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Looking to upgrade a small office from current Standalone SBS 2003 to something a little more updated. Basically, I'm thinking of getting a Dell server which can support a small VMware environment, so they can consolidate two - three of their lightly loaded servers.. Would appreciate any suggestions..

  • Which model of Dell (Rack mountable) to recommend. Best Value for the cost.
  • Which Virtual machine environment to use.
  • Any other insights? Should they be upgraded from 2003 to SBS 2008?


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What's on these "two - three lightly loaded servers"? – gravyface Sep 22 '10 at 12:46
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Here's what I'd buy (sorry for the odd formatting, it's a C'n'P job from their site.

SmartValue! DELL™ PowerEdge™ R410 (SV3R410)

  • Base: PowerEdge R410 Chassis for Up to 4x 3.5" Cabled HDDs, LED Diagnostics, Intel 5600 Series Support 396012 1 [210-31960] 1
  • Processor: Intel Xeon E5620, 4C, 2.40Ghz, 12M Cache, 5.86GT/s, 80W TDP, Turbo, HT, Memory runs at 1066MHz Max 391420 1 [213-11734] 146
  • Memory: 12GB Memory for 1 CPU, DDR3, 1333Mhz (3x4GB Dual Ranked RDIMMs) 259814 1 [370-15332] 3
  • Extended Service: 3Yr Basic Warranty - NBD Included - No Upgrade Selected 259931 1 [710-16896] 30
  • Raid Connectivity: C21 Cabled - RAID 1 with PERC S300, 2 SAS/SATA Cabled HDDs 356808 1 [780-12017] 1009
  • 2 x Hard Drive - Multiquantity: 600GB, SAS 6Gbps, 3.5-in, 10K RPM Hard Drive (Cabled) 364500 2 [400-19708] 1209
  • Power Supply: Power Supply, Redundant, 500W 257941 1 [450-13386] 1015
  • Powercord: 2x Rack Power Distribution Unit Power Cord 195044 1 [450-11421] 207
  • Server Management Cards: iDRAC6 Embedded BMC 256923 1 [565-10165] 1314
  • Network Cards Multi-quantity: Intel® Gigabit ET Dual Port Server Adapter, Cu, PCIe-4 295325 1 [540-10689] 1230
  • Front Bezel: 1U Rack Bezel 257406 1 [350-10513] 669
  • Rack Mounting Rails: Sliding Ready Rails with Cable Management Arm 257399 1 [770-10942] 88
  • Anti Theft Device & Asset Tagging: Asset Tag - Order Details (system type, barcode, Dell Order #, customer PO, shipping date) 300877 1 [293-10020][888-10014] 67
  • Base warranty: 3Yr Basic Warranty - Next Business Day - Minimum Warranty 368840 1 [709-10414][709-10563] 29

My reasoning is this - it's a dual socket machine with a single socket full so that you can easily upgrade in the future. I've chosen the cheapest quad-core WITH hyperthreading CPU available, added 3 x 4GB of memory (you could buy this cheaper elsewhere), mirrored SAS disks (I wouldn't trust any SATA disk to run 24/365 myself), a couple of extra 1Gb NICs, rails with cable arms, redundant PSU and a quite useful asset tag.

On this I'd run the free version of VMWare's ESXi 4.1 - as you only have a single ESX server you wouldn't really benefit from the paid version just yet.

I'm no SBS expert but if it's not too expensive to upgrade then I'd imagine it'd be worthwhile.

Good luck.

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Make sure you have some kind of NAS or other storage device to save backups to. VMWare systems are great for consolidation AND single points of failure! – Bart Silverstrim Sep 22 '10 at 14:51
that's quite the recommendation with very little known about the vague requirements mentioned so far as "lightly loaded." – Kilo Sep 22 '10 at 15:26
@user7918 - let me explain. I'd only recommend new kit, I know how to spec up ESXi servers very well, he doesn't need shared storage, he specified Dell and I'd always specify a box that can be very easily upgraded as buying a second CPU adding memory is cheap and most importantly quick. Yes his VMs might be light but I didn't feel comfortable recommending anything lower end without knowledge of his budget and other constraints - plus he's accepted it so must be happy enough. – Chopper3 Sep 24 '10 at 13:27

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