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Advice Pls - Setting up Win 2008 Server on non "server" computer

By Quazarr ·
Hi all,

I need a little advice. I am getting set to look at rolling out a new server at work. My role at the company is Director of IT. Its a smaller company (~25 workstations). I inherited a "great" network LOL... It was the MacGyver of networks. Well, its come time to replace the last element.. the Server. Its sitting in an air controlled room, on an old white box.. and its running... wait for it.. Windows 2000 Server. I will admit up front, I am good at most of my role as the Director, and do a lot of the the hands on programing and development of software.. but Servers are NOT my area of expertise.

So small company, need to manage 25 machines (11 users total). I have Windows 2008 Server with 15 CALs right now. I just need a machine to deploy it on.

I am looking at deploying it on a standard Desktop machine that meets all the min and recommended specs but I thought I would ask if someone can give me some feedback on the pros and cons of doing this (as opposed to going out and spending the money for a full on server with software installed). I used to work at the evil empire M$ and still have some friends there. The purchased the software for me from the Company Store (one of the best perks of working at MS).

So for example - What if I were to deploy it on this machine: Running in an 64 bit environment and maxed out with 16 GB of Ram.

Pros? Cons? Am I out of my mind (well, yes I am, but am I even more so for thinking about doing this?)


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You know what we're gonna ask, right?

by seanferd In reply to Advice Pls - Setting up W ...

What roles is this server expected to fill - same as the old one, or will it have additional duties?

And just how important is uptime?

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naw I wouldn't ask that

I would flat out say he's crazy for a production server to be on desktop hardware.
for a development or testing server it would be fine, but not an active production server.

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took the words right out of my mouth there. ~nt~

by Jaqui In reply to naw I wouldn't ask that
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LOL - Dang... I was just hoping...

by Quazarr In reply to took the words right out ...

I was really trying to convince myself I could do it. Mostly because I could get it set up this weekend. OK, yes, lazy man approach..

But if its worth doing, its worth doing right.

Thanks for the "slap" back to reality

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the other benefit to

by Jaqui In reply to LOL - Dang... I was just ...

using the proper hardware is that if business size increases before the lifespan of the hardware expires, it can handle the higher workload better.

best interest of your business would always mean doing it right. more costly, but better performance.
no reason you couldn't set it up and get the config done, then image it to the proper hardware and save that time when it arrives.

edit to add:
and having the workstation system gives you a system to test the patches on before applying, to avoid a patch breaking the server. :)

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Well, I'm with seanferd.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to You know what we're gonna ...

Depends on what it's going to do. If all it does is print and file services, and it isn't accessed very often, it might do it. If it's doing anything else (SQL, web server, domain controller), forget it.

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Since you were looking at HP,

might consider one of their business class servers, the HP Proliant series. I've used these at a couple of places I've worked, and they are fairly reliable, and have the expansion capabilities the typical desktop doesn't. HP also has a line of "home office" servers, HP MediaSmart, but IIRC these are geared more to multimedia type services (video/televison, audio, etc.) and I think come with Windows Home Server preinstalled. These probably are not as readily expandable as the business needs grow. Good luck!

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Not with that hard drive

by NickNielsen In reply to Advice Pls - Setting up W ...

How critical will the data on this server be? Not only do you not have any redundancy, at 5600rpm, access will be very slow under peak loads.

Consider dedicated server hardware such as IBM's X3200/3400 series ( or one of HP's ML100-series ( They will cost more, but you will have the added assurance that they will be more reliable for longer.

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Thanks! Ordering the right hardware!

by Quazarr In reply to Advice Pls - Setting up W ...

OK,going to do it right the first time. Cutting corners ALWAYS seems to eventually bite one in the !#!@.

Thanks for the great feedback and server options! I really appreciate it.

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