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Old 04-21-2009, 11:58 AM   #1
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Default Anyone else think this is overkill?

Ok, so my boss tells me today to contact Dell to have them build a new server for his company. We have about 25 employee's, and our business is based upon office supplies, and stupid little things like that. I am the IT manager here, and I built our website and manage it. This guy has money to burn obviously, and wanted the best he could get.

Anyways, here are the specs of the server he wants to buy.

Dell Poweredge 2900 III

Processor---Intel Xeon Quad X5470, 2X6MB Cache @3.33Ghz, 1.3Ghz FSB
Additional Quad Xeon X5470

48GB 12X4GB 667Mhz Dual Ranked DIMMS
Windows Server 2003 X64(I prefer Red Hat)
Tower Chassis Orientation
Primary controller---PERC 6/i Integrated
Hard drive config, SAS/SATA in Raid 0, PERC 6/i/SAS6iR
Eight 500GB 7200 SATA's in hot plugs
MS SQL Server 2005 Standard( I prefer MySQL...but its his money)
Redundant power with y-cord
Dell remote access card
Intel Pro 1000VT Quad Port NIC
Emulex LPE 11002 Dual Channel 4Gb, Optional, Host Bus Adapter, PCIe
Netgear GS108 8-Port Switch
DVD-RW Sata
1.44 internal floppy
Wireless keyboard and mouse
SonicWALL Total Secure 25 series TZ 180 Wireless security
USB to PS2 adapter for KVM
Dual Caster wheels
Remote advisory Services for Virtualization for 1 year
3 year Pro Support for IT pros
3 year data destruction
Keep the hard drive plan
Symantec Backup Exec 12.5
Powervault LTO-4 120 Half Height tape backup 800GB/1.6TB
20 pack of tape media
Dell 2200VA UPS 120v
Dell 22inch HD Widescreen monitor


This monster, with the added support from Dell, onsite crap, and all the bells and whistles is costing this man 29,144 bucks!!!!!!! I told him I would build him a great server for all of our needs for less than 5,000 but he is determined to spend a butt load of cash on something that is overkill for this company. Now, I am excited to play with it when it arrives at the end of the month, but sheesh...for the work I do, and what this companies needs are, this server is a bit overkill.

So anyone think I should advise him of another choice? He hates Linux(jerk) and wants to stick with Win Server 2003 which we are currently using.
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Old 04-21-2009, 03:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: Anyone else think this is overkill?

Yowsa!
Guess you can say your boss is trying to boost the economy by spending that kind of money. Holy Smokes!! It appears to me that the money is really in all those hard drives (which you could probably buy online elsewhere and save a bundle - memory, too), Powervault LTO Tape, software and Tech Support. Dell really gets you with all the additional stuff. Warranty plays into this, and perhaps your boss is wanting it all covered under one "account", so he's willing to pay top dollar to get that.

What exactly is this server's purpose? Are you planning to host E-Commerce selling office supplies? Terminal Services for remote access? What? I get the desire for Windows software. No knock on you for having Linux skills (and I manage various Linux/Open source software as well), but if immediate tech support is needed, you're going to find you're lacking when it comes to Linux/Open source. Especially when it comes to compatiblity issues with end user Windows PC's.

One nice thing about a server this powerful is the ability to run virtual servers. You'll be able to keep things separate as individual guest servers ... i.e. file server, app servers, etc.

If you can describe a little more of the server's purpose, we might be able to better gauge if this machine is indeed overkill or not.
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Old 04-21-2009, 04:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: Anyone else think this is overkill?

Yeah I didnt go into detail did I LOL.

We run an e-commerce website, and the use for the server is for the 16 computers on the network. We use a program called Mail Order Manager, or M.O.M., and the new version that came out is more intense on computer power so this new server is to replace the current one we have. We are also buying 16 more computers to replace the 3 year old ones we have. He ordered celeron Dells three years ago, and I got him to order Core 2 Duo's to speed things up. Also, the server hosts most of our internal programs like our shipping software, M.O.M., Quicken Books, etc.

He has an established credit line with Dell so thats why he went this route. I built our website in php for e-commerce use, and while I wish we hosted the site, well, he wouldnt allow it for some reason...

I was thinking of the virtual server idea as well, I mean this sucker will do great for its purpose, but for what the current one does, this one will do alot faster and I suppose thats why he is going this route.
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Old 04-21-2009, 05:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: Anyone else think this is overkill?

I definitely would look into utilizing virtual servers for each of your various programs ... M.O.M., shipping software, Quicken even. That way you can keep each thing clean and not have to worry about troubleshooting one thing without messing up another program on the same server. Especially when you are dealing with SQL. That can get messy at times. Plus, not only can you back up all the data separately with Backup Exec, but also each virtual machine. You'll have to create a script to shutdown each virtual server prior to being backed up, then turned back on when back up is complete. Think of how much faster you can recover if all you have to do is copy over the VM from your tape backup to a new location and turn on ... pretty cool.

One thing that works in your favor is that you will be able to create a test virtual server to install your new M.O.M. program before rolling it out, while at the same time have the current server with M.O.M. available ... so no extended downtime. And you can test out your Linux disto servers as well, ensuring compatiblity before rolling out. Basically, you can create a virtual test environment. Your boss has inadvertantly saved himself some money in the long run giving you a chance to work out kinks/issues to minimize downtime before rolling out new software. And we all know ... downtime = money lost.

I can understand having your E-Commerce site hosted elsewhere ... especially if you're expecting high capacity traffic. You dont want to deal with bandwidth issues, most hosting companies are right on backbones ... wouldn't imagine your company is on one. I could be wrong though. Plus the security issues. Your boss probably wants to insure himself from responsibility of confidential transactions, especially private information and credit cards.

It sounds like you have a lot of data that needs to be backed up as well. Are you planning to breakup the 8 500 gb drives into some form of RAID i.e. pairing up drives as 4 drives mirrored?

You might be able to convince your boss though to bring email in-house, if it isn't already. Run an email server (virtual) ... your machine certainly can handle it.

Take a look at Microsoft Virtual Server and another program called VirtualBox. VMWare is decent, but they've kind of gotten away from their roots a little and started adding bloat to their product.

Honestly, it's nice to see an owner of a small-to-medium company willing to spend money on IT. The companies I handle IT for ... it's like pulling teeth to get them to let go of their dinosaur computers, let alone buy new servers. So be happy your owner is so willing ... don't screw it up.
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:42 AM   #5
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Default Re: Anyone else think this is overkill?

You can definatley read my mind! I was thinking of setting up a virtual test server to make sure everything is a go. Our goal is to be fully up and running on the new system by the end of week one in May. So, I do have a LOT of work since I am the only one who maintains the entire network, and system.

Our e-mail is not run in home, although I am ok with that only because I am so used to the Plesk system, that moving it from there would only cause more work, not that thats bad, but if it aint broke, dont fix it!

THats an awesome idea for the individual virtual servers and their own backups. I am going to totally do that once everything arrives this month, as for a script to do so, thats not too hard to do

We have 16 computers to be networked, and we even ordered new networking switch boxes, however those are being installed by Dell because I am not going to deal with TONS of ethernet cables and a fiber line going through the ceiling, and all over the business LOL. I will look into MS Virtual, I have used it before, but I dont have much hours vested into it, so if we do bring it in, I will have to tinker around until I am fully into it

My boss has so much money, he doesnt know what to do with it. He owns this building, and is remodeling it, plus repaving the parking lot! I am happy to see him help out the economy that way Now as for a much deserved raise...a little out of question

The last company I worked for in IT was terrible. Very old, outdated machines. It would take me over 45 minutes to run simple Access queries and macros. At my job here, the process even on our P4's is only about 15 minutes, and I am excited to see how fast they are with the new system Especially when I process our invoices and update pricing...that takes ages...
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Old 04-23-2009, 01:13 AM   #6
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Default Re: Anyone else think this is overkill?

Let me know if you run into any problems with Virtual Server or even Backup Exec. I'm actually certified by Symantec for Backup Exec. I'm a nerd.
Keep in mind that Virtual Server can be hosted on a 64 bit, but guest OS are 32 bit. VirtualBox can host 64 bit guest OS though ... so you might prefer that over MS Virtual Server.
We're here to help if we can. Good luck!
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Old 04-23-2009, 10:19 AM   #7
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Default Re: Anyone else think this is overkill?

Awesome! I will keep you in mind! Thanks alot!!!!!
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