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Replacing SBS2003 with new Server 2008

Discussion in 'Windows Server' started by Jeff11214, Dec 29, 2010.

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  1. Jeff11214

    Jeff11214 Thread Starter

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    I will be replacing a SBS 2003 box with Server 2008 on a new box. This is for a small office with about 10 workstations. Exchange 2007 will be installed and some folder sharing. I don't need a powerhouse server, but I don't know if this will be good enough. I bought a cheap server from Dell and my question is do you think this will suffice? Here are the specs:

    Dell PowerEdge T110
    PowerEdge T110 Chassis with upto 4 Cabled Hard Drives
    4GB Memory (4x1GB), 1333MHz, Single Ranked UDIMM
    Memory for 1CPU Platform
    X3430 Xeon Processor, 2.4 GHz 8M Cache, Turbo
    PowerEdge T110 Heatsink
    HD Multi-Select
    No Controller
    On board Network Adapter
    1Baseboard Management Controller
    ODD Cable, PowerEdge R210
    16X DVD-ROM,SATA, INTERNAL
    Electronic System Documentation and OpenManage DVD Kit
    Onboard SATA, 1-4 Hard Drives connected to onbaord SATA Controller -No RAID
    250GB 7.2k RPM Serial ATA 3Gbps 3.5-in Cabled Hard Drive

    I will use external drives for backups. Any advice is much appreciated.

    Thanks
    Jeff
     
  2. geek117

    geek117

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    Should be alright for what you're going to be using it for. I work with several small businesses that are doing alot more on alot less hardware. However, with exchange running on there, you might want to consider installing some additional memory (8GB should suffice). What version of Server 2008 are you running? If you want to have an easier time with administration, I would consider using SBS 2008. The integration of Exchange into the SBS console makes things nice and simple :)

    I'm not sure as to what your current backup plan is, but I would make sure you are running scheduled backups separately for the Exchange database (which should be stored on a partition other than the system partition / C: ) and the system. So if you are using NTBackup, run a backup job for the System State, and a separate one for the Exchange database.

    Edit: I just realized you're not running any sort of RAID controller in the server. You might want to reconsider that, as running at least a RAID-1 will greatly increase the stability of your platform.
     
  3. Jeff11214

    Jeff11214 Thread Starter

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    Thank you so much for your reply!

    I'll take your advice on adding more memory and a Raid-1. I'm an IT professional, but I don't work directly with servers and never built one... yet. Can you please recommend a Raid-1 card? I looked on newegg.com and prices differ dramatically.
    http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategory=410&name=Controllers-RAID-Cards

    Do both hard drives have to be identical? I did a quick search and it looks like they don't need to be.

    I will be installing SBS 2008. You mention the integration of Exchange into SBS is simple (i'm counting on that). I will need to import mailbox data. Is it straight-forward exporting mailboxes from Exchange v6.5 and importing into Exchange 2010?

    For Backups, I will use NTbackup to store data on external HDD. I'll take your advice on the separate backup jobs.

    Thanks
     
  4. geek117

    geek117

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    I would use a Dell PERC adapter, that can be fully integrated into the Dell Server Administrator. I don't see why this one wouldn't work for you, but you might want to get someone from Dell on the phone to double check...

    http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/...0&baynote_irrank=0&~ck=baynoteSearch#Overview

    Short answer, no. They do however have to be the same size, otherwise you will be wasting space.


    Honestly, I'm not sure. I don't claim to be an Exchange expert, I usually just administer environments that have already been configured. What I have done in the past however, is migrated from webmail services to new Exchange servers. In the same fashion, you may just be able to import mail from an old PST file into a new Exchange account via Outlook on the individual workstations. Otherwise, you're going to want to do some more research on the mailbox migrations.


    Sounds good. I would run these as scheduled tasks on days when you have the most downtime, so as not to interrupt daily work activities.

    On a side note, what other scheduled tasks do you generally run in your current server environment?


    EDIT: When you get your RAID-1 setup, you're going to want to make sure you have several partitions, but allow the system partition to have at least 100-150gb. You'll want to keep the Exchange database, as well as WSUS (if you use it) on separate partitions as to not cripple the system in case they get too large.
     
  5. Rockn

    Rockn

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    The server alreeady comes with a PERC SAS controller and should directly support RAID 1....why would you want to do RAID 1 though? I would do a RAID5 with a spare, it will cost more, but is far more resiliant.
     
  6. Jeff11214

    Jeff11214 Thread Starter

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    The Dell T110 server does not show it comes with a Perc SAS Controller. I never configured a server with RAID, but RAID 5 seems overkill for my purpose. Total data for all the harddrives is approximately 280gb and those drives are pretty much maxed out. Being that harddrives are pretty cheap these days, I think I will get two 2TB SATA drives for the RAID 1.

    @geek117-
    Do you think I can get away with the 4GB of memory? The old SBS 2003 server only has 1GB.

    I contacted Dell for a compatible RAID controller and they tried to sell me a $250 card, until I pointed out the $76 card you found. They said I can use that as well. So thank-you for that!

    I found some good information on Exchange @experts-exchange.com so hopefully that won't be too much of a headache.

    Scheduled Tasks that are currently running on the SBS2003 are:
    Nighly Backup - exports data to a USB HDD
    Shadow Copy Volume (2 tasks for this) - not sure what this is actually doing. I didn't set this server up.

    I assume I will have the option to partition when I start the SBS 2008 install? I've installed XP a million times and I understand how it works with that.

    I think 100gb should be more then enough space for the C drive. The older server has 12gb for C and that is all used up. I'm nervous that all drives are maxed out with nothing to delete so I'm anxious to get this new box up asap.

    Thanks for your input :)
     
  7. Rockn

    Rockn

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    Is it really overkill? What is the data worth and how much time do you want to spend fixing something when it breaks? I am not sure if you are looking at software or hardware RAID1, but if you are cool with that then go for it. Personally I would create a RAID 5 array and carve it up with OS and data partitions and put the Exchange dbs on another smaller array.
    Definately get a PERC controller!! RAID arrays are set up during the boot process and you can then boot to that array and create an OS partition with the size of your choosing...100GB should be fine. After that you can carve up the array any way you wish inside of the OS in Disk manager.
    You should look at the specs for Exchange 2007 because that is going to be your resource hog.
     
  8. Jeff11214

    Jeff11214 Thread Starter

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    @Rockn-
    You sound like you have a great deal of experience with RAID, whereas, I don't have any. From what I understand about RAID 1 with 2 HDD, if 1 drive fails the 2nd drive takes over so there is no data loss or down-time. The failed HDD gets replaced and the disk imaging takes over again. So, I'm not sure what you mean by spending time if something breaks. If something breaks using RAID 5 some intervention needs to be done as well.

    I plan on buying a SAS Controller Card from Dell. This seems to fit my needs and doesn't seem to be very complicated to setup.

    Old server is SBS 2003 with Exchange 2003 with 1gb memory and it's been getting by for years. It has no RAID and only external USB HDD's for file backup.

    New server will be SBS 2007 with Exchange 2010. Of course I know it will consume more memory, but if I can get by with 4gb's of memory I'll try to.

    Thanks
     
  9. Jeff11214

    Jeff11214 Thread Starter

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    I meant new server will be SBS 2008 with Exchange 2007. Possibly Exchange 2010 when I have more time to research it.
     
  10. Rockn

    Rockn

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    If you are doing SBS 2008 you don't have a choice as to the version of Exchange, you get what comes with SBS which is 2007.

    If you create a RAID 5 array and one of the drives fails all you need to do is put a replacement drive in and the array rebuilds itself. If the RAID1 fails you will have to go into disk manager or the array manager, break the mirror, install the replacement drive, create the morror again.

    Don't get me wrong, a RAID 1 will work just fine, just want to let you know the options.

    Have you planned your migration strategy for Exchange?
     
  11. geek117

    geek117

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    If you really want him to be careful with his RAID volumes, what's wrong with a RAID-1 and a hot-spare? Even with a hot-spare, you're still using the same number of drives as you would with a RAID-5 volume, and you have more fault tolerance. The only question is, how much space does he really need on a server to be used for 10 people?

    In regards to breaking the mirror, i've never had to do such a thing. I've (recently actually) completed a hot-replacement of a failed drive in a RAID-1 configuration, initialized the drive in Dell Server Administrator, and automatically rebuilt the volume without rebooting the system. On the same system, we had a drive fail in a RAID-5 volume. Interestingly enough, the system had be operating like this since May 2010 (we found out about this in November) and neither had affected even mission critical applications. I'm not saying this will be the case in every instance, i'm just saying that either way you go you should have a a little bit of time to get things back to normal. With the newer controllers and software, you don't necessarily even have to take the server down to make repairs (which is how it should be). As long as he is verifying backups on a weekly basis, I don't see any reason why he would have trouble with a RAID-1 or a RAID-5.


    @Jeff11214 - In regards to the memory, Rockn is correct... Exchange is going to be your biggest resource hog. If you're investing that much into a new server, I wouldn't go anywhere south of 8GB (memory is cheap).

    As far as the server scheduled tasks are concerned, I would make sure you are defragging on a weekly basis (mostly on weekends when nobody's using it). Also depending on what kind of applications you're running on it (you're probably just running exchange, but just in case), I would schedule a weekly reboot for Wednesday mornings before everybody gets in to work. If you want to keep your harddrive space in check, you can always run a scheduled task for CCleaner to clean up your system temp files every week (if you use Symantec, Utilities takes up a hefty amount of space).

    In regards to security software, do you currently or are you going to be running system wide (server managed) Anti-virus software?

    As with Rockn, I too am curious as to the nature of your Exchange migration strategy. As I said before, I've only done basic mailbox migrations using PST files and have never migrated from one Exchange server to another. I am sure I could benefit from any information you can provide about your migration.
     
  12. Rockn

    Rockn

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    Then the breaking of the mirror must only be an issue with a software RAID 1.

    A RAID array is not the be all end all for data safety either so if you are counting on that you will be out of a job eventually when the server fails. I would get a good backup and RECOVERY plan in place and test it on a regular basis because it is not a question of if a hard drive will fail it is a question of when!!

    This seems like a lot of work for an office with only 10 people. Ever thought of Google apps or hosted Exchange?
     
  13. Jeff11214

    Jeff11214 Thread Starter

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    I'm still shopping around for parts and figuring out my game plan.

    Looks like I'm sticking with RAID-1 and the hardware SAS 6/iR Controller does support up to 2 hot spares. Probably won't utilize that though. I feel good about 2 mirrored drives.

    I'm looking at getting 2 x 2tb SATA drives. RAID controller supports both SATA and SAS, but SAS drives are just too expensive. Do you think I should be ok with SATA?

    SBS 2008 requires a minimum of 4gb memory, so I think I will be upgrading to 8gb. I don't know what you consider cheap regarding memory prices, but Dell wants $218 for just one 4gb memory module. If I wanted to max out (16gb) it would cost me almost $900 from Dell - Not Cheap.
    I think I will buy 4 x 2gb modules for a total of 8gb from Crucial. Crucial wants $36 for a 2gb memory module. $160 total is a little bit more reasonable.

    Data Backup as mentioned will be going to a USB external hard drive.

    Security software will be Symantec Endpoint. Not sure if it will be server managed or not.

    After some thought I think I will be exporting/archiving the PST mailboxes and I will start off with clean mailboxes in Exchange 2007.

    I have not explored Google Apps or hosted Exchange. I'm trying to save money with this project and not subscribe to any services. This isn't really a lot of work for only 10 users. It is for a law office and Exchange is one of the most important pieces. The amount of e-mail that is received/sent is insane.

    I'm reading and learning as much as I can and I do appreciate all your help. Please send me your comments and suggestions. Thanks :)
     
  14. geek117

    geek117

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    You'll be more than fine with SATA. I support several clients that run SATA RAIDs in their servers (most of them are mirrored actually), without issue.

    Make sure you're using Fully Buffered ECC memory (as long as your motherboard supports it.. I don't see why it wouldn't check crucial to be sure). Newegg has this memory for roughly $56 for a 2GB stick. Putting 8GB in would run you just over $200.

    This is a Client/Server app. You will be managing the clients from the server, and you can perform remote client installs from the server using the server console app it installs.

    I believe it. Just make sure you enforce mailbox quotas, and instruct the users to frequently archive their mailboxes. Default mail quota in Exchange 2007 should be 2GB. I wouldn't let it go much higher than that.
     
  15. Jeff11214

    Jeff11214 Thread Starter

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    Do you recommed a particular model or website to buy from? I usually buy all my desktop drives from Newegg. Western Digital RE4 looks pretty good. But, the Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB got excellent reviews and is much cheaper too. Not sure if this will work good in RAID though.
    I checked with Crucial and they don't have Buffered memory for my server. And I just found documentation from Dell stating my system supports DDR3 ECC unbuffered memory modules (UDIMMs). They don't mention buffered as an option so I'm thinking it's not supported.
    Newegg has the unbuffered 2gb for $30 - $120 for all sounds even better.
    The mail quotas have to be set VERY high. The received e-mail always have attachments and the boxes grow quickly. It gets up to 12gigs. I know the limit is 20gigs per box for Exchange 2003. Not sure about Exchange 2007.

    The office is now asking if I can put this new server on the network, but on a different domain for the purpose of using this box in the event the old box 'dies'. So, if/when that occurs they will just join the domain of the new server. They don't want it on the same domain as a backup server.
    I need to think about this one. What do you guys think? Am I able to have 2 servers on the same network, but in 2 different domains? I could always put it on a different subnet/ip scheme.
     
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