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Network opinions

By jpknox287 ·
I currently took over a Network which in my opinion it is not setup the best way. I have one server that is a domain controller, exchange server, file server and I have another server that is running DNS, DHCP, SQL, and licensing services for various programs. The backups are preformed by SnyncBack which is basically doing a mirror of network drives which is taking up allot of space no incremental is being done and I cannot perform a full backup due to lack of space. I need some help explaining to boss what and why we need to change. Your opinions to help me reconfigure my network are appreciated.

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It all depends

by w2ktechman In reply to Network opinions

on the power of the servers, how big the network is, how many computers connect to the servers at peak times, etc.
Check for bottlenecks before making any changes. For future plans, with growth in mind, I would move the exchange server off of the DC. But in a small network environment, this should not be too much of a problem.

As for the backups, this is a mess. With only incrementals, it really is not going to help when needing to restore data or rebuild a svr.
I would take a ghost image of the svr's as soon as I could, in case of a failure. Work out a new backup plan soon.

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40 computers

by jpknox287 In reply to It all depends

Thanks...We have 40 computers the server has over 300 GB of data.

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On a small network

by w2ktechman In reply to 40 computers

buying more servers is a big issue. It may be better to leave exchange where it is. Run some monitoring tools and check that there is no real problems. If the server gets past 75%-85% usage, a new server and moving exchange may be required. If not, then you should be OK.

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by jdclyde In reply to Network opinions

As your boss what it would cost the company if your main server was down for three days?

If you have a crash, that is probably a best case that you could be back up and running.

For smaller networks, look at the IBM xSeries servers. The price is reasonable, and they are good systems.

I try to give each major application their own server. If any one server were to die, we only lose that one part.

Check your average CPU and Ram usage and keep an eye on that.

Go out and find out how much a few more drives would cost that you could add to some of the servers. Most servers have room to add more drives, and it isn't a difficult thing to add them in.

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I would

by 20905402864666492152529682118478-paadams In reply to backups

recommend that the DC only runs DNS, DHCP with a Backup DC setup for DNS and DHCP if one fails. A separate server each application. And I would recommend a seperate file server. You can set them up with tape backup as described previously, and shadow copies is a very useful feature if running 2K3. since it sounds like a small company it is really going to depend on how much they are willing to spend. Keep monitoring the CPU and memory usage and that should give you a better idea of what you might need. Just leave room for growth. the more stuff put on a server especially a DC the more likely it will crash at a critical time. If the company is customer oriented and if the servers are required to be up to serve the customers then you can possibly use that as a point to help influence your boss. Like JD said how long can you afford to be down. If all your software is running on the same server then everything is down. If you have a server for each application or can at least limit what is on each server than downtown won't have such a devastating effect on production.

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Few Ideas...

by NOW LEFT TR In reply to Network opinions

Disk backups are good for getting files back quick while everything is working. You should invest in a Tape system of some sort. An exetrnal Tape system would do. This way you can carry out backups to tape. No tape is going to hold 300GB of data so you may need to use two tapes for the main backup and one for the incremental (or have 2 tape systems or a multichange)

More disk space - either see if your servers can be added to or invest in a external drive or two. Even if you only use this to backup to disk - it is well worth it.

Get a second Domian Controller set up!

Get a second DNS Server setup!

If you are using Windows 2003 Server the shadow copy service within the native backup program to backup up exchange is quite handy.

Create a tape rotation system to get tapes off site on a regular basis - even if you just take them home.

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by jpknox287 In reply to Few Ideas...

Thanks for all the suggestions...

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I agree with you

by zlitocook In reply to Few Ideas...

You can let your boss know that if an email problem like people sending prohibited email like porn, or other email can not be recovered easily. Your company has a problem, what will they do if a disgruntled employee tries to sue them because of email abuse? You can use a regular computer (a normal desktop with a good CPU and allot of memory as a server, it is not a good idea but it works.)
Even with a small company, three to twenty users, I recommend two servers. One as the main server and the other as back up. You can add a server as a file or print severs later and a good workstation is ok for that.
Ask your boss the things already stated and how much money he could lose if the whole thing went down for a day or a weekend.
A good server would cost around $600 to $1000. A good workstation about $300. To $600. A day?s loss could cost how much? A few days could cost allot more?
Now days you need to put more money in IT and the CIO needs to know this.

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Tapes holding 300GB

by kpotter In reply to Few Ideas...

We just replaced our tape system and the tapes hold 200GB uncompressed and (theoretically) 400GB compressed.

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Some suggestions

by Kjell_Andorsen In reply to Network opinions

I agree with what's been said about looking into alternate backup solutions. The setup you describe could become a nightmare pretty quickly if something goes wrong.

I'd probably try to get a separate box for exchange if at all possible and then move DHCP and especially DNS to the Domain controller. Intergrating DNS with Active directory is simple and effective. A secondary domain controller should also be set up for redundancy purposes. You should not need a very powerful box to run as DC, DHCP and DNS server on such a small network. Try to free the powerful hardware to handle things like Exchange and SQL

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