7:36:03 PM

How big is this doctors office ?
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 2, 2010 10:41:29 PM

No erase that entire system.

1) you want support someone to call in case of a problem
2) you want windows 2008 R2
3) you don't need 3/4 of that crap.
4) you will need to contract someone to help you set it up properly to an industry standard.

I'm only suggesting dell because i'm familiar with their small business site. Just go to dell, small business section, and spec out a low powered domain controller.

jasonw223 said:
I know gaming computers fairly well, but I'm going to be building a $3000ish PC for a doctor's office next week, and would love any advice that anyone has to give! This machine will basically be a server, probably not used as a workstation all that much, and will just run some simple doctor's office software. There will be 5 or 6 other computers connecting to it. Also, if anyone knows anything about fax servers let me know! The system requirements for a server of that size with the other program are something like a P-IV with 2gb RAM... but he wants to spend a fair bit of cash (since the license for the software alone is $500 a month or something). I just tossed a few parts together on a couple sites, and ended up with something like this:

CPU: Intel Core i7 980x
MOBO: Gigabyte X58A-UD3R
RAM: 24gb (6x4gb) Corsair Dominator CL9 1600mhz
CASE: Corsair Graphite 600T
PSU: Corsair TX650W
VIDEO: Radeon 6870 (know I don't need this, but I can't put a 5450 with a 980x....)
HDs: 4x 1TB WD Caviar Black in Raid 10 (have done RAID 0, don't know much about this, any suggestions welcome)
OS: Windows Server 2008? Windows 7 Ultimate? Either apparently will work, don't know much about Windows Server... any tips welcome!
ODD: Samsung 24x DVDRW

Once again, any help would be great! Thanks in advance!

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a b B Homebuilt system
November 2, 2010 11:01:42 PM

so you're the contractor?

Make sure the version of windows is legit. Nothing pisses off a company more than finding out they got audited for illegal software.

If the software is specified you should get that version. It wants 2x processors so you'll need a dual socket board. Make sure you get intel. you'll need the 5600 sequence of xeon processors.

It wants raid 10 but I think RAID 0+5 would be better. ALways get dual gigabit; one as fail over.

The fact that you're asking us here I would recommend YOU go with a brand such as dell or HP to call incase of problems. You have to rememember that in a business any downtime is loss money. So make sure you have a means to get the server back up ASAP. Ideally within the period of 10 minutes ago and NOW.

I so recommend you go with a brand don't be so smug. Server is serious business and building one from scratch is just stupid. You risk liability building it yourself.

jasonw223 said:
Alright, I looked through the program requirements, and here's what they say for their recommended 5-45 user server:

Dual Processors with speed of 2.0 GHz or faster
4 GB RAM +
Redundant Hard Drives (RAID 10), 7200+ RPM
Hard Drive Size: 60 GB +
Recommend 6 physical Hard Drives including 2 mirrored
pairs in a RAID10 configuration
Ethernet NIC 10/100
Fax Modem (for paperless office set‐up)
Windows Server 2003 Small Business Premium (includes
SQL Server 2000/2005)*

So it looks like I need that particular version of Windows Server, which I can a copy of. I'd prefer to build my own rather than simply buy an HP as well - that way people pay me rather than HP for tech support and warranty... So how does this machine sound:

Dual E5620 2.4ghz 32nm quad core chips
ASUS Z8PE-D12 dual 1366 motherboard
24gb (or 12gb?) 1333mhz Kingston ECC Ram CL9
6x 1tb Caviar Black hard drives (2 in Raid 1 for OS, 4 in Raid 10 for storage)
(or 2x SSDs for the OS in Raid 1?)
Corsair Obsidian 800D
2x Hyper 212+ CPU coolers
Modem

Also, curious about a power supply and video card here... Seems like the board needs a 20+4pin and 2 8-pin ones - any suggestions? Also, for a video card, should I bother with something like a 6870, or just toss in something cheaper? Thanks again for all your help!

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a b B Homebuilt system
November 3, 2010 1:55:24 AM

xxsk8er101xx said:

The fact that you're asking us here I would recommend YOU go with a brand such as dell or HP to call incase of problems. You have to rememember that in a business any downtime is loss money. So make sure you have a means to get the server back up ASAP. Ideally within the period of 10 minutes ago and NOW.

So you believe that Dell or HP could get a server back up ASAP, 10 minutes ago and NOW, if one of thier servers went down ?
That's a very happy place your in.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 3, 2010 4:17:13 AM

Alright it's me again. Now I've used Dell Servers when I worked as an IT guy for the government, and yeah, I sort of know the ups and downs of having a Dell / HP / etc. I don't believe that they are made of any better components than what I could use myself, and I also don't think this is quite what I'm looking for. Realistically, this system is OVERKILL. The programs that he needs to run really are not that complicated.

The fact is, he'd like to spend $3000 on a computer, and what I listed above were the specs.

Now as for your other comments:

I have 1 legit copy of pretty much any piece of Microsoft software through an engineering thing at the University here. I do have a copy of Microsoft Server 2003 Small Business. I've also got the other versions of the 2003 server, plus those R1 versions, and all the versions of 2008 Server...
-> The thing I'm not too sure about, is how the CAL licensing will work... Do you need to license all the computers that will pull files from this server? Laptops? PDAs? I have no idea, this will be my first server!

What exactly is Raid 0+5? And why is it better? I understand and have used 0 a few times, and have sort of used raid 5 (not much / recently).

And this doctor's office is pretty small. There will be less than 10 computers, but close to that I believe. Couple of those will be laptops. That spec I listed is for from 5-45 users.

Anyhow, thanks for the help so far everyone, and sorry I haven't been able to reply too often!

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Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
November 3, 2010 1:55:29 PM

Using the license via the university is likely a violation to the terms of agreement between the university and MS, by the way. OSes made available through those programs are for educational purposes, not business efforts (as your doctor's office is).

CALs are authorized on the server itself and control the number of users that can access the server. You need one authorization for each system (PC, laptop) that will be part of that server's domain (this is the simple explanation). So, you need to have sufficient CALs for the number of anticipated users in your office network.

Last, you need to include the price of the OS in the $3K budget and not do as you are proposing via the university program. If the doc's office were to get audited, you would be in deep poo.

Last last, you would still be much better off going to HP or Dell and speccing a server. You could then install and configure and offer tech support for everything not provided by Dell or HP (the box itself). This is lower risk to the customer (doctor's office) and to you (if you dork up the server in any way).

Servers and gaming systems are vastly different and this thread (not to throw stones because we all have to learn) clearly indicates the differences. Take some advice from those of us who have been there and take care of your customer to meet their best interest. You can still spend their $3K easily and get them a better deal.

Have fun!
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 3, 2010 4:04:51 PM

Fair enough, thanks for all the help and advice everyone! I learned quite a bit!
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 3, 2010 4:05:12 PM

Best answer selected by jasonw223.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 3, 2010 8:20:37 PM

No but the company can sue HP or Dell instead of you If they get a bummed server.

delluser1 said:
So you believe that Dell or HP could get a server back up ASAP, 10 minutes ago and NOW, if one of thier servers went down ?
That's a very happy place your in.

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a b B Homebuilt system
November 3, 2010 8:35:25 PM

You'll see when you setup a small business server it will give you those options. Raid 0+5 is simply the OS on a RAID 0 a mirrored setup and data on a RAID 5. So basically you would have the OS on drive C and the SQL databases on drive D (the RAID 5).

You can probably get away with sata 7200rpm drives but if you have enough money SAS 10k drives (remember 5 drives are required for this setup) would be optimal I think.

Typically the RAID 0 is 2x 73GB SAS 10k drives and the RAID 5 as either 3 or 4x 10k SAS drives that are much larger around 300 - 600gigs depending on the space requirements. Seeing how this is a small setup 3x 143GB would be sufficient. It would give you 300gigs of space. If you think you'll need more go with 300gigs. otherwise just get 1TB sata drives.

Have fun but remember this serious business so treat it as if your life is on the line because it kinda is.

jasonw223 said:
Alright it's me again. Now I've used Dell Servers when I worked as an IT guy for the government, and yeah, I sort of know the ups and downs of having a Dell / HP / etc. I don't believe that they are made of any better components than what I could use myself, and I also don't think this is quite what I'm looking for. Realistically, this system is OVERKILL. The programs that he needs to run really are not that complicated.

The fact is, he'd like to spend $3000 on a computer, and what I listed above were the specs.

Now as for your other comments:

I have 1 legit copy of pretty much any piece of Microsoft software through an engineering thing at the University here. I do have a copy of Microsoft Server 2003 Small Business. I've also got the other versions of the 2003 server, plus those R1 versions, and all the versions of 2008 Server...
-> The thing I'm not too sure about, is how the CAL licensing will work... Do you need to license all the computers that will pull files from this server? Laptops? PDAs? I have no idea, this will be my first server!

What exactly is Raid 0+5? And why is it better? I understand and have used 0 a few times, and have sort of used raid 5 (not much / recently).

And this doctor's office is pretty small. There will be less than 10 computers, but close to that I believe. Couple of those will be laptops. That spec I listed is for from 5-45 users.

Anyhow, thanks for the help so far everyone, and sorry I haven't been able to reply too often!

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a b B Homebuilt system
November 4, 2010 1:26:49 AM

xxsk8er101xx said:
No but the company can sue HP or Dell instead of you If they get a bummed server.

Never heard that one, and never been sued myself.
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