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Other then just by knowing from experience, I'm sure that most of us have forgotten a thing or two when quoting, building, installing and servicing new servers for clients who have never had a server, or are just replacing and putting in a proper server.

What type of specific things do you check for when building one? I have a short list, but as things come up, I'm constantly adding to it... Examples include:

  • Network Addresses (external IPs, internal numbering scheme, DHCP ranges, etc)
  • Mail server and settings
  • If using Active Directory, are all PCs some sort of Professional level (i.e. Windows 7 Pro/Enterprise/Ultimate?)
  • Backup system in place (for data, power, client machine, etc)
  • List of all software required for re-installs (on server or client machines)
  • List of all software/hardware licenses including key codes
  • List of all users who need access (optionally: a password for each, or a generic everyone has that they then change)

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  1. Power requirements (typical Intel 2 x 13A or "big stuff", i.e.: 16A / 32A)?
  2. Rack space
  3. Sufficient cooling available
  4. Sufficient switch ports (Ethernet and FC/AL, if applicable)
  5. Server brand, model and spec (spindle count, core count and speed, bus speed, NIC bandwidth)
  6. Connection into the datacentre (1Gbps Ethernet, 10Gbps, ... )
  7. SAN connectivity?
  8. Operating system (Windows, Linux, AIX, Etc) and level.
  9. Level of security required (external firewall, host [software] firewall, SSL gateways, virus checking, Etc).
  10. Any legislative requirements (SoX, PCI DSS, HIPAA, Etc)
  11. Performance requirements (online access, overnight batch, data mining...)
  12. Enterprise management (HP SIM, Oracle Grid, Tivoli, Etc)
  13. Any database install? (Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, Progress, Etc).
  14. Web Server install? (Apache Web Server, IIS, Etc)
  15. Any other middle-ware? (Tomcat, Etc)?
  16. Required versions for everything
  17. Any vendor limitations on active-patching (MS WSUS, Redhat Satellite server, Etc)?
  18. Any impact on core systems (DNS, DHCP, Active Directory, Etc)?
  19. Third party support arrangements (VPN access, Etc)
  20. Hardware and software maintenance
  21. Licencing costs (and models, e.g.: core count, socket count, user count, Etc)
  22. Vendor Support for virtual installations (VMware, Hyper-V, Etc)
  23. Given time, I could keep on jabbering. Yada yada
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  • Excellent answer! I just wish this didn't get closed so others could provide input too Commented Sep 4, 2012 at 20:33
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    While on the face of it this appears to be a pretty good list, when it comes time to actually build and implement a server you will find there is almost no substance to it. This is one of the reasons we don't allow such questions. To be of any value at all lists must be specific to the task involved. Commented Sep 4, 2012 at 21:46
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Other than the ones you've mentioned, I'd include asking:

How many users need access at the same time? What's their estimate on the number of users in the next six months to a year?

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