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Exchange Server

Discussion in 'Networking' started by chewie1012, Dec 29, 2006.

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  1. chewie1012

    chewie1012 Thread Starter

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    HI,
    A client has asked me to give them a quote to set up an exchange server and five client computers. Four of the desktops have windows xp home. The network they have was not planned it was an accident. LoL Anyways I am thinking of building the server myself and have built my own server. I used SBS 2003 standard. They also want to implement Outlook business contacts manager. I think their business will quickly need more licenses for the server. Do you have any hardware suggestions and and pricing guildlines to quote them with? Do they need winxp pro on all the desktops? They mostly would like to use outlooks exchange and calendar features. I would want there to be a mirrored raid but am unsure how big the hard drives should be. I have done fine with two 80 gig hard drives. Any ideas would be appreciated.
    Jerry
     
  2. idowindows

    idowindows

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    XP Home won't fly - gotta have Pro for their needs..
     
  3. rhynes

    rhynes

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    First question to as when it comes to a server? What's their budget for the entire package? If they plan on $5000 complete, forget it. Won't get a decent server for that price... They'll want a server that will last, and need something they can grow into. Figure out their needs and add at least another 50% or better.

    idowindows is correct, don't go with xp home. You can use it by matching passwords on the workstation to the server but for a domain network, xp pro all the way.

    How much data do they currently have? You need to take into account the amount of email as well, many times email alone is in the gigs.

    With server hardware, I generally go minimum dual processor and a mirror/raid 5 for drives. Mirror, split in 2, one for the os, the other for an inline one day backup. The raid5 drive is for data. I prefer SCSI but alot of clients opt for SATA. Serves the purpose well.

    Are you planning on running isa (I never do but) make sure you have 2 nics in the server.

    There's 2 ways you can set up exchange:
    1 - get a static IP and an mx record and allow the exchange to host the email.
    2 - set up pop on the exchange and download from an online email host. This kinda defeats the purpose of having exchange in the first place tho.

    Either way, you should add in the cost of spam and virus protection for exchange server as well as server and workstations.
     
  4. chewie1012

    chewie1012 Thread Starter

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    Wow you have been very helpful. Right now they are on a peer to peer network with all winxp home desktops. I have backed up all of there documents except email to an external hard drive and it is not even close to full. The external hard drive is 320 gigs. Does raid five give you the benefit of striping and mirroring? I run my server on a sempron processor and it seems to do well but there is only me accessing it. So you say I should figure out the cost of everything software and hardware and then add 50% for the cost of labor? Do you think it is a bad idea to build the server myself? I built my own and actually rebuilt it once. I have had it for about four years. I overloaded the powersupply and fried it and my motherboard. Won't be doing that again.
     
  5. rhynes

    rhynes

    Joined:
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    Let me explain the job I finished up last week for a small business - 10 workstations.

    Server - Intel based, dual xeon, dual raid 5 SCSI.
    Windows 2003 server with 15 cals
    2 Cisco pix 501's - used strictly for secure remote access and site to site to another location.
    Linux firewall/filter. Yes, internet is heavily filtered.
    Exabyte 160 Gig external tape backup unit.
    Adding all workstations to domain and transferring data.
    Installing 2 small databases to the server.

    I quoted $17,000 for everything, including labor which was a 30 to 60 hour range. Labor hit 40 hours, brought the actaul down to $15,000 so they took the extra $2000 and bought a couple of workstations.

    If the lifespan of a server is 5 years (it's usually more), then the cost of doing business is
    $3000.00 per year, $250 per month. That's nothing.

    As a consultant, if a client wants to spend less than $4000 on server hardware, I won't do the job for them. I'd prefer the $8000 range. It's the cost of doing business. $4000 should get them an entry level intel based dual processor server. That cost should also net you the sata raids. Running desktops as a server doesn't cut it and I've never used the AMD processors in server based systems, but I have nothing against them. It's just my opinion and i'm sure others in here can rebut that.

    The 50% is for the added hardware, not labor. It's the room they'll need to grow. You say they will grow fast, get them into a server that can more than handle their needs down the road.

    I personally don't build computers, don't need the hassles. I have a deal worked out with a local supplier, and all his systems come with a 3 year warranty. I get commissions for sales and I don't worry about dealing with warranties. I also get paid for any repairs that need to be done (and that's very seldom).

    The raid 5 is for speed and redundancy for the data. If a hard drive dies, the server carries on. It does this with the mirror as well but the speed isn't the same.

    As for labor, I always give a range, allows for gremlins and unknowns that every network has. Job like yours? 30 to 60 hours.
     
  6. chewie1012

    chewie1012 Thread Starter

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    Rhynes,
    I really appreciate your input. It has been very eye opening and helpful. I am wondering if this is a job I can do or not. I think you have equiped me with the tools to quote the job which was a big concern of mine. I have set up my own server / domain etc. The business likes and I am sure will be patient with me. I know you don't know me, but if I have set up my own system server and have six years of support under my belt do you think I can handle this? I would hate to hand this job off to someone else and then lose a good client.
    Jerry
     
  7. rhynes

    rhynes

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    Well, if the company likes you and is patient with you, then I would say go for it.

    If you not sure about things, try not to get in too deep, give yourself an out. They have to buy a server anyway, don't be the one to sell it to them at this point. Source out the server hardware and get someone else to sell it to them. That way, you're not feeling stuck and you have no ties to the job. Dell builds a rugged server if you pay the right price and their warranty shipping is pretty quick.

    Once the server is in, have a try in building it. I always take new servers home to build them, and always have my test laptop handy for adding to the domain and what not. Once you sucessfully build the server, then bring it in and finish the job for them.

    Many times i'll format and rebuild the server multiple times because there's an error that i can't explain, or maybe i've made a slip of the finger. Whatever. But the server the company gets is well built and error free.

    There's only one way to build confidence, and there's no experience like hands on... And that's by doing it. Honesty is number one here... Clients have to trust you. Have all your ducks in a row so to speak.

    Robert
     
  8. chewie1012

    chewie1012 Thread Starter

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    Robert,
    That is excellent advice. Dell has been building crappy desktops for sometime now. Are you saying they are doing a better job with the servers? Will dell supply all the components the hard drives nics etc? I have noticed a lot of servers don't come complete. ie They may have only one hard drive etc. I like western digital raptors. They are fast and solid. I really appreciate your advice it has been much needed.
     
  9. Rockn

    Rockn

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    Rhynes, this is a small workgroup, why do they need a full blown Server 2003 and an enterprise class server. They should have good hardware I agree, but you are way out of touch with the small business reality. Most small businesses will never need more than 50 cals so SBS will work fine for them, it also includes Exchange Server. The migration to 2003 is not that big of a deal if they ever needed to. You can also get a very good new or recertified HP server Dual CPU processor for less than 2K.

    The one thing I would suggest that they NOT skimp on is backups. Forgo the tape backup path and go for online backups with a local backup device. A backup device like a Sonicwall CDP with offsite archiving is the way to go. You can set it and forget it for the most part and never have to worry about changing tapes. There is a local company called Digitiliti that does the same thing and all of the employees are former Veritas employees, they offer a very good product, but may be out of your price range.
     
  10. rhynes

    rhynes

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    Rockn, please tell me where I mentioned anything about the enterprise exchange server? chewie1012 is talking about installing SBS 2003 and this is a single server job is it not?
     
  11. chewie1012

    chewie1012 Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Hi Guys,
    Yep it is single server. I priced one out at Dell here is what it included. I don't know if the standard server 2003 includes exchange though.

    Close
    Dell recommends Windows® XP Professional



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Print This Page



    Description

    PowerEdge 2900
    Date & Time: December 30,2006 10:06 PM CST

    SYSTEM COMPONENTS
    PowerEdge 2900 Qty 1
    Dual Core Intel® Xeon® 5130, 4MB Cache, 2.00GHz, 1333MHz FSB, Windows Server® 2003 R2, Standard Edition, Includes 5 CALs Unit Price $3,817.00
    Save $900 on select PowerEdge when priced $3,500 or above!
    Expires Thursday, January 04, 2007
    - $900.00

    Catalog Number: 4 PE2900-MIN
    Module Description Show Details
    PowerEdge 2900 Dual Core Intel® Xeon® 5130, 4MB Cache, 2.00GHz, 1333MHz FSB
    Operating System Windows Server® 2003 R2, Standard Edition, Includes 5 CALs
    Additional Processor Single Processor only
    Memory 2GB 533MHz (4x512MB), Single Ranked DIMMs
    Keyboard Keyboard, USB
    Monitor Dell 17 Inch Analog Flat Panel
    TCP/IP Offload Engine Enablement Broadcom TCP/IP Offload Engine Not Enabled
    Primary Hard Drive 160GB, SATA, 3.5-inch, 7.2K RPM Hard Drive
    Primary Controller PERC 5/i, Integrated Controller Card
    Floppy Drive No Floppy Drive
    Mouse Mechanical Two-Button Mouse, USB
    Network Adapter Dual Embedded Broadcom® NetXtreme II 5708 Gigabit Ethernet NIC
    CD/DVD Drive 48X IDE CD-RW/DVD ROM Drive
    Bezel Tower Bezel Included
    Documentation Electronic Documentation and OpenManage CD Kit
    2nd Hard Drive 160GB, SATA, 3.5-inch, 7.2K RPM Hard Drive
    Hard Drive Configuration Integrated SAS/SATA RAID 5, PERC 5/i Integrated
    Chassis Configuration Tower Chassis Orientation
    Hardware Support Services 3Yr BASIC SUPPORT: 5x10 HW-Only, 5x10 NBD Onsite
    Installation Support Services No Installation Assessment
    Power Supply Redundant Power Supply with No Cord
    3rd Hard Drive 160GB, SATA, 3.5-inch, 7.2K RPM Hard Drive
    Server Accessories Dual Caster Wheels

    TOTAL:$2,917.00

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------




    Total Price
    Sub-total $2,917.00

    Shipping & Handling $109.00


    Tell me is this overkill or no?
    Thanks,
    Jerry
    PS they are a very small business with maybe ten employees but I believe they will be growing very quickly.
     
  12. UNIKSERV

    UNIKSERV

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    Messages:
    601
    The server you have there if used as an exchange server will work great for hundreds of employees. The bottleneck for an exchange server (and for most servers out there) is usually not the processor. If budgeting is a concern you can get a server for your needs that doesn't use Xeon processors and save a few hundred dollars, however, the processors should be 64 bit if you're looking to the future.
    One thing all exchange servers chew up is RAM so doubling the amount of RAM on that server would keep your server Zippy because it would do a good job of bypassing the RAID 5 read bottleneck. I love RAID 5 and recommend it for most things but the key to remember with RAID 5 is that the reads are faster than a single hard drive but the writes are slower because of the parity information that has to be written all the time.
    320 gigs of hard drive space will be more than enough if you're only going to run an exchange server but it's my experience that small businesses can't afford to get a separate server for each function like Microsoft recommends so it's probably going to use a good deal of hard drive space though rarely will a small business get up to 320 gigs. However, I'd try to split the hard drives so that you have four or five rather than just three so that reading and writing in the RAID 5 is faster because data can be written and read from multiple drives simultaneously.
    I notice that the quote you received comes with Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition with 5 cals. The limit for Small Business Server is 75 users and it comes with Exchange server and sharepoint installed by default unlike the software in the quote you received which would cost you another thousand or so to get the exchange server and the 10 other cals you should get to prevent having people get locked out of the server.
    Dell is a good choice for servers and the idea that Dell makes crappy computers is outdated because they used to suck but their quality and service for business clients is top notch compared to many other companies.
    You should also include a UPS that can handle the server.
    You should backup your data obviously but I'm a fan of external hard drives because of the great Gig/dollar ratio and you can take them home. I've been investigating the laptop hard drives in very small external cases because they're essentially about the same size as tapes and can store up to 160 gigs per hard drive. Don't worry, I suspect that 160 gigs will be more than you need for a long time.
    Should you do it yourself? That's a hard question because I don't know you and it can get pretty complicated. You can probably find a "how-to" for most of your stuff but if you haven't spent too much time setting up servers and networks that use servers you are very likely to make some fundamental mistakes that have to do with security and you will very likely not make use of most of the higher level features of Windows 2003 server but if you're diligent and you're good at research and learning you should be able to setup the server without anything catastrophic happening, but, plan on performing a reinstall of the server at least once. This means you should document everything and backup the system state on whatever backup method you choose. Small Business Server comes with a utility that will backup your server completely so that you can restore it easily if you have to.
    Those are my 2 cents.

    Joe
     
  13. jmwills

    jmwills

    Joined:
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    You really need to have these people look at Small Business Server. With SBS, they get Exchange, Share Point, and Centralized Document location.
    A rough estimate for the software would be $1500, and say the same for the Server so $3-4k is a very good number. XP Pro will be required.
     
  14. chewie1012

    chewie1012 Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    I am so glad that all of you are piping in. I am getting a real education and that is the one thing I lack. Most people in my business work in a corporate environment and gain very useful experience that way. I have had to learn everything myself with the help of some of you. I have reinstalled my own server about four times so that doesn't surprise me. I bought my own copy of sbs 2003 and it was about $650.00 with five cals. Joe, are you saying I should buy less processor, but make it a 64 bit , get more hard drives and more memory?
    Thanks,
    Jerry
     
  15. UNIKSERV

    UNIKSERV

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2002
    Messages:
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    Yes, that's what I'm saying more or less. By less processor I mean you don't need a Xeon which just has more on die cache than the other Intel processors at the same speed. I'm also saying to not pay for the windows server 2003 standard that's in the quote. I'm saying more hard drives but they don't have to be 160s you can get the same hard drive space but you can use smaller hard drives. Also, you're going to need more than 5 cals, I recommend 15 to accomodate for growth.

    Joe
     
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