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  • Cheap Server 2012 Essentials build

    Looking to build a cheapish windows server 2012 essentials build

    It needs to run SQL Server 2014 Express with a smallish 1GB database on there, and a file server, only about 90GB of files and about 5% per year growth, and that's it.

    I've put together 2 wish lists,

    https://www.aria.co.uk/WishList/FGRX...1Ht8-91e270Q,,

    and

    https://www.aria.co.uk/WishList/qqKE...mEOXSNbqeelg,,

    First of all anything you would change and why?

    Secondly.. One is Haswell one is Skylake - is the Extra 50 justified?

    Any and all help appreciated as usual.
    R.
    FILM QUIZ!!!!? Name the film from the quote!!
    "Right. Better clench up, Legolas"

  • #2
    Any particular reason why you are going with desktop grade hardware over server grade?

    Server grade hardware will be more reliable and will usually include features like out of band management.

    Also, I wouldn't advise using an SSD in a server, conventional hard drives are fast enough but get more of them and put them in a RAID 1 / 10 to maximise uptime.

    Maybe took at something like the HP Gen 8 Microserver, Lenovo TS140 , Dell Poweredge T20.
    Desktop: Intel i5-4690K | 16GB DDR3 | Gigabyte Z97N-WIFI | EVGA GTX 660 3GB | Windows 10
    Server 0: Gen8 HP Microserver | Proxmox Hypervisor Server 1: Gen8 HP Microserver | FreeNAS

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    • #3
      I would suggest the HP Microservers too. They're brilliant for the money.

      We have two SSDs in our server, but they're there purely to run the program(s) that our accountant logs on to remotely and to run the OS from. All of our company data is still stored on HDDs.
      ASUS Crosshair VI Hero | AMD Ryzen R7 1700 @ 3.95 GHz | be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 | G.SKILL TridentZ RGB 2x8GB @ 3333 MHz C14 | ASUS ROG STRIX GTX 1080 OC | Samsung SM951 256GB NVMe + 2x Samsung 850 EVO 250GB in RAID0 | EVGA SuperNOVA G3 850w | be quiet! Pure Base 600 Tempered Glass | CM Masterkeys Pro L | Logitech G502 | Logitech G920 | ASUS ZenBook UX305F

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Lorem-Ipsum View Post
        Any particular reason why you are going with desktop grade hardware over server grade?

        Server grade hardware will be more reliable and will usually include features like out of band management.

        Also, I wouldn't advise using an SSD in a server, conventional hard drives are fast enough but get more of them and put them in a RAID 1 / 10 to maximise uptime.

        Maybe took at something like the HP Gen 8 Microserver, Lenovo TS140 , Dell Poweredge T20.
        Can you please explain the difference between server grade hardware and desktop grade? and point me at some server grade if that's what you think is required.

        I've gone for SSD's as they are fast. I already have a full backup regime in place and RAID 1 SSD's give both performance and failability, given i already backup hourly i'm not sure what HDD's give me over SSD's please do explain?

        Originally posted by TheMadDutchDude View Post
        I would suggest the HP Microservers too. They're brilliant for the money.

        We have two SSDs in our server, but they're there purely to run the program(s) that our accountant logs on to remotely and to run the OS from. All of our company data is still stored on HDDs.
        So you're saying SSD's aren't reliable enough to store data on? and I should use HDD's? even though they are Raided and backed up regularly?

        To both, if I spec up those servers as mentioned anywhere near the spec I have put together, 16gb ram, 2x SSD's they don't seem overly cheap.

        They currently have an older xeon 4core 1.6ghz 6Gig 2x250GB raid 1 HDD's server. and it is really struggling.

        Happy to be persuaded though!!!
        Thanks for the comments.
        R.
        FILM QUIZ!!!!? Name the film from the quote!!
        "Right. Better clench up, Legolas"

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        • #5
          Originally posted by R1gg4 View Post
          Can you please explain the difference between server grade hardware and desktop grade? and point me at some server grade if that's what you think is required.

          I've gone for SSD's as they are fast. I already have a full backup regime in place and RAID 1 SSD's give both performance and failability, given i already backup hourly i'm not sure what HDD's give me over SSD's please do explain?



          So you're saying SSD's aren't reliable enough to store data on? and I should use HDD's? even though they are Raided and backed up regularly?

          To both, if I spec up those servers as mentioned anywhere near the spec I have put together, 16gb ram, 2x SSD's they don't seem overly cheap.

          They currently have an older xeon 4core 1.6ghz 6Gig 2x250GB raid 1 HDD's server. and it is really struggling.

          Happy to be persuaded though!!!
          Thanks for the comments.
          R.
          Server grade hardware is more thoroughly tested, is far more reliable and has a longer lifetime.
          It is designed to run 24/7. You will find that driver/firmware updates are also far more regular and more reliable.

          You should also get a much better warranty. For instance a 3 year old dell server I support had a HDD with a predictive failure. The drive was replaced by Dell under warranty and arrived by 9AM the next day. They also offered to come to site and replace the drive themselves for free.

          With servers you also get features like IPMI, iDrac, iLo (out of band management) which allow you to remotely view the server's screen, remotely power the server on, mount a virtual drive over the network and more. This allows you to remotely bring a server back up from something like a bluescreen. Out of band management solutions can also often monitor the health of your server and sent email alerts about issues.

          SSD's are fine in a server but they do die rather quickly when under a high workload unless you go for good ones.
          If you have a good backup strategy in place and you want to go for performance over longevity then it's an acceptable trade off.

          Your alternative would be a RAID 10 of 15K Enterprise SAS drives or 7200 RPM Sata drives.
          Servers with SAS backplanes usually feature hotswap and automatic rebuilding of RAID arrays.


          Of course as you've noticed, all this comes at a price.

          EDIT:

          As an aside I would highly recommend you look into visualization. It may not fit your usecase but using something like Hyper-V would minimally impact your performance while adding the ability to do things like snapshotting the server before installing software. This means if a software install breaks your server you can revert to the previous state with a couple of clicks rather than a backup restore that could take hours.

          Several of the servers I support are hypervisors with a single virtual server purely for this reason.
          Last edited by Lorem-Ipsum; 18-02-16, 22:09.
          Desktop: Intel i5-4690K | 16GB DDR3 | Gigabyte Z97N-WIFI | EVGA GTX 660 3GB | Windows 10
          Server 0: Gen8 HP Microserver | Proxmox Hypervisor Server 1: Gen8 HP Microserver | FreeNAS

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          • #6
            Thanks for this..

            Yes price is the driving factor here, (isn't it always!) and with the OS at nearly 300 there isn't a huge amount of room for the hw.

            The guy I'm building it for is running a very small recruitment business, and ideally he doesn't want to spend anything, I told him less than 800 would get him a new server.

            His old one uses SBS 2003, which is no longer even supported.

            What does virtualisation add to the costs?
            FILM QUIZ!!!!? Name the film from the quote!!
            "Right. Better clench up, Legolas"

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            • #7
              That's a lot of money for the OS, for sure. Is there any specific reason it needs to be Server rather than just running a basic version of Win 10 Pro or something? It doesn't sound like the server features will actually be used to their full potential and may be a big waste of money.

              I know it isn't strictly correct, but I run our server on Win 10 Pro. It works just fine and it simply works.

              I have a Server 2008 R2 license, but 10 was just so much better (as far as time goes to set it up) as my sister logs on remotely to do our accounts.
              ASUS Crosshair VI Hero | AMD Ryzen R7 1700 @ 3.95 GHz | be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 | G.SKILL TridentZ RGB 2x8GB @ 3333 MHz C14 | ASUS ROG STRIX GTX 1080 OC | Samsung SM951 256GB NVMe + 2x Samsung 850 EVO 250GB in RAID0 | EVGA SuperNOVA G3 850w | be quiet! Pure Base 600 Tempered Glass | CM Masterkeys Pro L | Logitech G502 | Logitech G920 | ASUS ZenBook UX305F

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              • #8
                To really answer the question you need to give more detail about the actual usage scenario tbh. For example if it's something mission/critical for a business, then Lorem-Ipsum's expensive server hardware approach might make sense, whereas if it's a development / personal project I would totally second TMDD's comments about not needing to buy actual server software.

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                • #9
                  Ok, it's a small recruitment agency business. (construction so times are hard, hence the little money as possible)

                  There can be upto 5 people all working at any one time on the network.

                  They all use a CRM database, that requires SQL to be installed and accessible from all 5 machines at the same time.

                  The CRM is fairly mission critical, but as I've said it gets backed up regularly, and as long as they still have internet, I have a remote access solution in place that I can get them back up and running within the hour, albeit for only 2 of the 5 users, which is acceptable to them in the short term.

                  They also require shared file storage, that again is accessible from all 5 machines at the same time, again these files are backed up and accessible remotely!

                  When I originally set-up the office for only 3 users, I used Windows XP Professional (yes it was quite some time ago) as a server machine, and soon ran into limitations on concurrent connections to the SQL server if I recall correctly. I think it was SQL 2000 at the time.

                  Hence I than advised to get a real server, and a proper server OS, so I built the server much as I'm trying to do now with standard components, and used Small Business Server 2003.

                  That has been running fine since 2004 pretty much non stop 24x7. Although I did upgrade the memory back in 09 to a whole 6 gig, and the SQL server to 2005

                  However their database has grown since then, or it could just be OS age (you know when you run something for a loooong time it just slows down of it's own accord) but I think it's just more people accessing a much larger database.

                  Now their access to the database is slow enough for it to be a pain to work with, plus they really need to move away from SBS 2003.

                  So I've convinced the owner a new server is the way to go, hence the above post!

                  If any of you are convinced it can be done a better cheaper way, please do let me know.
                  FILM QUIZ!!!!? Name the film from the quote!!
                  "Right. Better clench up, Legolas"

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                  • #10
                    how reliable is the internet in the office they are working in?

                    Sounds like a job for Azure domain controller with OneDrive for the files
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                    • #11
                      Their internet is reasonable, but probably not good enough to run their CRM system and file access across.

                      I will investigate the option though thanks.
                      FILM QUIZ!!!!? Name the film from the quote!!
                      "Right. Better clench up, Legolas"

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DoubleTop View Post
                        how reliable is the internet in the office they are working in?

                        Sounds like a job for Azure domain controller with OneDrive for the files
                        just what I was thinking, with that small a number of users might be better off having a cloud based solution, very little to go wrong on site.

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