New Server for Small Business

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New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:24 pm

I'm beginning to think our business is in need of a new server. The current is a Dell Poweredge 840 tower server from 2007 sporting a quad core Xeon @ 2.4GHz (think a Q6600 in Xeon clothes) with 4GB of ECC ram and 3x120GB hdds in RAID5. The only change I've made to it in the last 5 years is increasing the memory to 4GB from the original 2GB, rearranging the partitions after we ran into problems with the original 20GB OS partition (really, Dell?) and software updates, etc. Speaking of software, it's running Small Business Server 2003. For the most part it's been solid and met our needs. Recently, it's started to show its age and between some updates failing to install and errors in our operating software that are interrupting business (and always seem to happen when I'm out of the office).

We don't have a great need for storage capacity and with less than 10 users there isn't a terribly large load on it. If it wasn't starting to throw fits that make me nervous about its health, it could probably serve us a few more years without a problem. However, the OS is a decade old, there isn't a single client computer on it now that started with it and I would really like to buy myself another 5 years of worry free service.

That being said, I was piecing together some systems at Dell and now I find myself wondering if I shouldn't just build a server myself. I've typically shied away from this in the past because of the critical nature of a server and availability of extended warranty/repair options (again, if I'm on vacation I don't the business to be dead in the water from a hardware failure). However, looking at the options from Dell and then attempting to configure a similar system on Newegg, I feel like there are a lot of blank spaces that I need to fill before I would be comfortable either direction.

An entry level Dell tower server with Windows Server 2012 Essentials seems to be pricing out around $1,700 with 16GB of memory and a couple 500GB drives in RAID1. Taking $450 or so for the software out of the picture leaves a $1,300 harware budget. I'm pretty sure I could build a machine with server class harware (xeon E3 v2, ECC mem, etc) and use a couple of 256GB SSDs in RAID1 for less than than, but the question is should I even be considering this? Any one with a horror story they would like to share to scare me straight and just go with Dell?

Thoughts and recommendations appreciated.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:42 pm

Have you considered migrating some things like email to hosted and just getting a NAS? Could time normally spent on messing with updates.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:58 pm

don't forget 2012 Essentials doesn't come with Exchange like you current SBS did and I don't think you can even install Exchange later.

Personally I don't see anything wrong with building a small server like this from consumer parts (it's also much easier to get parts if anything goes wrong). You might consider AMD as you can get ECC without going to server / workstation parts (IIRC every AMD motherboard from Asus supports EEC but double check the board if you go done this route)
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:34 pm

cheesyking wrote: (it's also much easier to get parts if anything goes wrong)


You can get a 4-hour replacement warranty - something fails, within 4 hours a tech will show up with a part. What's easier than that?
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:42 pm

Wyglif wrote:Have you considered migrating some things like email to hosted and just getting a NAS? Could time normally spent on messing with updates.


But then you lose your identity and access solution, among other things.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:45 pm

absurdity wrote:
cheesyking wrote: (it's also much easier to get parts if anything goes wrong)


You can get a 4-hour replacement warranty - something fails, within 4 hours a tech will show up with a part. What's easier than that?


Many spares could just be cannibalised from desktops you'd have around the office. 4 minutes with a screwdriver and you're back online. Plus a 4 hour replacement warranty is an expensive extra and quite possibly not available everywhere. I'm not saying homebrew servers from desktop parts are always best or anything but spares are easier to come by at very shot notice.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:26 pm

Well, the 4-hour window would also be useful if he's on vacation and the office needs to get something fixed. And yeah, typically you need to be in a large city. It's nice, though, I had that on a server and HP sent me a part the SAME DAY on Saturday! Nice!

You could always look for refurb servers. If you're stuck on Dell, maybe peruse this: http://www.serversupply.com/SERVERS/POWEREDGE/ I don't know if the prices are any good as I'm not too familiar with Dell's product lines.

I am a HP fan myself. I like getting stuff that's a generation or two behind the current bleeding edge because it's much cheaper and HP lets me buy a service warranty on the machine regardless. You might want to look into that for Dell. Then again if you can get it all through Dell, maybe do that.

As an example, I recently got a DL380 G5 for something like $500. I upgraded to 32 GB of RAM for another $500. For 8 146GB 15K SAS drives, that cost about $1500. So $2500 total. It seems like after a certain point storage takes up most of the cost. If you're just going to do a mirror and don't have much data, should be pretty "cheap" in relative terms.

You want a desktop server, not a rack, right? Maybe eBay for a Dell PowerEdge 2900 ii or 2950 desktop, you can get them with redundant power supplies and hot-swap drive bays. I've been playing around with a rackmount PE 2900 ii for the last few weeks and it's a capable machine. Old enough that it shouldn't be too expensive.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:29 pm

cheesyking wrote:a 4 hour replacement warranty is an expensive extra

Scrotos wrote: the 4-hour window would also be useful if he's on vacation and the office needs to get something fixed

This is probably your #1 deciding factor here. (not that you necessarily need the 4 hour replacement warranty, that was just an example) From your description, the server load isn't large, and it doesn't sound like a mission-critical application. Even then, things can go wrong with Dell and HP servers, the same as a homebuilt one. Support is nice, especially if you're the only one that can fix things and you happen to be unavailable when something fails. (Murphy's/Finagle's Law) It's also nice if you come across a problem you can't solve on your own. That said, keep a close eye on how much the support package is costing you. Could that money be put to better use purchasing more redundancy?

I don't know if there's a cut-and-dry answer to your specific case. For every story where OEM warranty was a life saver, there's at least one story about support/warranties going unused/wasted. That's how the system works.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:30 am

Even with an OEM server with an extended warranty with 4 hours parts response, my experience has been one of needing to determine what part has failed so the service guy can bring it with - I'm not sure how that would work if no one in the office would be able to walk through a troubleshooting procedure with them if it simply didn't boot. I had the extended plan with the current Dell and never had to use it - I don't remember the cost, but I think it was something like $400 that never had any value.

I've been messing around with HyperV on Windows 8 here at home and the ability to have auto-failover between two identical virtual machines is intriguing but i fear far too complicated for a small business. The reality is that unless I spend more than I need to I will always have a single point of failure somewhere in the system (network switch, server, router, etc). I think my time might best be spend review my Disaster recovery and backup plans and then become more educated on the current state of server hardware to see if I can build one that is reliable and quiet (did I mention how awfully loud the current Dell is?).

Thanks for weighing in and I'll come back to update this or start a new thread if I do get around to building one.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:57 pm

So...I ended up ordering a Dell this afternoon. I am getting the Poweredge T110 II with an E3-1230v2, 16GB RAM, 1TB hdd (only $20 more than the 500gb option), Windows Server 2012 Essentials, PERC H200 card... I think those are the pertinent details. I was speccing out equivalent harware at Newegg and between difficulty choosing a server motherboard (tons of options, none seem to have overwhelmingly positive reviews, hard to find reviews on the web) and the fact that my parts list price including the server software was pretty much equaling the cost of the Dell , the only variable became time to assemble, test, install, etc. Timing is what motivated the decision. More mornings than not the current server has been throwing errors that require intervention on my part and I'm starting to think it's giving me signs that it needs a break. Since goofing around with the production server in an attempt to correct issues that appear to be getting worse not better isn't my idea of a good time or a wise business decision I went ahead and ordered the new box.

The next question I have is should I add the new server to the existing domain and transfer things over from the existing box, or should I just begin a new domain on the new box and reconfigure the clients - a completely fresh start, as it were. I would welcome any opinions from those with knowledge and experience far exceeding my own. Existing domain is 2003 Small Business Server, new is 2012 essentials. 8 client machines so I'm leaning toward complete redo as I feel it gives me the best hope for worry free operation moving forward as I'm not particularly familiar with all things Active Directory and the nuances therein.

EDIT: Forgot to mention I plan on getting a few 256GB SSDs to run in RAID1 for the OS, Databases, etc. that should keep the server from becoming the bottleneck anytime soon.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:42 pm

Active Directory is actually pretty easy. It sounds like you have a single level forest/domain with one DC. The real issue is going to be Exchange, if you have it. There is no path from Exchange 2003 to 2013. You must go 2007 or 2010 first. Or you could just export all mail into PSTs and the reimport. Not impossible (or even hard) for 10 users, but something to think about. All DLs/security groups would also have to be setup again.


Upgrading the domain is fairly easy. Install the new 2012 server, run adprep from 2012 server, promote to DC, transfer FSMO roles, migrate Exchange (if needed), then decommission the old DC, finally raise domain and forest functional levels.


Technet has good resources:
Adprep: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2743367
AD 2012: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/libr ... 94618.aspx
Exchange 2013: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/For ... 078468df3/
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:36 pm

Personally (and I've had this conversation/argument with others on TR), I'd stay the hell away from SBS unless your ultra familar with it. Yes there is a cost associated with hosted email, but in all honesty, the cost per users isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things, and you don't have to worry about the BS involved with running your own exchange server. Take a look at Google Apps hosting, 50 bucks a year per email account, includes the calendar, google docs, all while using your domain name so it looks professional.

Let me just say this too, you can absolutely build a better machine than Dell when it comes to budget/mid-range servers, if your the one building it for your business or for your employer at the cost of their time (you being on the clock). If you were talking something really higher end like a PE 2900 for visualization, it would be hard to build yourself and be competitive. I struggled with the same ideas about 2 years ago and finally started to build servers for my customers custom. Word to the wise, don't cheap out on the PSU or HDDs, simple as that. Most consumer grade motherboards on the higher end will work fine, so I chose a nicer Asus board with good solid polymer capacitors and they run great. I actually went with an AMD cpu only because they can take ECC RAM, so there wasn't a need to buy an expensive specialty board to accommodate a Xeon CPU or any other "Server" CPU. Don't get me wrong, those CPUs have their place, but are overkill for most small businesses.

I've setup 3 custom servers for customers, and the first one being based on an AMD Phenom II 1100t. Its been almost 4 years and its never missed a single beat. I went with Seagate Constellation drives (500gb) and put them in a RAID 0 for the data drive and a single drive for the server 2008 R2 install. I make a backup of both the OS and Data drives weekly with a full backup (Acronis) and then incremental through the work week (multiple times during the work day). I don't recall how much it cost to build it back then, but it was soooooo much cheaper than buying any of the Dells I looked at. Yeah, I didn't get a warranty with Dell, but I've had the wrong parts sent by Dell priority multiple times, so I wouldn't count on them for emergencies. The parts we received wrong ironically were for a PE 840 as well. I still have an 840 in a production environment that will be decommissioned right here after tax season is over with, so your spot on with replacing it.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:39 am

mattshwink wrote:Active Directory is actually pretty easy. It sounds like you have a single level forest/domain with one DC. The real issue is going to be Exchange, if you have it. There is no path from Exchange 2003 to 2013. You must go 2007 or 2010 first. Or you could just export all mail into PSTs and the reimport. Not impossible (or even hard) for 10 users, but something to think about. All DLs/security groups would also have to be setup again.

Upgrading the domain is fairly easy. Install the new 2012 server, run adprep from 2012 server, promote to DC, transfer FSMO roles, migrate Exchange (if needed), then decommission the old DC, finally raise domain and forest functional levels.


I believe that for you AD is easy. I'm sure for people that have received training, have experience, have other people to ask questions of directly, AD is easy. That's not me, unfortunately. The list you have there of the steps I would have to take represent a pretty large hill to climb with many hours of researching that I just don't have time for right now. I also worry about what that upgrade path would do to my existing server - it would make falling back (my plan B as it were) a much more difficult task, especially because of the features (that I don't use) in SBS like exchange and sharepoint. I figured out a while ago that I didn't want to be responsible for our email system. We use outlook, but only to connect to web email servers.

Fortunately, for me, I only have 8 client machines to worry about and I do know how to leave and rejoin a domain from the client side. I plan to set up the new server as if it were the only server, get it set how I would like with a domain that doesn't include exchange, WSUS, etc. and then turn off my existing server, join the clients to the new one, and carry on. Maybe that makes me a chicken, but I know my limitations and this is one of them.

Now for something completely different - what do you guys think about running the 2012 Essentials install as a VM inside the free Hyper-V server?
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:06 am

If it works for you, then it is an acceptable upgrade path. Back when I was doing small business consulting, I had a few (but not all) clients who would only accept minimal downtime and no disruption (such as resetting passwords) which meant we had to do AD upgrades not reinstalls. The other benefit to the upgrade scenario is that you can take your time migrating and then cut the cord when you are ready. But it sounds like that isn't much of a concern, especially with 8 users.

But you are correct, once you upgrade your functional levels the only way back is a restore.

As for essentials in Hyper-V....it should work. The only concern I would have would be running your DC in a VM, since it is your only one. With one server, though, not that big of a risk.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:16 am

Yeah - doing some more reading about the Hyper-V server - it sounds like you need a domain for the simplest management which I wouldn't have until I installed the domain controller as a VM - chicken and egg problem there. I think I'll just stick with the one box and continue to experiment with VMs at home. Shoot, if the new server proves itself reliable for a month or so, maybe i'll try the Hyper-V on the old hardware to get my feet wet. I know I can't run VMs under 2012 essentials, but I wonder if I can install the managment tools for Hyper-V as we don't have any W8 clients here.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:12 pm

mattshwink wrote:As for essentials in Hyper-V....it should work. The only concern I would have would be running your DC in a VM, since it is your only one. With one server, though, not that big of a risk.


Shouldn't be a problem at all, there's nothing bad about running a DC in a VM, even if it's your only one.

2012 Essentials, if it follows the path that it's predecessors followed, will have a fairly intuitive wizard to join the new server to your existing domain and migrate settings from it. This would cause you to not have to do a hard cutover at some point, but instead do a coexistence of the two servers for a period of time, which can end up being easier on everyone. Not having to touch the workstations is always nice, too, even if it's only eight. You can probably find a book that would help walk you through the process as well.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:14 pm

Welch wrote:I went with Seagate Constellation drives (500gb) and put them in a RAID 0 for the data drive


Really hope you meant RAID 1 there.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:55 am

absurdity wrote:
Welch wrote:I went with Seagate Constellation drives (500gb) and put them in a RAID 0 for the data drive


Really hope you meant RAID 1 there.


Yes, that is exactly what I meant :P, simple Mirror and backup solution for it for redundancy. Running a AD/Domain in VMs can be done and really isn't that big of a deal if you understand VMs. There are a lot of networking settings people don't pay attention to when your allocating virtual network resources to a VM (especially in VMware). I know of a customer with about 180 client machines running on a VM AD/Domain, but their entire network is virtualized minus the workstations. They have had a few issues with timing out to it which were resolved with network settings being tweaked and the it was the half of the company that was logging via a VPN 400 miles away. With that said, if you virtualize, make sure you have enough resources available from the host machine, otherwise its just like being on a physical box. Even backup solutions like Acronis play nice with virtual machines, restoring a backup as a virtual machine or vice versa.

All of that being fun, if your in a 10 person environment virtualization can be a waste of your time and may not have any real benefits. An AD/DC Forest migration can be done fairly easy in a few hours (assuming no Exchange information). Worst case scenario, if the weekend is over and you have to put the other box back into place everything should sync right back up like nothing ever happened.

The last time I put a new server in for a customer they were moving from Server 2000 to 2008 R2, and it was just so far screwed to try to do any conversion or migration that I just rebuilt each user and moved their data to a new profile on each client machine. It may sound bad, but it really didn't take as long as you would have imagined.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:33 am

So, the new server arrived and I've got to say I'm fairly impressed overall - there are certainly benefits to having custom built motherboards, power supplies, cases, etc. - everything is extremely clean on the installation and it has plenty of expandability possible for drives, cards, etc. without cords being sprawled all over the place. I went back and updated my newegg wishlist now that I've seen the hardware in person and realize that it's an RE4 drive and DDR3-1600 ECC low voltage RAM, etc. and I'm actually $200 ahead as far as I can tell and that's paying myself $0 an hour to build one. At this point in time I'm pretty happy I went this direction instead of building my own. Time will tell how it all plays out.

I've got two Samsung 840 (non-pros) on order that I'm going to run in RAID1 and have the OS and our databases on them and I'll use the 1TB RE4 as a backup and bulk file storage. I have to do some experimenting so see if I will run the SSDs on the included H200 card or the built in Intel SATA ports. It's not as easy a decision as I would hope - some initial googling has revealed the H200 may be dog-slow as a result of lacking a built-in cache and disabling the onboard drive cache. It may be a different story with an SSD vs. a mechanical drive so I'll do some tests and report back when I have the drives in hand. I'm leaning toward just ditching the controller card altogether and just using the built-in Intel controller. The only issue there is Intel has seen fit to differentiate their C202 chipset as entry-level offering by not having any 6gbps ports and only 3gbps. That will limit the SSDs potential for sequential performance, but honestly, I don't think it's an issue overall. So, if the H200 performs well, it will get the nod and I'll get the full 6gbps performance potential of the SSDs, otherwise the 3gbps ports on the mobo will be pressed into service and the H200 will become a fun toy in another machine down the road.

I am planning on just setting up a new domain on the new hardware and leaving the existing and joining the new on all the clients. There is just too much stuff on the existing domain that I won't have/don't want (wsus, exchange, etc) on the new one and I'm not confident I won't be fighting issues down the road if I do a migration. I can also leave my existing server just as it is and if the wheels fall off, I can restore the clients to their most recent backup and be right back where I was. If the server went belly-up I restore that from it's backup, but I would rather risk client machines requiring restore (low impact) than have the server need work before regular business can resume.

Oh, and I downloaded and installed the free Hyper-V 2012 server on a spare machine at home. I can say with confidence that I will be avoiding that as a potential option - it was easy enough to install but I think managing that would be a nightmare for me - I wasn't able to connect to it using the Hyper-v management tool on my W8 machine at home - numerous permission issues. Supposedly it's much better as part of a domain, but I don't have that at home and I wouldn't at work until I could get a Server 2012 install in a VM - catch22, chicken/egg problem. I'll do some more experimenting for my own education, but I know enough to see I don't want to deal with that at work.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:10 pm

Dell happens to have its PowerEdge T110 SB server on sale with a coupon code:

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1755728
http://dealnews.com/Dell-Power-Edge-T11 ... 88293.html

You already bought yours but, who knows, maybe you'll want a second? :P
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:28 pm

frumper15 wrote:I have to do some experimenting so see if I will run the SSDs on the included H200 card or the built in Intel SATA ports. It's not as easy a decision as I would hope - some initial googling has revealed the H200 may be dog-slow as a result of lacking a built-in cache and disabling the onboard drive cache. It may be a different story with an SSD vs. a mechanical drive so I'll do some tests and report back when I have the drives in hand.


http://blog.escarra.org/?p=79

SmartArrays also allow you to force the physical drive write cache on as well. Even with SSDs the write cache can be important. For my testing on an old server, IOps on the database test pattern went from something like 400 to 6500 when write cache was enabled. If your server is on a UPS you should be comfortable with force-enabling the write cache.

You may also be able to force-enable it via the RAID BIOS. I've only played around a bit with a PERC 5/i and don't recall enough of that to tell ya. You can also use the Dell Server Manager (DSM) to mess with the RAID stuff, I think. Maybe installed as part of Dell Server Update Utility (SUU)?

If you haven't run into this discussion yet, it's an interesting read: http://en.community.dell.com/support-fo ... 02239.aspx

You at the latest firmware for everything? Either way, that H200 might just be a pile.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:10 pm

I did see that thread along with a bunch of others about the H200 being slow. It does seem to be pretty much exclusively linked to write-cache being disabled, but I don't see too much actual testing before and after - maybe I'll have to make a contribution to society and post some results from HDTune here. You seems to be able to enable write-cache using Dells tools, LSI's (ODM/OEM for the card), or even a linux live distro, but I don't know if I event want to mess with that if things are good using the built in Intel controller. One less item to make heat and require drivers if you ask me (about the H200 card).

I'm imaging the drive that came with the box right now. I plan on doing a fresh install to the SSDs when they arrive but I wanted to take an image of what should work in case I need to refer back for any reason.

For reference, the Dell Drive (WD RE4 1TB) using my eSATA thermaltake dock I'm getting the following
HD Tune: WDC WD1003FBYX-18Y7B Benchmark

Transfer Rate Minimum : 61.4 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Maximum : 132.7 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Average : 104.1 MB/sec
Access Time : 12.1 ms
Burst Rate : 157.2 MB/sec
CPU Usage : -1.0%

Comparing that to my Samsung F3 1TB (shame these were discontinued) on the same machine:
HD Tune: SAMSUNG HD103SJ Benchmark

Transfer Rate Minimum : 68.1 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Maximum : 144.0 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Average : 114.1 MB/sec
Access Time : 14.1 ms
Burst Rate : 168.1 MB/sec
CPU Usage : -1.0%

So performance of the drive itself appears to be expected for a 7.2k rpm drive on my Z77 integrated Intel controller. While I'm waiting for the drive to image I think I'll drop a spare drive into the server and install W7 for some hardware testing.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:18 pm

Posting from the new hardware. Had a little wrinkle in the plan - apparently Dell decided that despite Intel having a perfectly workable and supported RAID solution in the chipset they have created a PERC S100 controller when you enable RAID mode for the SATA ports. Best I can tell it is some kind of firmware/software solution built on top of Intel's chipset hardware. It took a little searching to find a driver to use during the windows 7 install, but once that was done I was able to complete the install without issue. I installed Microsoft Security Essentials and am in the process of updating drivers, etc. but I couldn't resist a quick test. The RE4 drive hooked up with the same eSATA dock to the eSATA port on the server (that uses one of the Intel ports) with whatever drivers are currently on there - I haven't updated anything yet perform as follows:
HD Tune: ATA WDC WD1003FBYX-1 Benchmark

Transfer Rate Minimum : 46.1 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Maximum : 129.7 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Average : 92.8 MB/sec
Access Time : 13.6 ms
Burst Rate : 75.9 MB/sec
CPU Usage : -1.0%

So performance is down a bit but that may simply be updated drivers. Nothing like what people seem to think of the performance of the H200, but now that I think about it, that has been complaints about write-speed. Hmm... anyone have a suggestion for a free way to measure write performance? I can just do a copy within windows to the drive, but I'll have to get another decent drive hooked up as well because the boot drive I used is pretty pokey and I don't know that it would do anything but bottleneck the whole process.
i7-3770K | Asus P8Z77-V LK | 8GB DDR3-1600 | HD5850 | 128GB 840 Pro | Samsung F3 1TB | U2412M | Define R4 | Seasonic 520W M12II | Win7 Pro x64.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:53 pm

Sort of an aside at this point, but you don't need a domain to remotely admin the Hyper-V 2012 Server. I'm currently using workgroup client -> domain server, but had been administrating it with workgroup client -> workgroup server. There are some pretty good guides out there for getting it configured, but it only took me half an hour or so to get everything right, once I ironed out some account issues.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:28 am

How about this?

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=86757

Someone in the dell thread posted that perc doesn't read from 2 drives in a mirror. My testing with a perc 5/I sure seemed to agree with that and both HP and windows software mirror performed better than a dell raid card with proper battery backed cache.

I'll update the thread with my testing results when I get into work today. I'd be interested to see the tr iometer results on modern SATA drives and interfaces. I don't currently have access to that on a recent server.

Edit: Updated with my results.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:15 am

Hopefully I'll get some time today to review your results, Scrotos - looks like a lot of good info there. I haven't tried Iometer before so i'll see if I can't get it working.

@lonleyppl - I believe that you can administer hyper-v in a workgroup as there are a number of people out there that seem to have had success (yourself included). However, I am not one of them and following two different guides over the course of an hour entering commands and changing settings I have no knowledge and still not getting it to work told me all I needed to know about whether I should use this in my production environment. I haven't given up, but i'll continue my study at home rather than making work a science project.

I'm out of town for a few days so I won't be posting any updates but I plan to get the H200 tested and hopefully have the SSDs in hand when I get back to test their performance as well.
i7-3770K | Asus P8Z77-V LK | 8GB DDR3-1600 | HD5850 | 128GB 840 Pro | Samsung F3 1TB | U2412M | Define R4 | Seasonic 520W M12II | Win7 Pro x64.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:20 pm

I couldn't figure out 2012 Hyper-V either so gave up. VMWare ESXi 4.x is what we use and it was pretty easy to set up and configure. Can only do a max of 4 VMs but you can use some VSphere 4.0 component to do updates remotely, it works well enough.

I'd love to use 2012 Hyper-V but it wasn't intuitive. A company that build its empire on GUI is now all powershell or I don't even know what anymore. It ain't just us, either, there's other people complainin':

"Standalone Hyper-V is too painful to use"
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/For ... a60dfd494/

I'm aware it'd be easier if I didn't go for the free Hyper-V version and had a Win8 or Server 2012 machine that could administer it, but I don't got the budget to buy the full Hyper-V or the desire to deploy Win8 or Server 2012. I plan to revisit it again sometime but meh, VMWare does what we need it to do and it does it for free.

BTW, the iometer stuff is pretty easy once you do it the first time. After that it's literally just click on the green flag and wait and that's it.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:50 pm

Scrotos wrote:It ain't just us, either, there's other people complainin':

"Standalone Hyper-V is too painful to use"
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/For ... a60dfd494/


No, people complaining on the Internet? :P
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:27 pm

I highly recommend http://blogs.technet.com/b/jhoward/archive/2008/11/14/configure-hyper-v-remote-management-in-seconds.aspx when you're working on it at home. I went through and did all the necessary steps by hand once, and then just used this the second time, and it was much faster and has much better troubleshooting capabilities.

Honestly, after going through the guide and doing it manually, the thing that hung me up the most was what I was supposed to connect to with Hyper-V manager. I could manage the server through Powershell and Server Manager, but couldn't connect through Hyper-V manager. As it turns out, the issue was that I needed to connect to the FQDN and not the IP address. I'm not really sure why it had issues, but it now works.
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Re: New Server for Small Business

Postposted on Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:27 pm

I'll give 'er a shot on my next go-around with Hyper-V, thanks. I tried using one or two utilities like this but didn't have any luck. This also looks interesting: http://blogs.technet.com/b/keithmayer/a ... -tool.aspx

Does Win7 RSAT work with Hyper-V 2012? Or version 3.0, whatever, the free one based on 2012 server core? I remember there being complaints about that.

Edit: I tried http://vtutilities.com/ which didn't work at the time and I guess the previous version of Core Configurator which, again, didn't work at the time: http://coreconfig.codeplex.com/ And yeah, I did look up various threads of people having the same issues as I did in hopes that it would have a simple solution for things.
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