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MasterOne

2014-06-30 06:20 »

I'm looking for a server to run Windows Server 2012 that will be used by about 12-15 users that are doing non-CPU utilizing tasks like saving files, and saving text in a program that uses MS SQL as its database. Their is planned expansion in the future, so the amount of users could be doubled. Can somebody recommend something? A pedestal case would work better than a rackmount in this case, not that a rackmount is out of the question. What's the best option; building one, getting a barebones server, or one that's already assembled? Thanks!

MasterOne

2014-06-30 11:48 »

I forgot to mention that I want to do RAID 5 or RAID 10. Either a small NAS will do or a server where the drives are held by the chassis. I'm not sure which is the right route.

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2014-06-30 14:17 »

Wow, this is right up my alleyright up my alley, let me grab some tea and ponder a little and I will help you out! :smile:

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2014-06-30 14:19 »

By the way, I need to know your budget for the project in USD.

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2014-06-30 15:36 »

Two more question,

1. Does the server have to be on premise or do you want it hosted at a third party colocation?
2. If it must be on premise for cost reasons, if cost doesn't matter, can it be colocated at a third party?

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2014-06-30 15:40 »

Topic moved to "Hardware and engineering" from "The lounge".

MasterOne

2014-06-30 19:39 »

It should be on premise so if their internet goes down, they still have access to the software they use. And as far as cost, there is no budget.

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2014-07-01 00:26 »

Alright, so first of all, I assume that you want Windows Server 2012 R2. I mean, it's good to get the latest version when buying a server.

I personally used to build my own servers and PCs but I recently have seen that buying and building doesn't make that much of a difference (speaking about business now). For example, I bought a HP-PC for a dentist customer of mine and it is possible to buy a 3 year, next business day warranty for that thing.

Anything happens to it, you just call HP, they come fix it and go! Costed only like $150 extra! I was so thankful about this about some weeks ago. Two years down the road, the PC just died. Didn't even start! I called HP, no hassle, no nothing.

They sent a technician, he got new CPU, moderboard, RAM, PSU, everything and fixed the thing! I didn't have to reinstall etc. Actually, I didn't have to be on the premise!

It was excellent!

As for the operating system, I would put a Microsoft Hyper-V (it's a barebone virtualization, free of cost) on that thing FIRST and THEN install Windows Server 2012 R2 inside that. Because with virtualized server, you can take snapshots (checkpoints) which will save your ass many times I assue you

For each user connecting to the operating system, you will need to buy a CAL (Client Access License).

If you want to use MS SQL server, you need to buy a license for that too. Depending on the size of the business, the price can be high or low to the customer. Everything is relative I suppose.

"We" in here, we run Windows Server 2012 R2... and use MS SQL but we use the free version. It has some limitations but it's free to use, even for business so depends on the workload I guess.

Athough, with Internet lines so stable these days (at least in Europe), I would personally just use a virtualized server, for example from the place we rent our servers: http://www.tilaa.com. Works flawlessly. Of course, it depends on the type of business and how critical it is for them to not be able to connect to server in case the line is down a few minutes or hours in a year.

But regarding hardware, I 100% definitely do not recommend you to build your own. Get a HP or DELL but make sure you get the next business day, on premise warranty, which isn't all that expensive at all. You'll be able to sleep well at night.

You can connect Hyper-V to cheap NAS/SAN or you can also have two or three drives inside the same server, running raid. Although, a backup outside of the server is good on a NAS or another server some place.

Let me know if you need further assistance. I'm unsure if you need tips about CPU / RAM etc. or if you got any questions about Windows Server / Hyper-V, I have been using them a good while now, Hyper-V for years so I will try to help.

MasterOne

2014-07-01 17:01 »

So would I Install Windows Server 2012 R2, then activate Hyper-V, then install Windows Server on top of that? Also, is the management console for Hyper-V free?

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2014-07-01 17:41 »

No, you install Hyper-V on it first. Then create a virtual machine inside that Hyper-V server which you installed on the machine... and inside that virtual machine, you install your Windows Server 2012 R2.

Hyper-V.png
Hyper-V.png (17.24 KiB) Viewed 3851 times

As far I know, Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 is FREE to use. It's just a barebone hypervisor:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/eval ... 05299.aspx
(http://technet.microsoft.com/library/hh833684.aspx)
Remember that R2 is the latest version. They always do that.
They got like version 1 "2012" and version 2 "2012 R2" etc.

You can download a trial Windows Server 2012 R2 from here:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/eval ... 05286.aspx
and install it inside the Hyper-V Server 2012 R2.

The Hyper-V management tools are free. You can install it in a Windows 7 or 8.x machine and connect to your Hyper-V from there. It can be done from the Control Panel:

hyper-v management tools.png
hyper-v management tools.png (46.96 KiB) Viewed 3851 times

You are building a server but if you want to use a "regular" PC, make sure it has an Intel CPU (because AMD sucks) and that it has virtualization technology enabled on the CPU. Some low end Intel CPUs do not have hardware virtualization functions in them. "VT-d" and such.

I run Hyper-V locally too on my home machine. My machine has an "Intel i7 3820, 3.6GHz" and 32GB RAM. Hyper-V and Windows Server 2012 R2 are very lean. For example, our servers for the Web sites have only 3GB RAM. Of course, if you build a new server, I recommend to have at least 16 GB RAM. RAM is dirt cheap now anyway, my next PC will probably have 64GB RAM. (Yeah, shame on me. :oops:)

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