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Server for small company

Last response: in Business Computing
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May 11, 2012 12:54:06 PM

Hi,

I am after a bit of advice if someone can help...

We currently use in our business.

Server 1 - IBM XSeries 345, With a Xeon @ 2.4GHz – 512MB RAM
Use: Fax Client? (Directs faxes to email inbox)

Server 2 - Fujitsu Siemens RX300 S2, with a Xeon @ 3.40GHz – 3.37MB RAM
User: File Server - (Current total usage 350gb)

Server 3 - HP ProLiant DL380 G5, with a Xeon E5405 @ 2.00GHz – 3.25MB RAM
Sage200 - 4-5 local users, 2 remote users
MS Exchange - 20-25 users


As there are not many concurrent users, would all this be able to be run on 1 standard tower based PC running Windows Server?

For the hardware in question would be something like this be any good and what would be the advantages/dissadvantages to this setup if feasible?

Gigabyte GA-X79-UD3 - Intel X79 Socket 2011
Intel Core i7 3820 3.6Ghz Socket 2011 10MB cache
G-Skill 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3 2133MHz RipjawsZ X79

2 x 120GB SSD - SATA III (running in raid? for Main Software)
1 x Seagate 3TB Barracuda Hard Drive - 3.5" SATA-III - 7200RPM 64MB Cache (For File Server)

Kind Regards

Darren Thomas

More about : server small company

May 11, 2012 1:19:16 PM

You are looking at desktop class components. Not server-class with the headroom necessary to grow a business. Those parts are optimized for a single user desktop scenario.

For your scenario I would highly recommend buying a single robust server class machine and leveraging virtualization to create multiple individual servers. This allows for much greater flexibility and opportunity, lower power usage, better return on hardware investment, etc. You will get a much higher return on investment for your physical purchase and you can leverage (continue your investment in) your existing server software licenses easy enough with a P2V conversion.

Converting the existing machines from physical to virtual (including their configuration, software, etc) would minimize effort and maximize win.

Without some type of profile analysis on usage, performance, etc it can be hard to tell you that "X will support your companies needs and be a beneficial investment". But this seems like a great candidate for virtualization.

If you are going to go the server route, don't home build for a business. I highly recommend getting a reputable vended solution and leveraging the support (drivers, firmware, software, hardware) that comes along with it. I have never seen a home built business solution end up as a good investment outside of a SOHO environment.

If you do want to consolidate down to a single physical server it seems like your best options would be the following class of servers (dual CPU upgradable, higher max capacity RAM, room to grow. Good investment):

Dell T410 or 610 Series
HP Proliant ML330 G6

That is the type of machine that will give you a much better return on investment and business suitability than the desktop build you posted above. Desktops components are designed for desktops. For business servers, look at server class components and expandability.
May 11, 2012 1:23:35 PM

The biggest problem with trying to run Windows Server on standard desktop hardware is going to be finding compatible drivers. I had a customer once who tried doing just this and ended up not being able to install Windows Server because the motherboard did not have RAID controller drivers for Server 2008. Even with a single hard drive in IDE mode, Windows Server didn't have drivers for the onboard graphics to work properly and couldn't get the onboard network card to function at all.

Your best bet if you wish to run Windows Server is to do so on server hardware that you know has compatible drivers. Don't take the risk to save a little money as you will almost certainly be spending even more money to rectify issues.

I would suggest you read through a recent thread here to get some more information as you have similar needs for a small office server:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/666-71-build-server-small-office
Related resources
May 13, 2012 2:06:30 PM

Opt1mu5Pr1m3 said:
Hi,

I am after a bit of advice if someone can help...

We currently use in our business.

Server 1 - IBM XSeries 345, With a Xeon @ 2.4GHz – 512MB RAM
Use: Fax Client? (Directs faxes to email inbox)

Server 2 - Fujitsu Siemens RX300 S2, with a Xeon @ 3.40GHz – 3.37MB RAM
User: File Server - (Current total usage 350gb)

Server 3 - HP ProLiant DL380 G5, with a Xeon E5405 @ 2.00GHz – 3.25MB RAM
Sage200 - 4-5 local users, 2 remote users
MS Exchange - 20-25 users


As there are not many concurrent users, would all this be able to be run on 1 standard tower based PC running Windows Server?

For the hardware in question would be something like this be any good and what would be the advantages/dissadvantages to this setup if feasible?

Gigabyte GA-X79-UD3 - Intel X79 Socket 2011
Intel Core i7 3820 3.6Ghz Socket 2011 10MB cache
G-Skill 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3 2133MHz RipjawsZ X79

2 x 120GB SSD - SATA III (running in raid? for Main Software)
1 x Seagate 3TB Barracuda Hard Drive - 3.5" SATA-III - 7200RPM 64MB Cache (For File Server)

Kind Regards

Darren Thomas



option 1 : consolidate all servers into 1 server running ms sbs (you can use server 3 with beefed memory and disks).
option 2 : buy a new server and run each current server as virtual machine.
option 3 : jump into the cloud , with the number of users you have it seems cost effective.

the current hw setup you provided is a desktop use mobo with no psu redundancy , and its price as only advantage.
if you choose this setup please add at least one more 3tb hd for raid 1 (dont leave your os and data on one drive).
there are 2 uncovered issues in your post :
1. backup
2. hw warranty

good luck :pt1cable: 
May 13, 2012 7:56:13 PM

Hi

With a proper modern server you want to keep your data safe on a raid array disk (at least raid 5, using a proper hardware raid controller)
Though there is no need for raid on the operating system disk if that is separate from the main disk array.

You need a lot more RAM than on your old servers to have enough for each virtual machine
You want at least one CPU core per virtual machine

You probably need a Hardware maintenance contact for the server, consider the turnout time of same day or next day and length of of contract etc.

What about your switches are they 10/100MB/s or 100/1000 MB/s? are they dumb or managed? do they need updating at the same time.
don't forget UPS and data backup.

The only downside of consolidating every thing onto one server is if that fails then all server services fail

regards

Mike Barnes
May 15, 2012 7:50:33 AM

Thanks for all the advice.

Probably my fault, but as i was having internet connection issues, i was typing this in notepad and copied it over and missed a whole paragraph :( 


The missing and probably the most important bit: :ange: 

At our second site, we have an identical server to that at the first site (HP ProLiant DL380 G5, with a Xeon E5405 @ 2.00GHz – 3.25MB RAM)

Here we have just 2 users, with a 3rd person who may visit once a fortnight. These 2 users are very light and just use the server for file sharing. In the 4-5 years they have been at this site, the total storage used is around 12gb.

My suggestion:
As the Proliant is currently only running 1 processor, i was thinking of taking the CPU, RAM & Storage from the server on Site 2 and beef up the heavier used server at Site 1.

The PC was for the 2 users at site 2 to use, just as a file server.

Thanks

Darren Thomas
May 17, 2012 10:42:01 AM

If the storage is that light at the second site, why have a server there at all? Just centralize it all in site 1. User a persistent router-based VPN to keep the two sites connected. Or if you're using 2008/Win7 there's a feature called Direct Access which allows the same functionality without needing the VPN component.
May 17, 2012 10:58:45 AM

What does renting online server capacity look like compared to your budget?

You'd get redundancy thrown in for free, and none of the hardware headaches.

May 17, 2012 12:35:56 PM

We currently use Lan to Lan to VPN from site 2 to site 1 to get access to Sage200 and our MS Exchange.

The problem we have at both sites is that the internet connections are very poor. As low as 0.6 dl/ 0.4 ul is very common at site 2. Which is also the reason we havent entertained going into the cloud.

I was going to consider something as simple as a NAS drive, but there are a few bits of software we need to run, like the phone monitoring software etc.

Regards

Darren
May 17, 2012 2:55:50 PM

Gotcha. Crap internet could cause problems...
With the price of the build you're proposing, I'd go with a cheap ML110 series HP server. (or comparable Dell model) Entry level, known driver support for 2008, optional extended and onsite warranties, as well as server grade components.
- Don't use SSD (waste of money for this light of a workload)
- No more than 4GB RAM (maybe 8 if you must, but that's still overkill for this workload)
- I'd use 2 or 3 3TB drives and put them in either a RAID 1 or 5 for the data. <-- saving on the SSD and RAM will more than pay for this and the below.
- Use 2 smaller drives for the OS (~500GB and put that in a RAID1)

With 3yr warranty and light service, you should be cheaper than the proposed whitebox build in your OP. Yet you bask in not having to build it, as well you don't have to worry about service
!