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help build server for my company

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pinky33

Member
Joined
May 6, 2008
I work at a lawn and garden center that is growing and although we are getting more computers, stores, registers and employees we do not have a real server. I know a fair amount about computers, but would fall short when it comes to deciding what our needs are for a server. Our OLD old IT guy has retired (thank you!) and our new IT guy seems to be doing a great job so far. The new IT guy and myself are getting along and bouncing ideas back and forth in order to find the best solution for all the problems he is encountering here.

I have learned our current server is a very old duel core xeon with one HDD and one tape back up from a few years ago!!! This is just one of many current obstetricals. New IT guy has already scavenged old computers to build a back up of server. Core2 duo power!

One other obstetrical would be an internet cap of 5Mbs at our corporate office where server is. We are currently working on getting this higher. We are loosing packets and are not able to manage our routers because the company we use for our software controls our routers at every location. EPICORE

I will attempt to describe our needs so you can best recommend a solution(hardware). This will not be built until after the busy season most likely. This means middle of summer or winter.

1. At most 50 computers over 4 locations around town will be accessing the server.
2. Rack mount

This a quote from IT guy email

" We will be running Linux (testing fedora core first) on the back end and several virtual machines on the front end. Probly going with VMware for the virtual machines and windows server 2008 virtual machine (for now) for our domain server but will update that as soon as MS comes out with a new server OS biased on windows 10. There may also be a future honey pot virtual machine(boss says no go yet on the honey pot..) and server Linux VM's just for recording and monitoring our network span ports on the switches so I can laterally see a virus on the network as it is happening. There will also be a separate VM for the file server running on that system and maybe a couple sand box VMs for backup testing until I get my workstations setup to be able to simulate every system in the company with more Virtual machines and clone backups of the actual live systems.

I know everyone wants me to have a good hardware raid card and I will eventually have to get one as we expand storage but I really am going towards waiting a bit of system recourses on a software raid. Both for easy of data recovery, less chance of double corruption and way more remote support ability than I can trust with any hardware raid. I know there are some better raid cards out there that have good remote support tools though and I'm probly about to get schooled.

We will also have a couple of backup systems:
A simple dell blade server that I will just setup to run 1 or 2 virutal machines so it can be a backup domain server and even file server is we had multiple failures. (our old domain server)

a backup NOS that has full image backups of everything and can act as a emergency file server and even run a copy of the domain server too if everything else fails. (our old Linux server)""

end quote



IT guy proposing as 2-6 core xeon processers, 128 GB of ram
and 8 TB or super redundant enterprise grade storage with a spare
drive ready for rambo.

Please let me know if you need any more information. I am excited to learn a little about servers.

Thank you.

-Pinky
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Buy a Dell PowerEdge, you want the support of a pre-built server in a work environment.
 
OP
pinky33

pinky33

Member
Joined
May 6, 2008
Buy a Dell PowerEdge, you want the support of a pre-built server in a work environment.

Can you please expand on what you mean by support. Unless we are talking about customer support I am a little confused. As long as we used parts that are compatible I don't see the advantages of paying more to have an outside company assemble. Just like building a gaming rig.


Thank you,

-pinky
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Warranty and repair. What happens if you're out sick and the IT guy is on vacation?

Anyone can call Dell, not everyone can diagnose and repair a server.
 

Janus67

Benching Team Leader
Joined
May 29, 2005
Buy a Dell PowerEdge, you want the support of a pre-built server in a work environment.

Was going to suggest the same thing. Or at least whatever brand your company uses for their workstations. You don't want to be the one stuck troubleshooting motherboard compatibility or having to contact one of 8 companies to rma a part.

Also, the IT guys email has some horrible spelling issues for a professional email, but I digress there...

Also, a software based raid can be perfectly fine depending on what they are using (hopefully not an onboard raid controller and instead something like ZFS etc)
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
You are in a professional environment in a growing company. There isn't a need for a custom built server. Go to Dell/HP or wherever, and take the hardware worry away.

I'm also a but worried about that IT email... the backup NOS made me laugh, I won't lie. I thought I jumped into a car thread for a minute. :p
 
OP
pinky33

pinky33

Member
Joined
May 6, 2008
Thank you, that makes perfect sense. I will forward this thread to him.

As far as the email goes. It was him and I emailing back and forth personally. Emails are addressed appropriately to other co-workers. As professionally as you get at a mom and pop garden center that is.

Here is a build by someone(me) who does not know what they are doing. Have to start somewhere.

http://configure.us.dell.com/dellst...=classic&leadtime=4/18/2016&showleadtime=True
 
Last edited:

JrClocker

AKA: JrMiyagi
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
I agree with buying a Dell or HP...you will have many other issues to worry about as you bring this new system online...the last thing you want to be doing is troubleshooting hardware.

It seems as though your IT guy is going "super de duper" on a lot of this system. I would have him break it down into phases (probably about 3) for the following main reasons:

(1) to spread out your $$ investment (unless cash flow is not a problem)
(2) to spread out the time to get everything installed and running
(3) to avoid creating a Frankenstein science project versus a solid running system of systems

The project scope he has lined up will take time to setup and get working. The last thing you want is to be funding a science project and have your system not be ready to go when you need it.

Finally, Linux has some advantages over Windows...but also some drawbacks. The main drawback is finding people who understand them if your current IT guy gets hit by a bus (...err Wins The Lottery is more politically correct.) Check the labor pool in your area to see if you have a large pool of qualified Linux experts to draw upon before pulling that trigger. Also, check for employee certifications (either Microsoft or Linux)...a certification doesn't guarantee anything, but it does help separate the hacks from the professionals.
 

pcgamer4life

Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2004
This IT guy has pretty ambitious plans for a single physical box. Virtualizing your entire infrastructure on a single server is asking for trouble (and wanting to DIY it is even worse). Seems kind of like he's biting off a little more than he can chew. why even mention Fedora for a backend server? It's not meant for ANY production environment, EVER. And why mention a honeypot? Not saying he can't get the job done, but he needs to research HEAVILY, and probably pay someone from Dell/HP/etc to consult with him for his needs before he drops tens of thousands of dollars on hardware. A misinformed decision about this could very well put this mom&pop company out of business.

Tell him to set up a call with a sales rep from Dell/HP/whoever sells them their workstations to discuss the company's needs.