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The best way to play with Windows Server 2008?


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#1 chromebuster

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 04:39 PM

Hey people,
I just have a quick question. As i've described in another post that my hope one day is to have a Standard edition Server for my ASP.net web site, and since it's so small, also some features on my home network (whatever that may be in the future), but I need some advice on experimentation. I have at home an aging Dell dimension E510 desktop, which according to some friends of mine, is strong enough for virtualization. it has a Pentium D20 duel core processor, 2 GB of ram, with 230 left on the hard drive. Is it possible to have the windows 7 host computer host a virtual installation of Server 2008? And I also need advice on software. Since I can get Server 2008 for free through dreamspark, which software do you recommend for virtualization? I was looking into either Hyper-V 2008 server only to find out that it can't be installed on a windows 7 host machine, or into maybe Virtual Box from Oracle. Recommendations? I don't want to go installing Server 2008 on my dell Dimension E510 (though I know it does surprisingly support it), simply due to two facts. I'm not ready to play with Eset's minds and switch out my licenses home for corporate since I already nearly got them confused, and two since I have heard of issues with the keys that dreamspark offers for server 2008 either not activating or doing something stupid. Well ... actually, there are three. The other is because I also have screen reader access to worry about, and if something goes screwy, and since i'm the only one in my household who has a lot of knowledge in computers, what do I do if I can't fix it, and oops! There goes my workstation having been faithful to me for the past four years! Anything you can tell me about this would be awesome since i've discovered I'm terribly good at breaking things LOL. Thanks a lot.

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#2 ice2921

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 08:02 AM

So you only have one computer (Dell E510) running windows XP or Vista?

#3 chromebuster

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 10:17 PM

No, actually I have two computers, one is my dell Dimension E510, and the other is my newly restored Dell inspiron 1525, but I'm pretty sure that one could support a duel boot configuration. That might be easier than virtualizing it, wouldn't it? What do you think? Any further advice or input is appreciated. Thanks. and both my computers are running windows 7 beautifully.

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#4 Baltboy

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 09:52 AM

Have you considered microsoft's free virtual server? Depending on what you want to do with server 2008 it could be the perfect solution. I would not recommend using a virtual server using a basic computer for any type of real world use since it will need to consume more resources than Windows 7. If all your are doing is using it to learn server 2008 then virtualization will be perfect. To use server 2008 in a virtual enviroment for any type of real world tasks I would recommend a good dual proccessor multi-core computer with support for virtualization and a nice healthy chunk of memory of 8 GB or more depending on what is to be done with the setup.

I know I'm probably a little outside of the norm but I keep two older pentium 4 computers that I use just for running experimental stuff.
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
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#5 chromebuster

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 02:31 PM

Thanks for the input. As I said, I do hope to own one of three possible servers at my home for web site hosting (since it is a very small site), plus some network stuff for my home network (a few folders shared), but for now, I'd really like to play with windows server 2008, but I'm wondering if due to the need for me using screen reading software (I use JAWS 12.0 from Freedom Scientific), a duel boot config would be easier? I ask that since friends of mine have found virtualization a pain with screen readers. Is that always an option too? And if so, how do I do that with my current OS installed? If I do go that route instead of the virtualization route, What do I need to do for partitioning drives and such to make room? And in reference to the servers I've been looking at, I've been looking at either the Dell SC440, the Dell T110 or T310, or the Primergy TX120. Which out of those three are good in you folks's opinion? (Dellmeyer, my Dimension E510, is a duel core actually_.

Thanks,
Chromebuster

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#6 chromebuster

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 07:15 PM

I was talking to a friend of mine, and he absolutely agrees that I should play with server 2008 first before doing anything with it, but he says that since my desktop computer's so old, that I'd have to upgrade it. I don't mind running a 32-bit version of the server OS since it's just for testing at this point. what do you folks think? Thanks.

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#7 Baltboy

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 06:10 PM

Here is the hardware requirements for 32 bit server 2008

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/WS08-system-requirements.aspx

Kepp in mind Microsoft has a habit of grossly understanting the requirements to actually do anything. The requirements listed there are just to run the server software without a bunch of extra servers being setup (like ISA) or anyone actually accessing it. If you were going to do some in home testing with minimal access, servers, ect. Then I would say if you are installing it as the only operating system on the computer than those specs would be fine. However if you are planning on setting up the virtual machine with server on it then a good dual core proccessor at about 2.8 Ghz with at least 2+ GB of system memory should be fine.

I have been running server 2003 enterprise edition on an old pentium 4 2.8 Ghz with 2 GB of memory as the solo operating system and it has been fine.
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
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#8 chromebuster

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 06:32 PM

Thanks. I've seen those requirements before. I do have a laptop, that is an Inspiron 1525 with a Duel Core CPU T6400 processor running at 2.00 GHZ with a total system memory of 4.0 GB. I'm only testing, so that's why I was thinking of duel booting my laptop with server 2008 32 bit since my desktop's old as it is, and though it was good once, it's losing it's faculties, I swear. I think I can manage partitioning and such with the tools that are out there. I've thrown virtualization out the window since It's just a pain in the butt with screen reading software. But what is your opinion on those three different servers, and do you think that one of them will one day fulfill my needs for my web site and networking dreams? I'm leaning closer to the Dell T310 in one of it's more basic configurations. Your thoughts on that? Do you think that the SC440 PowerEdge model would be better? I've looked at the requirements and specs for these servers like over a hundred times probably, and so far I haven't gotten any first-hand experiences with them. I'm really serious about this, guys, and if I'm going to replace my honorable desktop with a server that will simply act as a workstation until I'm ready to deal with ASP.net and all that myself, I want to make sure that it's going to work for me. Noise, heat, or anything like that is not a concern as it may be for other individuals, so I'm more concerned with performance and that. Thanks folks.

Chromebuster

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#9 Baltboy

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 01:54 PM

If I had to choose between the two you listed it would definitely be the T310. In reality since you had said before that this would be a low traffic server I'm not sure I would absolutely go the Pre-built server route. Remember that the only real reason any computer can be called a server is because of the software running on it.You might be better off looking into doing a strong build yourself and you might be able to save a little and get more in the end.

For a server type build I right now I would go with either an I7 or a Phenom II x6, a minimum of 4 GB of system memory( you can always upgrade later if needed), A solid motherboard with at least two 16x PCI-e slots, a cheap fanless video card, A PCI-e raid card capable of performing SATA RAID 5(be sure it has a built in proccessor and memory for true hardware RAID), 3-1 TB or better SATA drives (enterprise editions are better), A good full tower chassis, 650 watt or so power supply. I ran that on newegg and came up with right around US$1500.00 for everything I listed choosing in many cases the best part available so some savings could be had if you didn't choose the highest priced parts.
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
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#10 chromebuster

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 02:24 PM

Hi there,
Thanks so much for the input. I. being blind, have always had other sighted individuals manage my hardware for me, since I've never found somebody to help me go through each thing. And since the dell T310's a total cost of only $599 in it's most basic configuration, and since Dell's products have already been tested, I'd get more for support since they are knowledgeable individuals. I'm more concerned with getting the unit running for testing, then eventually hosting my site once I learn the mechanics rather than cost. I'd feel more comfortable with more support than zero support if I built my own thing. and if I get a server, I'll have to get less folks involved to help with the nonvisual things. But what about the duel boot on my laptop to test the OS? Thanks.

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#11 Baltboy

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 07:43 PM

I think dual booting the laptop will work fine for the learning curve.

As far as the T310 I would do the following:
1. Upgrade the processor to the best xeon you can afford that they offer.
2. Memory ..again at least 2 GB ...4 GB would be better.
3. Still make sure you are getting a hardware RAID solution..software RAID just doesn't cut it.

I did a quick and dirty config on the Dell website and it came up to about US$2200.00 There are certain things you don't want to scrimp on in a server, proccessor, memory, and data redundancy so make sure whoever helps ou with aquiring the hardware is clear on what you want.
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
Mark Twain

#12 chromebuster

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 09:04 PM

That's odd since the last time I checked on reviews with the dell PowerEdge T310, the price was highest 1108, which was cheaper than my laptop over here. I'll definitely have to save up, or does Dell offer installment payment methods so that I can pay monthly rather than all at once? And what is the difference between hardware and software raid? just for your information, I do have three external hard drives, (two of them are NTFS and one is going to be NTFS when I get around to it), two of which are currently not being used, so maybe they can help with server data replication too?And just for your info, I pick the dell T310 since my site may grow in the future, so I want to have something robust to be able to work with it nicely. and not to mention the occasional file that may have to be shared on the local LAN one day too. and just as a side note, there is not much video footage of the dell T310 when all of the others get lots of it. But according to so many folks, it's a great server. I mean, have you ever seen one? I'm just curious. Thanks for your continued support.

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#13 Baltboy

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 05:42 PM

Dell offers base prices with different configurations but all of those can be customized to fit your exact needs. So the high price you saw was their upper end standard configuration which can be modified even further. Dell offers the whole payment plan thing for the T310 which they state as "as low as US$15.00 per month".

The difference between software and hardware RAID is that on hardware raid the RAID controller has it's own proccessor and memory that calculates the parity information and also does the proccessing for on the fly data recreation in the event of drive failure (if you are using a RAID 5 array). In a software setup those chores are shunted through your computer using your proccessor and system memory.

I like external drive to use as additional back up to a RAID 5 array.

I have not used a T310 but from the specs it seems to be a good solid server with many options for expansion and add-ons
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
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#14 chromebuster

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 06:30 PM

That is very helpful. I wonder if there's a certain registration process that you have to go through in order to set up the payment plan? I can't worry about it now considering I still live with my family, and I do not want them to be bothered by the sound of a server, I'm only testing now, so I've still got to coordinate things. But I really like the idea. But there are a few other things that I, being blind, must consider. Maybe you could help me out? You're going to think this sounds crazy, but since I use screen reading software (JAWS for Windows, System Access from Serotek), so I'll need a sound card in the server. Do you think that when I get around to this, they'd understand, and even if they charged me a bit more, they'd install a sound card for me since they seem to be aware of blind customers? I mean, from every look I've had in text format of the Dell T310, a sound card's certainly not included, and rightfully so, but what about us, the blind community who is interested in running their own servers? And the other thing. If I'm using this server for multiple things such as web, FTP, and maybe a few LAN folders, what version of eset NOD32 server edition's right for me? They don't seem to offer a general-purpose server version that's targeted at my situation. if I eventually have mail running on their too, it won't be with exchange server either. Thanks.

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#15 Baltboy

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 10:26 PM

I have no idea what Dell may or may not do in regards to the sound card.

As far as NOD32 goes I have never used it so I really can't give you any input there
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
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