small business server

Discussion in 'Business & Enterprise Computing' started by lenjet, Apr 2, 2018.

  1. waltermitty

    waltermitty Member

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    every CEO I know personally inspects IT providers handiwork. This is a case of a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Servers are cattle not pets, you're not a guinea pig for using other peoples servers (TM), you're on the other end of the adoption curve. It's all battle tested, let someone else worry about it.
     
  2. Zedd02

    Zedd02 Member

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    That isn't entirely true and isn't without it's own problems. If, as you say, you've estimated your growth over the next 6 months that means you're buying hardware with capacity you may never need in the hopes that you make it to the breaking point of the equation. Which is exactly what you are against in terms of using the cloud.

    What Office 365 plans are you on? Cause OneDrive is 1TB if you're on the Office 365 Business Premium or above tiers. Which means your 17GB free tier is a very roundabout solution to a solved problem. Also, I'm not 100% sure what you plan to use this server for. Server 2016 for user identification? Use Azure AD. Server 2016 for file sharing? Use OneDrive.

    Please describe what you want to use this server for.

    No. You've currently got a lot of belligerent people telling you something you don't want to hear, and an answer you want. The start of this thread is the nightmare of every IT person in the B&EC forums. You've come in with a half-developed idea, you already have a plan, and you don't seem to be asking any questions or defining your problem more; you seem wholly intent on defending your ideas from attack.

    The problem here is that we're attacking your solution because it's a solution to a problem you probably aren't experiencing. The more tidbits we get out of you, the more confused you appear to be. You're a business, WITH OFFICE 365, why are you using Google Drive free? You want a server, it seems like it has to be powerful, but you're intending to palm it to someone else straight away. Why are you doing it? I bring up a theoretical about an SSD dying, you ask if the same theory would apply if it were a HDD (it would indeed) and you describe being able to continue working if the internet went offline. Unless you need your server, which isn't apparent yet, all the services you need are either sync based (OneDrive works fine offlne), available from a tethered phone (mobilised workforce don't forget), tied to a web service (most things are these days) or an unnecessary service for a short outage. You're looking Melbourne CBD. The chances of a cable being hit by anything (especially the TGP cable that has just been set up) is strikingly small, and you won't be the biggest fish affected by the problem.

    Being used to on-premise isn't your problem any more. If you want a solution, give the problem to someone who's experienced, get their feedback and then take it to the person you'll be interacting with on a daily basis. You aren't an IT guy any more, you either have a business to manage, or indeed an IT support contract to manage. Either one doesn't let you play with the hardware. Explain to us what your use cases are, what your intentions are and what services, if any, require you to have a server. Or, build your token ring RAID0 and come back to us when it fails. We'll be fascinated to hear about it. And then we'll have this discussion again.
     
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  3. OP
    OP
    lenjet

    lenjet Member

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    yeah that is what FAD pointed out and it's not a bad idea I have had a look at the Dell DFO stuff
     
  4. taldoren

    taldoren Member

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    Quick tip - any decent Solution provider will run away, glad to have dodged a bullet.
    Re-read some advice, its all be gained the hard way, and btw- none of the above is " stars aligning armageddon scenarios" for that stuff you need to know the handshake and show the early grey/white/bald hair.
     
  5. Zedd02

    Zedd02 Member

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    Just because we do like to be helpful, here is a useful tool for you to have:

    https://www.exactal.com/en/costx/products/costx-cloud/

    Why bother with an on-premise solution, THEY SUPPORT THE CLOUD. They even have documentation on how to deploy it to AWS or Azure, and they appear to basically walk you through the whole process.
     
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  6. OP
    OP
    lenjet

    lenjet Member

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    I am well aware what my primary application provider can provide... And I will say it again this was announced on the 28th of Feb... in existence for a whole month, I am not going to be a guinea pig / early adopter... I am more than happy to let someone else iron out all the bugs and discover performance issues and then jump on board version 2 or 3 once they have sorted out all the issues... not version 1 (or 6.7 in this case). In fact in the techweb where all their documentation is stored, only the "General Overview" is available for download despite the v6.7 release notes suggesting there would be an "Amazon AppStream 2.0" and "Citrix XenApp Essentials on Azure" set of documentation available as well. I note the release notes are from the 18th of January... so yep "THEY SUPPORT THE CLOUD" they just haven't quite documented how do it yet... :thumbup:
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
  7. ir0nhide

    ir0nhide Member

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    Just watched this video (ugh), it seems like exactal bit the bullet and said "yeah our $enterpriseshitware$ runs OK in AWS/Azure so we won't be dicks about saying it's not supported there any more". Hardly groundbreaking stuff.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    lenjet

    lenjet Member

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    I am working on estimating my growth long term. Next 6 months is mapped but I was working on hardware that will fail before I outgrow it... and I am fine with that. What I am against in the cloud is the certainty over costs. There is no direct link between cloud requirements and my projects so month to month there is no surety over on going costs. Cashflow is king with business and if I have these spiking costs due to ever increasing storage requirements and ever fluctuating computing requirements then I have no surety on monthly costs. The on site version is a capital outlay and then monthly maintenance charges the risk is adverse problems yes but at least you can budget and manage cashflow with a better level of accuracy.

    Business Essentials. It has OneDrive 1TB included. I was already using Google Drive for personal storage and the business evolved from a soft start... eg: something on the side that grew and grew.

    Server usage would be storage, server / client application like the estimating program (there may be others we need along the way that work under this structure), user ID... are there other things? yes maybe but nothing else comes to mind.

    Day to day people will access office docs (work, excel, project), PDF's, CAD/BIM models (BIM rvt files can be up to 2gb in size), access to collaborative inline project systems like Aconex etc, email and then usage of our in house specialist applications like CostX and possibly others.. eg: mudhsark and planswift etc. There are some Knowledge / Document Management Systems I am looking at for future implementation to collate benchmark data in a more accessible fashion. Specifically I am liking what I have seen of LogicalDoc

    I want people to have more remote accessibility so everyone has laptops (surface books are current roll out) and iphone for tethering. So sync services that save 200gb locally are not feasible. Idea is to have everything noted above located on server at HQ and all remote callers would VPN into the server to access what they need. Something like LogicalDoc would have it's own web interface.

    So that's pretty much the use case.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    lenjet

    lenjet Member

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    hardly something I am willing to hitch my wagon too...
     
  10. LostBenji

    LostBenji Member

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    So, after reading the thread as well as your OP, here is my 2 cents, not here to offend, just be brutally honest, take it or leave it.

    I am not here to do your homework or help you win over the client. You should already know the answers to the questions you have asked long before bringing it to a public forum let alone telling a client that you can do it.....
    The answer is very simple, No, not the cloud despite the arguments above that hold some weight but also a lot of traps. Not getting into he arguments for Cloud Vs Local machines.

    Dell R720, 8 drives, 4x SSD's, 4x 2-4TB Spinners. The rest, nah, your homework, not mine.

    So what happens when the OP gets caught with the plentiful supply of cheap RAID cards on the market that hobble performance when they don't see genuine drives?
     
  11. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    eh - the point is that it doesn't matter where you run your IaaS. There is nothing fundamentally different between AWS/Azure/On-prem when it comes to IaaS - save that AWS/Azure isn't scrimping on hardware buying from half a dozen different vendors on pcpartpicker.
     
  12. TehCamel

    TehCamel Member

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    As an external IT guy, there's no way I'd support a custom whitebox you built yourself, with any kind of service guarantee.
    I'd also strongly advise you against it for warranty and vendor support reasons
    Then charge through the roof if you continued to push to have your way. assuming I even chose to pick it up.


    Dell. Or HP. 4 hour, on site warranty with Prosupport.

    You mention external IT support guys. Did you speak to them? Did they quote you on this hardware?

    Does your dell quote include windows 2016, with appropriate CPU and CAL licencing? because that'd eat up a huge chunk of your change.

    2016, licence a minimum of 16 cores, in your part picker you have 16 cores, so
    from scorptec, just to pick a quick vendor, 16 core, server 2016 OEM with no CALs is $1095.
    If you're self building, do you understand the requirements for using OEM?
    Not sure how many staff you're talking about, but OEM-5pack-CAL at PCLAN is $266
    And before you think about not licencing it properly, you've got Office 365, which means microsoft have the right to tell you to audit your entire organisation at any time and then make you true-up.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
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  13. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    I'd support it. But every time I touch it, it would be T&M and completely outside of our Managed Services agreement.

    If I can't ring Dell/Hp/Lenovo/whatever and have to go chase down people in Chinatown, I'm just going to charge you $120-250/hr (depending on resource) for every waking second i'm doing it.
     
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  14. TehCamel

    TehCamel Member

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    and if you want to sync Azure AD (by the way, since you already have a cloud directory, you basically need to export that then re-import it locally and sync. you can't do a "backwards" sync with O365/AAD.)
    then you also probably need to buy TWO Sets of Server Standard licences (or 1x Enterprise) because you need to run at a minimum, 1xAD, 1xADFS or Dirsync, plus your LOB server (and standard allows you to run a maximum of 2 Operating system Environments - most people do this "host" plus 2 guests, byt you can't use host for anything other than HyperV.)
    I guess you could put ESXI on it instead, or Xen..

    business grade solution (EoC or Fibre or TPG fibre) - ime, these rarely go down in the melbourne CBD.
    and if you really want to have redundancy for that, it's acheivable (dependent on your level of separation required, totally separate RSP, totally separate carrier, totally separate exchange)

    I have a client with a 100M telstra Fibre and a 50M fixed wireless provider.
    It's almost completely seamless if the fibre drops out. (which, it has done, once, for about 10 minutes)
    They get calls dropped (because it's a SIP trunk, so they get lost, obviously)
    but apart from that, the staff don't even know it happens.

    I'm sure it fails over safely and correctly because we setup custom routing the night before to push all the SIP traffic over the secondary link
    Then in the middle of the day, we just pulled the primary feed. Like literally pulled it out and waited to hear who screamed.

    A guy lost his SSH connection. that's all we heard in an office of 150+ people.

    you gotta decide if you're playing micro budget games (in which case, this is possibly the wrong place to ask your questions) or you're prepared to pay to play at the level you want to play at.

    The reality is, your whitebox might be 100% reliable for 100% of the time. You might be fine. You might save your 8K.
    But if your server goes down for 8 hours, and you've got 5 guys sitting around twiddling their thumbs, what does that cost you? If you need to send your external consultant to buy another consumer grade SSD, and nothing is in stock, and you need to wait 2 days for it to be shipped from Ringwood, or sydney, or whereever, that's a whole load more than 8K there.

    Oh, and another thing? "Most of the parts are server grade"
    That's not ECC RAM my good friend.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
  15. taldoren

    taldoren Member

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    $120/hr to support a onsite semi/full-whitebox.. nope would pass on that one everyday. $250 would be tempting but, on balance would prob still walk away. Reason being is then having to deal with someone in said company thinking whiteboxes are fine. Pretty certain I am safe that most experienced solution providers here know what I mean and have just had their blood pressure raise a few notches thinking on some past experiences with said individuals. Most times end up walking away from them one way or another.
     
  16. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    This is in addition to a typical managed services contract...
     
  17. ir0nhide

    ir0nhide Member

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    You DO realise there's not much difference between running a program on Windows server locally and in Azure, right?
     
  18. TehCamel

    TehCamel Member

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    Mitch?

    one other thing. fix your wordpress site.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
  19. Gonadman2

    Gonadman2 Member

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    OP, I see where you're coming from. Contrary to the opinions on here we've been running the exact IT model that you are proposing, and we're coming up to our tenth year of operations. We're an engineering services company in Perth, and we (I) have selected and installed 95% of our IT gear (servers/networking gear) as well as day to day maintenance of said gear. My manager and I are currently going through the replacement of a legacy SBS08 server to server 2016 and exchange 2016. Note that we have zero IT training apart from personal experience and Google. We have an off-site IT service provider that looks after the other 5% of issues when we don't have the time or expertise to correct.

    FWIW our gear looks something like this:

    An old Dell Poweredge server (has been running since conception, used for non essential storage and dev purposes)
    Altech Kronos whitebox server, with a bunch of 3.5" Hitachi drives (around 6-7 years old)
    HP DL380 G6 server with a bunch of 3.5" WD Reds (5 years old)
    NetGear ReadyNAS for local backups.

    I think we've replaced one drive in the Kronos box and a RAID card in the HP. Otherwise it's been steady sailing.

    Everything production runs on VM's so if we have any issues we can spin up a VM on a different box if repairing something is going to be delayed. The only time we've had drama's was the proxy setup that our IT provider specced and installed, nothing short of painful and didn't suit our requirements.

    Point is, this model works and our IT budget is incredibly minimal considering the performance and uptime that we have attained. Obviously this is not without risks but has paid off handsomely in our case. YMMV and all that.

    I should add, of course people on this forum are going to be upset that you are attempting to go down this road - some of these guys do, or have worked in the industry and you are effectively undermining their expertise through your DIY approach.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
  20. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    So I've seen it both ways.

    And here is the thing. The second your box dies - all of a sudden you have a lot of very expensive salaried people with dicks in hand and no real work to do. I've also seen that on top of these people having to be paid to hold said dicks in hand, people have lost contracts because their clients don't care about "IT issues" - which have made the lost money in salary look like peanuts. People are arguing over 5k here, 10k there - when the flip side of not having solid DR/BCP is that it has a pretty good swing at killing their business - if not succeeding at it.

    And yes, I've seen it.

    I personally don't give a fuck what you do - but I write risk assessments as a massive part of my job, and I can't name a board that I could put either of your solutions in front of and see them sign off on it.

    Do you people not get any insurance at all?
     

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