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How would you use these servers?

Discussion in 'Windows & Other Software' started by feenster99, 1 Aug 2006.

  1. feenster99

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 19 Jun 2003

    Posts: 1,675

    Location: West Yorks, UK

    Hi all,
    I work for a small IT firm (less than 10 staff). We provide IT support, hardware maintenance, software and website development.

    I have recently taken over the running of the internal network/servers/software, and want to re-organise how it is done. What I am looking for, is some pointers as to the best practice. We have a Microsoft Action Pack Subscription, so have access to all this software (MS website)

    We have 2 servers (detailed below), and a Netgear router that handles our ADSL and provides a firewall, and pushes out the connection throughout the building.

    Server 1:
    - P4 3.0GHz
    - 1GB RAM
    - 40GB (!) hard drive
    - Seagate DDS3 tape drive
    - Currently running Windows Server 2003 Small Business, and provides emails, user accounts, shared files and backup (powered by Veritas 7.0)

    Server 2:
    - P4 3.0GHz
    - 1GB RAM
    - 2 x 120GB SATA hard drives in RAID 1 mirrored
    - Currently running Windows Server 2003 Standard, and does pretty much nothing!


    In your expert opinions, what is the best way to lay all this out? I was thinking of setting Server 2 up as the main email/file server, and letting Server 1 do a nightly backup, and also run some shared applications if needed (such as Project, SQL Server etc). I suppose it could be setup with ISA Server and used to handle the Internet connection side of things, but there seems little point when the Router does a good job on its own.

    Any thoughts?

    Edit: BTW, all clients are running XP SP2, with Office 2003, using Outlook for emails. We currently logon to the domain, controlled by Server 1

    Matt
     
  2. bitslice

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 18 May 2006

    Posts: 9,041

    Server 1:
    replace 40gb hard drive (sounds a bit old...)
    install some kind of RAID
    leave as email/domain controller
    (email takes up v.little space)

    remove all other apps and data and put on Server 2:
    - IMHO email servers are best left doing nothing but email.

    having email go down is a nightmare, you don't want to lose access to other apps as well.

    ---------
    Set server 2: as file server
    install a tape drive of capacity = (current file size x 2)

    file servers do nothing, so it might as well run the other apps and host the users data etc


    have a DR plan in case one/both servers go down.




    ----
    edit.
    if both tape drives are the same, you then have the option of restoring data from either server in case one goes down.
    DDS3 stores 24Gb max, you need a plan in case your backup requirements exceed that size.



    just my 2 cents
    .
     
    Last edited: 1 Aug 2006
  3. Freakish_05

    Hitman

    Joined: 1 May 2006

    Posts: 810

    Location: Bristol, UK

    Your ideas look pretty sound to me :)

    I would probably nick the tape drive out of Server 1 though, to make a separate backup of important folders.

    You could use Server 1 as a gateway server, an added defence prehaps? But as you say, the netgear router seems to be doing a good enough job.

    I'd go along with your plan, Server 2 (plus tape drive) as the main server and use Server 1 to host local services and stuff that people might want (like a BF2 server :D)
     
  4. bitslice

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 18 May 2006

    Posts: 9,041

    umm, I wouldn't mix apps servers with a gateway server....
    gateways should always be standalone & isolated as much as possible.

    ISA is probably overkill
    the netgear seems fine to me
     
  5. #Chri5#

    Soldato

    Joined: 27 Feb 2003

    Posts: 6,985

    Location: Shropshire

    This is Exchange we're talking about here ;) Unless the users are very very well behaved (which doesn't happen), they will keep shed loads in their mailbox and they'll be over 1GB else with ease.
     
  6. bitslice

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 18 May 2006

    Posts: 9,041


    mailbox quotas :D

    they get X amount of storage
    X + 10Mb they get a automatic warning
    X + 100Mb the email server stops them sending/receiving email

    no exceptions.

    if they don't do anything about it I archive the whole lot into a .PST file

    :D
     
  7. zetec452

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 15 Sep 2003

    Posts: 9,454

    Server 1:
    upgrade with 2x hdd and pop a raid card to raid1 them. Leave SBS on it. Add another gig of ram.

    Server 2: Join to SBS server as a member server and use for filesharing. Either add another tape drive to this or as a much cheaper more unreliable method 2 external hard disks with one out of the office.

    For 10 users I wouldn't bother with any gateway stuff as long as you have a decent router. If you did want it you could upgrade to SBS 2003 premium with ISA 2004 but you will tool your server in doing so.

    Then backup important stuff from sbs server to file server. If possible place the servers at different ends or rooms of the office if its big enough.
     
  8. feenster99

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 19 Jun 2003

    Posts: 1,675

    Location: West Yorks, UK

    Thanks for the replies - looks like I have some re-organising to do.

    We have been having a discussion about off-site backups for some of our clients, and setting up multiple VPN's to our client's sites so we can provide remote assistance. Would running the ISA 2004 software help to make this more secure? I know what it is supposed to do, but as with most MS products, there are so many ways to configure it, it is hard to get a clear picture from just reading about it.

    Matt
     
  9. bitslice

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 18 May 2006

    Posts: 9,041

    ....it would make the VPN's easier to manage for sure. :)

    Goverlan is handy for dropping onto peoples desktops
    http://www.pjtec.com/

    Although I prefer intially connecting via RemotelyAnywhere
    http://www.remotelyanywhere.com
    uses SSL ... as I don't like VPN's unless there is no other way - too much risk

    what would you do if they wanted you to sort a virus infection out - connect your network directly to theirs ? :eek:


    .
     
    Last edited: 1 Aug 2006
  10. feenster99

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 19 Jun 2003

    Posts: 1,675

    Location: West Yorks, UK

    I might give ISA 2004 a go then.

    Surely, there must be a secure way to do VPN's - I mean, enough people do them from business to business, site to site. Goverlan does look great, but firstly it costs (although it's not too much), and secondly, we need VPN's to our clients for a future project we are discussing.

    Matt
     
  11. bitslice

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 18 May 2006

    Posts: 9,041

    It's not the security of the VLAN's as such, (without a lot of faffing, they are pretty secure) it's the downside of having someone's LAN connected to yours

    also management/monitoring/trust becomes an issue (who's doing what and on what LAN) - ISA is a pretty good solution (but get another box to run it on...)
    but yeh, VPN would make 24/7 monitoring easier....

    ummm, £330. Weigh that against the faff of preinstalling say, VNC ?
    There are similer products too, I just happen to like that one,
    just click-n-go. :)


    --- edit ---
    btw. isn't ISA 2006 the current one ?


    .
     
    Last edited: 2 Aug 2006
  12. Curiosityx

    Mobster

    Joined: 17 Oct 2002

    Posts: 3,941

    Location: West Midlands

    Personally i would recycle the two "Servers" you are using at the moment into the workplace and buy a single managed system.

    If you were to consolidate and migrate onto one server a single HP DL380 or ML370 with a couple of 72Gb drives in a Raid 0+1 Array for the OS and 4 x 72Gb drives in a Raid 5 config or Raid 6 ADG, dual power supplies, dual 3.6Ghz processors and 2Gb Ram would be more than ideal for ~10 users and would easily support more.

    You would more than likely be looking at a floor standing unit so it would be something from the ML Range.

    Youll get a fully managed, redundant and fault tollerant system for a good price.

    It will also do an exceptional job running SBS, Exchange and file serving processes if configured correctly.

    Dont take offense but running business systems of workstation pc's is poor at best, i would think about the long term rather than patching together what you have already.
     
  13. zetec452

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 15 Sep 2003

    Posts: 9,454

    Very good advice. I've probably setup about 5 SBS networks ranging from 5 users to 55 with ML370 of various flavours. A very solid server.
     
  14. Curiosityx

    Mobster

    Joined: 17 Oct 2002

    Posts: 3,941

    Location: West Midlands

    Indeed, also forgot to mention that recent SBS versions can be intergrated with the HP Smartstat CD for blissfull installation.
     
  15. feenster99

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 19 Jun 2003

    Posts: 1,675

    Location: West Yorks, UK

    Thanks for the advice. I should point out however, that we are not intensive users, regardless of our profession. We have no need to buy a "proper" server, as we simply won't need it's capabilities. Our current setup hasn't ever let us down, but I have an opportunity to re-factor it into something more useable, and nearer to the best practice method.

    Another point is that we support other people's servers, so by me re-organising our internal stuff, I will gain knowledge and be able to support our customers better.

    I will consider all that has been posted - thanks for everyones input.

    Matt
     
  16. zetec452

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 15 Sep 2003

    Posts: 9,454

    You may not be an intense user but SBS Premium is intense software.

    One particular client we have who purchased there own dell server has had a number problems with SBS premium as the server isn't really powerful enough. Thats a xeon 2.8 with 1 gig of ram and RAID 5 array on ultra 320's.

    Your server is going to run like an overweight man with no legs with SBS and ISA.
     
  17. Curiosityx

    Mobster

    Joined: 17 Oct 2002

    Posts: 3,941

    Location: West Midlands

    Point taken but please think carefully, we used to manage the infrastructure but not servers for a similar company as yourselves, they never saw the need nor did they want to migrate to new hardware and were happy running with non-fault tolerant systems running on Pc's as they "did the job" despite our continuing efforts to warn them.

    They have now been Liquidated as a result of a failure. Home users can recover but when it comes to business the term "Money well spent" goes along way.
     
  18. feenster99

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 19 Jun 2003

    Posts: 1,675

    Location: West Yorks, UK

    Point taken in return ;)

    I don't want to go into the in's and out's, but our business is growing steadily, and we need to sort this out before things really pick up after the summer. I will definately look into the HP type servers, as it could be a wise investment if we continue to grow.

    Cheers,
    Matt
     
  19. Goumet

    Gangster

    Joined: 4 Jul 2005

    Posts: 365

    Ever though of putting some kind of VM's in place? just maybe get you some more flexibilty.

    VMware server is now free.
     
  20. zetec452

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 15 Sep 2003

    Posts: 9,454

    You're thinking on the right lines. You can get care packs with HP servers that will guarantee parts for 3 years with a server. There are varying levels of server such as 6 hour fault to fix or next business day fix. If you were to buy a decent HP server it should see you through 3 years.

    We deal with companies who can grow rather quickly. One company in particular had four employees 18 months ago. They now have 55 and will need to break out of SBS server to a multi server platform. Guess what servers they have. ML 370's. :)

    I can't see how virtual machines would help in this case.