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Server Recommendations? - Planning upgrade of infrastructure

By junkmail505 ·
I hope this question is appropriate for this forum... I just started working for a small company as webmaster, but they do not have an IT staff or dept. I have found that I am the point of contact for it all.

They have two main servers, the web server is a Compaq Proliant 80 w/ a 14 GB hd, (741 free on C:\, and 2 GB free on F:\, and a broken 4 gb internal tape unit. The PDC is a Dell Optiplex GX1500 with a 10GB hard drive (376 MB free on E (system) and 643 MB free on F(data) and 256K memory.

Not only is there no backup for the data, but there is no backup for the servers, i.e. if one dies, that's it.. no test machine, no DR machine, etc. Makes you want run screaming from the room! This setup keeping me awake at night!

I can see that I have an opportunity here (SOON!) to get these machines upgraded - i.e. new machines, etc, however I am not a network engineer (about to become one real fast!) and wondered if anyone had recommendations for servers and/or backup solutions? Their pc's are about 4-5 years old as well, and I will need to upgrade those too. Recommendations welcome there, as well!

Owners/Mgrs cannot tell me how much the company will grow.. I tried to find that out today for planning purposes, but they say they do not know, depends on what business they pick up. They prob. have about 25 or so users on the PDC and about 5-10 on the web server (not counting # of "users" connecting to websites. They are running three websites off the one box.

Also, any pointers on how to transfer info from one server to another - i.e. PDC, websites, without having too much manual rebuild (if possible) would be great. Again, my apologies in advance if I am in the wrong area, and pls. forgive my ignorance - a bit of a newbie when it comes to network engineering. Thanks very much!

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25 users and 2 servers

by CG IT In reply to Server Recommendations? - ...

If backup is the problem, have them invest in Veritas Backup Exec.

25 users and 1 DC and a web server = Small Business so I would recommend Microsoft's Small Business Server 2003. An all on one box small business solution. there are 2 products, a standard edition which comes with Exchange Server 2003 and a premium edition which comes with Exchange, ISA 2000 and SQL 2000.

If the web server works decently and runs Linux don't change it. If it runs an old version of windows, change it.

If the current server is a NT 4.0 PDC with a domain, you can use the Active Directory Migration tool to migrate to Windows 2003 server. see this KB article from Microsoft Help and Support

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Evaluate the business needs (and get it in writing)

by tglynn In reply to 25 users and 2 servers

As the business what it requires.

If they are happy with the spectre of a protracted outage due to single server failure then write it in an email and get sign-off from the owner/manager of the business. How many users will be sitting on their a.... while you sweat blood getting an new server/OS combo up? Easy to justify spending for 2 system on that basis. Does the web server generate revenue? If so then an analysis of loss of earnings will convince management that a backup/DR machine is worth the outlay .

Short of that - if they have been running OK on that level hardware then anything from a major vendor will do to upgrade. ML140's from HP would be fine. The SBS solution is also a great idea. SBS has plenty of user and system management wizards that make setup and operations easy for a new sysadmin.

You need to jump on the back situation though. My tip is buy a tape unit with 3 times the capacity to back up your current data requirements. Data always grows faster than you expect.

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Even bigger

by beads In reply to Evaluate the business nee ...

I'd put in a bit more of a server than you need today or tommorow. Think ML 350 with 2GB full array with a decent DLP tape drive for backup and a large enough UPS with USB monitoring.

The hardest thing to swallow will be the cost of the tape unit, plus say 10 tapes and the backup software. No disagreements with using Veritas just be ready to do a number of updates which require a reboot each time till you get all the updates complete.

You could easily setup the new system and port everyone over to the new domain when your ready and no one should be the wiser.

Time to complete? Probably in the three day window with interuptions. Have your systems dealer (CDW/HP?) do the physical build of the server and take it from there. That alone will save you alot of time.

Good luck! Its sounds like an exciting project.

- beads

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by 3kl In reply to Server Recommendations? - ...

I can already feel the heat from the responses. We recently switched our infrastructure to a Dell/EMC setup for the servers and storage. We had been an HP/Compaq shop for years and the service response went downhill in a hurry. They once took 6 months to turn around a contact. However, I know that is a reflection on the salesmen at some point as well.

However, I still strongly recommend you at least consider Dell and the M$ Small Business server solution. I agree with the people who mentioned 2 servers for DR and a tape drive larger than you think you need. The migration of the domain can be seemless. We swapped out our 3 DC's with 3 new ones and no one ever noticed. Going one to one should be pretty simple since you don't need to decide what role will reside on what server(s). Good Luck!

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