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New Small Business Server

SickNick

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Hello, I am planning on ordering a server ASAP for my family's company. The original proposal by the management office was a Dell Server which came out to $2300 and I figured for that money I can make something much better. The dell server had an Intel Xeon X3300 --- x1, 4GB DDR2, and 2 hard drive, the rest of the info is not really needed.

I was planning on putting together a new system, with a requirement of only Windows Server 2008 32 bit. I Am planing on using my old desktop case and maybe some of its components which are not being used. My old desktop case had excellent ventillation thats why I am thinking of using it and saving money, and I can also use the CD drives and my 700W or 1000W power supply i dont remember exactly which one I have but its up there. This would be my first time building a server, I came here to confirm reliability, these are my list of parts I am thinking of choosing.

ASUS Z8NA-D6 (ASMB4-IKVM) Dual LGA 1366 Intel 5500 ATX Dual Intel Xeon 5500 Series Server Motherboard - Retail

Intel Xeon E5520 Nehalem 2.26GHz LGA 1366 80W Quad-Core Server Processor Model BX80602E5520 - Retail ---- x2

CORSAIR DOMINATOR 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TR3X6G1600C8D - Retail

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

I was gonna use my old case, power supply and CD/DVD drives and I have a copy of Windows Server 2008.

What do you think of this setup... I need to know as soon as possible. Thank you in advance
 
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What do you want to do with this server? IMO, a ASUS Z8NA-D6 (ASMB4-IKVM) Dual LGA 1366 Intel 5500 ATX Dual Intel Xeon 5500 Series Server Motherboard is complete overkill of a small business family server.

Depending on your needs you may be better served with 2x Atom 330 systems. They will consume much less power and allow some form of redundancy, and joint-partnering backup.

One can run your mailserver and FTP.
The other your webserver.

Or do you need to run some fancy groupware that requires 100 simultaneous logins? But that doesnt sound like a small family business.

Explain your needs first, then you will get some better pointers.
 

SickNick

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I did realize it might be a bit overkill. I do need a bit of power though. The server will be running Skyline Property Management Software. Probably going to have Microsoft Exchange running on it, and possible web and email server.
 
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If it has critical data on it, I would suggest a raid 5 drive setup, or at least a mirror, not a single drive....

Mostly depends on how critical it is.......
 

SickNick

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Yes i was planning on doing a mirrored raid, I forgot to indicate 2 hard drives
 
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AGAIN, how many users? How many properties does your dad manage?
 

SickNick

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Theres probably going to be a maximum of 10 users, but I want to keep expandability of the company in mind. Eventually there may be accounting software on there too for example. The software will manage 5 properties initially.
 
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Nehalems are beasts! :)



I built the above with a single E5520 and 12GB. Handles six VM's, redirected folders, among various other tasks with ease.

If you wanted high-end (for your scope), could grab a barebones like this, a 34xx Xeon, 4GB RAM, and 4 hard drives for a fairly low price. Could even bump up to a nice RAID controller and still be well under $2300. Just an idea.
 

SickNick

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One of my biggest concerns is the motherboard and ram, what do you think of it for a server. I have little worry about the Nehalem, nor the hard drives. Another thing is, should I just scrap building my own, and just go with dell for support?
 
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For a company I go half-way and build my own, but use barebones kits from Supermicro. But if you don't believe that you can troubleshoot the problems that may occur, Dell is there.

As for your board/RAM. The board itself is fine, but remember that each CPU has it's own memory channels. A single kit of 3 sticks would be great for a single CPU, but for dual CPU it would be 2 sticks for one, and 1 stick for another. Not the best configuration.

Also, I don't believe that two CPU's and a single RAID-1 array is the best balance of performance, considering what you want to run on it (Exchange and the other services).
 

SickNick

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Really? I actually switched out the corsairs and got ECC memory:

Patriot Signature 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) ECC Registered Server Memory Model PSD36G1333ERK - Retail

I dont think performance will be slowed down by doing that with the parts I have, I just need some sort of redundancy in case of hard disk failure, plus we will have online back up.

I am a bit confused on what your saying about 2 sticks to 1 processor then 1 stick to the second processor.
Even still wouldn't it go 4 sticks to 1, then 2 to the other?
 
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You have one set of memory listed, 3 x 2GB. You meant to list two?
 

SickNick

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Oooo, I just understood what you said, it slipped my mind. What would you recommend I do? 6x1GB? Cuz DDR3 is triple channel so it wouldnt be efficient other wise... What do you think
 

[Ion]

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Oooo, I just understood what you said, it slipped my mind. What would you recommend I do? 6x1GB? Cuz DDR3 is triple channel so it wouldnt be efficient other wise... What do you think
Go for 3x2GB, then it would be easier to upgrade in the future if you need/want to
 
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before you look at hardware costs. look at sbs pricing :cry:

Server Licenses


U.S. Price*


Description

Windows Small Business Server 2008 Standard


$1,089


Includes Small Business Server 2008 Standard Edition. Price also includes 5-pack of Small Business Server 2008 CAL Suite (User or Device, chosen after purchase)

Windows Small Business Server 2008 Premium


$1,899


Includes Small Business Server 2008 Premium Edition. Price also includes 5-pack of Small Business Server 2008 CAL Suite for Premium Users or Devices (User or Device, chosen after purchase)
 
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Every use/purpose you have described so far would fit quite happily on a regular s771/775 Xeon/Core 2 Duo. Possibly even just an Atom. And still have plenty of scope to do more.

You areputting too much emphasis on a top-end server/workstation when you time should be spent solving workplace "productivity" solutions.

For your budget, I recommend you get two (simplish) separate single CPU systems. Have one for exchange and ftp. Have the other for everything else. Set them up to back each other up.
 

SickNick

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That sounds like an interesting set up. Im still a student and I never dealt with setting up servers to monitor each ther. Is that what most would call a cluster system? How could you set up the two servers to monitor each other.
 

DirectorC

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You can run DDR3 in dual channel mode and not lose a significant amount of performance.
 
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That sounds like an interesting set up. Im still a student and I never dealt with setting up servers to monitor each ther. Is that what most would call a cluster system? How could you set up the two servers to monitor each other.
No. It's not a "cluster".

I'm going to make a few guesses:

  • Your dad's company has between 1 and 5 FTE (full time equivalent) employees.
  • He, or the relevant person, wants to use some server based software for managing a handful of properties
  • You need around 10 mailboxes, probably fewer
  • You want to run some basic accounting software. There are on average 20 invoices to be raised each week, and about 20 bills to be paid each week, or less.
    You dad wants something failsafe. His whole goddam business and livelihood depends on not losing data or having significant downtime.

Net net, an Atom 330 would get about 5% average processor utilisation. Your original suggested setup would get around 0.1% processor utilisation. An Atom could keep up with the LAN speeds, so long as it wasnt HDD trashing. Install enough memory to avoid that.

Possible solution. Remember this is the keep-it-simple such that you can administer it, with a bit of help from google.

  1. Get a small rack cabinet with a LOCK. Why? So that it is secure. No one can pull the plug out by accident. No one can turn them on/off without the key. etc.
  2. Get a rack mountable switch. Why? Put everything inside the cabinet.
  3. Get one or two small simple rack-mountable servers. I really think an Atom 330, is probably enough for your current needs. You will save $$$ which can be used next year for upgrades or extra software licenses if needed
  4. If an Atom doesnt have enough punch for you, then a s775 CPU will. And you can pick them up cheap off ebay
  5. I would ALWAYS recommend separating email and accounting software onto different hardware. I have never found accounting software that doesnt come with issues, and the need for constant upgrading. You dont want an upgrade/update/debug cycle that brings down your mailservers.
  6. Put a remote management client onto one (or both) of the servers. You can then log in remotely (over VPN), and help your dad without having to go to the office.
  7. Install backup software on BOTH machines so that they back each other up on a periodic basis. At different times of course. And during the night when no-one is using the systems. Use grandfathering techniques.
  8. Clever use of HDD arrangement and partitioning will help simplify what to backup. I put all "data" on a D: partition, and back that up COMPLETELY.

Hope the suggestions help a bit. I'm no server guru... but that might help too... neither are you and you want to keep the solution cheap and simple. :pimp:

Remember, that a few years ago, big companies were running 100's of mailboxes and Lotus Notes databases on Pentium 3 systems... and they RAN FINE. And Atom is like a modern Pentium 3 but with very low power consumption.
 

SickNick

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This sounds like an excellent system, definately considering giving it a shot. There is just some problems that may happen. Doesn't this mean I would have to buy Windows Server 2008 with Multiple Licences to install them on every server? I have worked with many Linux set ups which would be great for web ftp and email but as far as management and accounting and exchange, Windows Server is a must unfortunately.

So your reasoning for separating the servers is to prevent errors that may occur with some of the software and bringing the whole server down?
 

SickNick

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I built a rackmount server on Dell, still fairly pricey, I mean I still built a powerful one:

Code:
PowerEdge R200:
Intel® Core 2 Duo®E7400, 2.80GHz, 3MB Cache, 1066MHz FSB	 	R2E28	 	1	 	[224-5950]	 	1
	Memory:
4GB DDR2, 800MHz, 4x1GB Single Ranked DIMMs	 	4G4D8D	 	1	 	[311-7922]	 	3
	Operating System:
No Operating System	 	NOOS	 	1	 	[420-6320]	 	11
	Hard Drive Configuration:
Onboard SATA, 2 Drives connected to Onboard SATA Controller - No RAID	 	ONBSAT2	 	1	 	[310-9871]	 	27
	Primary Hard Drive:
250GB 7.2K RPM SATA 3Gbps 3.5-in Cabled Hard Drive	 	250S2	 	1	 	[341-5432]	 	8
	2nd Hard Drive:
250GB 7.2K RPM SATA 3Gbps 3.5-in Cabled Hard Drive	 	250S2	 	1	 	[341-5432]	 	23
	CD/DVD Drive:
DVD-ROM DRIVE, Internal	 	DVD	 	1	 	[313-9278]	 	16
	Riser Card:
Riser with 2 Slots: 1 PCI Express x8 slot and 1 PCI Express x4 slot	 	RSRPCIE	 	1	 	[320-4959]	 	7
	Bezel:
Bezel	 	BEZEL	 	1	 	[313-5844]	 	17
	Rack Rail Options:
No Rails Included	 	NORAIL	 	1	 	[310-6711]	 	28
	Power Cords:
Power Cord, NEMA 5-15P to C13, 15 amp, wall plug, 10 feet / 3 meter	 	WAL10FT	 	1	 	[310-4450]	 	38
	Network Adapter:
On-Board Dual Gigabit Network Adapter	 	OBNIC	 	1	 	[430-2008]	 	13
	Documentation:
No Hard Copy Documentation, E-Docs Only and OpenManage CD Kit	 	EDOCS	 	1	 	[310-9876]	 	21
	Hardware Support Services:
3Yr Basic Hardware Warranty Repair: 5x10 HW-Only, 5x10 NBD Onsite	 	U3OS	 	1	 	[983-3172][983-9050][988-1397][988-1398][990-7299]	 	29
	Installation Services:
No Installation Assessment	 	NOINSTL	 	1	 	[900-9997]	 	32
But Im still thinking it might be cheaper to make my own powerhouse server, jsut because Im using parts that I have already too...
 
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Before delving deeper... is there an existing server? Or are you looking to accomplish everything with this new server?
 
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Get this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816101262&nm_mc=AFC-Bensbargains&cm_mmc=AFC-Bensbargains-_-NA-_-NA-_-16101262

Install it. Play with it. Get the hang of how to manage a small workgroup server. See whether it has enough oompf for your dad. I bet it does. If not, then buy a "faster" rackmount with a s771 or s775. Then you will have two systems. Yes, one more powerful than the other, but you can use the Atom one described here for the mailserver and ftp and the "new" server for your accounting and property management software.

Net net a lot cheaper and right-sized.

With all the spare cash, dad can buy you a new gaming rig.

I repeat: A simple Atom 330 rackmount will be more than enough for your purposes IMO. No, this is not a groupware solution for OCR scanning, high volume PDF generation, massive transactional databases, video streaming over web, or running exchange with a few hundred or thousands of users. But for a small business with <10 employees, it is quite fine.
 
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