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 Post subject: Setting up central server
PostPosted: Tue 02-15-2011 1:24PM 
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Colonel

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So my company wants me to look into getting a central file server, exchange server, as well as redo the whole building using active directory and making the current computers clients.
Actually sounds like a blast...and a pain. I don't want to turn into the IT guy so after setup I'm hoping that the local contracted computer firm can help maintain.

Either way, the file server is easy enough. Though I've only looked into setting up a central server for AD as well as for the exchange server, but don't have much in the way of experience with them.

Any suggestions on where to start, things to avoid, places to shop aside from the normal parts retailers (newegg, tiger, etc)? I have a feeling MS small business server will be the easiest though not the most cost effective (the company is under two dozen employees).

oh, and I got a job. fuck indeed. persist until they don't turn you away.

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 Post subject: Re: Setting up central server
PostPosted: Wed 02-16-2011 8:37PM 
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That actually sounds like a huge undertaking (even if there are only two dozen employees). For security's sake you'll probably have to re-write most of the security policies. Is this duty actually described in your job description? What is your official title (if you don't mind me asking)?

The reason I'm asking is because if you set everything up, you might be liable down the road for any security breeches and whatnot. I'd always be wary whenever new un-related responsibilities pop up out of the blue. Then again, I could just be paranoid but it's food for thought :D

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 Post subject: Re: Setting up central server
PostPosted: Mon 02-21-2011 2:17AM 
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mystic, I did essentially what you are outlining for two local companies about a year ago. As far as what you need for hardware, I used Dell T110 tower servers. They are CHEAP AS FUCK, and they have xeon quad core processors in them, and you can expand them using consumer grade parts. Along with a dell warranty and a Dell logo to make your boss feel secure it's the way to go in my opinion.

Here's a Link: http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/poweredge-t110/fs the "enhanced" version is $329. It should be able to run Active directory and exchange on the same machine quite well. Add 4 or 8 more gigs of memory and you're relatively resilient to future growth. Don't quote me on this but you could probably run a few hundred or more clients off of a server like that. You could use it for the file server as well, but it only has 4 hard drive bays and no raid card, but depending on your storage needs that could be fine. Windows server 2008r2 has software raid that works quite well. If you want a massive array with 0+1 raid or raid6 that's going to get hit hard I would get a separate machine for that.

Also, using windows server makes the file server easier because it integrates the permissions and drive mappings with AD. This can also be done with a linux file server, but support is not optimal if something goes wrong, and your local IT contractor will probably have better luck maintaining the windows file server.

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 Post subject: Re: Setting up central server
PostPosted: Wed 02-23-2011 7:07AM 
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Joined: Sun 09-25-2005 1:55PM
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Man how things change in a few days. I've learned a lot recently, but I'll fill you in in a sec. First, the questions.
Title, just Mech. Engineer. One of the owners (a EE) was the one to manage everything that wasn't contracted out to a local vendor/servicer and I'm basically his protégé. Yeah, that took a little up-selling, but it's mostly PLC work and I took to that really well in the past, thankfully it's common ground. Not to mention, this move doesn't mean that we won't be using the local guy as well, but we'd rather have a central file server, better networking, and while we're at it, exchange and sharepoint (or an alternative) on-site. I'm not worried about liability as it's something that we all are taking part in. I'm just the one with the heavier networking/computer background, but the last time I looked into server hardware, I had no money and it was for personal use.

I'll definitely look into the T110s as I've already decided that we'd go with Dell due to prices and the company's history with them, but I was looking a bit higher on the specs. I'll definitely have a recommended and a minimum spec'd out for them, but here's the ideal.

SBS 2011 (up's the requirements a little-thank you exchange 2010)
dual-cpu xeons (hey, a second E5506 is only $20 right now)
16GB registered ram (again thanks exchange)
redundant psu
PERC H200 controller (cheapest hardware raid card they offer with 6Gb/s)
5-1TB nearline SAS drives (4 in raid0+1 for exchange/file server with a global hot-spare)
2-500GB nearline SAS drives (for OS)
hot-swappable bays
900VA UPS or better (already have it)
2-gigabit ethernet cards (separate)
sonicwall TZ180 firewall (already have it)
kaspersky enterprise space (it's something like that-the best fit for our setup, plus cheaper than most alternatives)

Can get most from dell, but we'd be getting the drives separately as long as it doesn't void any ridiculous warranties and they are hot-swappable, which seagate calls hot-pluggable, but I'd like someone to confirm this would work (posting on a few other forums as well). The Constellation ES's look very tempting, but I wouldn't mind some more reviews. We don't need true SAS, but the added reliability over SATA as well as the cheap price tag makes nearlines very tempting. Man, it's really the RAM that's driving the prices up. I may look into getting that separately next.

Thanks for the help, and keep em coming.

EDIT: Yeah, dell's markup on ram is 50% over market value. How would these work in any of dell's servers?

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 Post subject: Re: Setting up central server
PostPosted: Wed 02-23-2011 9:30AM 
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be careful and very, very specific when you order from Dell. If you aren't getting the entire system from them, they have a nasty habit of selling you a system that isn't upgradable (at least when it comes to PCs; I bought a computer from them and I opted not to get a AGP card with it through them, so they left the plastic AGP slot off the motherboard).

Hopefully, their business practice is much better when it comes to servers and corporate systems, just be sure to make it clear to them that you need that upgradability in your system, even if it isn't purchased through them.

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 Post subject: Re: Setting up central server
PostPosted: Wed 02-23-2011 1:33PM 
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Wow, that's really shitty. Thanks for the warning. I can see how this conversation is going to go. "We'd like to order a R510 rack mount with the 8 hot-swappable bays, xeon...and can we just leave out the hard drive and ram? You're mark-up is ridiculous and we're not going to have it, but we'd still like to be able to plug in hard drives so don't skimp on the backplane, and there better be dimm mounts or we will return it and you're covering shipping both ways." 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Setting up central server
PostPosted: Mon 02-28-2011 10:24PM 
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So I think I have similar problem. My current employer is looking for a file storage system that can be accessible from any computer. I was thinking about setting up an FTP server for it, but I have no idea what is required.

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 Post subject: Re: Setting up central server
PostPosted: Tue 03-01-2011 2:53PM 
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mystic,

that ram should work in the dell. i was able to put ram from newegg in the T110's, and it worked fine, but my dell rep told me that if i did that it would void my warranty. obviously the solution here is to pull the ram before doing any warranty stuff... but that's not ideal in a business environment. either way, the chances of them even realizing it's not OEM memory or even caring are low.

i had no idea what your budget was, yeah if you have more money get more shit. i find myself asking why you even need AD and exchange for 20 employees. I mean, 20 people could use a lot of storage depending on what you're doing, but the upkeep and maintenance of an AD tree and exchange server are rather high in an 20ish man environment, at least in my opinion.

mad duck, does it need to be accessible from only the LAN, or all over the internet? if you want to map drives to it in windows i would suggest some sort of unix server running samba (or NFS if you have all win7 clients) you can also do an IIS windows server setup (for a lot more money) i always lean to linux but sometimes you need that m$ name to keep your boss happy. (plus it's easier to setup and maintain for nubs ;p)

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 Post subject: Re: Setting up central server
PostPosted: Sat 03-05-2011 1:50AM 
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zeroluck wrote:
mad duck, does it need to be accessible from only the LAN, or all over the internet? if you want to map drives to it in windows i would suggest some sort of unix server running samba (or NFS if you have all win7 clients) you can also do an IIS windows server setup (for a lot more money) i always lean to linux but sometimes you need that m$ name to keep your boss happy. (plus it's easier to setup and maintain for nubs ;p)


Needs to be internet accessible. Nobody would care about the brand name of the systems, as the very concept of file sharing is foreign to them, so the biggest feature needs to be user friendliness. Ideally it would be something that has the same look and feel a windows folder.

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 Post subject: Re: Setting up central server
PostPosted: Mon 03-14-2011 7:35AM 
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Yeah, I know that it's not the best move financially. I tried talking them into using google apps for businesses (sort of like umr's doing I'd imagine), or even hosted exchange, but they were sold on having an in-house exchange server. Plus hosted exchange is overpriced for what you get. Thankfully, the new version of small business server has addressed a few of those issues with the sacrifice of some control/features (not an issue for our setup).

In the end, I found a local-ish (60 miles away) dell partner after an acquaintance that turned out to also be a partner in Canada suggested it, and they were able to give about a 16.6% discount which made it worth it to get the whole package with them. Not to mention all the licensing could be included (also discounted without M$'s open value agreement) and after about a 15 minute conversation with the one sales/servicer, we were on the same page and he even fought for the config I wanted to his techs since there were a few things that went against company policy. Can't say the same for the other company I was looking into(*cough* Insight *cough*). They got the quotes wrong 3 times and couldn't communicate between the 4 people trying to help me.

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