Friday, 3 June 2011

Intel Server Board S3420GPRX At Full Capacity – 32GB RAM – A Great Virtualization Platform

After deliberating over which set of 8GB sticks of RAM to purchase to outfit our single socket virtualization platforms with a full 32GB compliment we decided to go with the following part:

  • Kingston Value RAM: KVR1066D3Q8R7S/8Gi

There is also a 1333MHz version of the Intel certified RAM from Kingston but there were some questions around whether that particular model would back itself down to 800MHz which is where a memory channel will go speed wise when two quad ranked sticks of RAM are installed.

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The screenshot above is via an Intel Remote Management Module.

  • Intel Server Board S3420GPRX with I/O Shield (previous blog post)
  • Intel Xeon Processor X3470 at 2.93GHz
  • 32GB Kingston ECC 1066MHz
  • Intel RS2BL080 RAID + Battery Backup
  • 6x 300GB 15K Seagate SAS (5x RAID 5 + 1x Hot Spare)
  • Intel Server Chassis SC5650DP with hot swap backplane.

The system is fairly quiet and is quite quick. We are expecting this configuration to more than meet our client’s needs.

One thing to note when setting up standalone virtualization boxes with the full GUI OS installed is to change the power settings to High Performance.

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This particular configuration will be running:

  • Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard.
    • 2x vCPUs, 16GB RAM
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard in RDS/RemoteApp mode.
    • 2x vCPUs, 4GB RAM
  • Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard (P2V) running legacy LoB.
    • 1x vCPU, 2GB RAM
  • Windows 7 Enterprise x64 (one to four or five desktops).
    • 2x vCPUs, 1.5GB-2GB RAM each.

Our client is a small non-profit with 8-11 seats depending on the time of year. We are quite confident that they will be happy with their new setup once we have migrated them from their current SBS 2003 R2 Premium.

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

*Our original iMac was stolen (previous blog post). We now have a new MacBook Pro courtesy of Vlad Mazek, owner of OWN.

Windows Live Writer

5 comments:

Compro Computers said...

I'm curious why you use raid 5 instead of 1+0.
I was looking for a storage solution and posted a question here at spiceworks. http://community.spiceworks.com/topic/122850-adding-storage-to-existing-server?page=2

I was referred to this article http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/netsys/article.php/3842246/The-Agony-and-Ecstasy-of-RAID.htm

After this I have been unwilling to use raid 5 anymore for fear of losing data even without a failure. Just curious your take on this.

Also, I assume you don't experience a great performance degredation by having one big raid versus smaller individual raids? I ask because usually best practices recommend splitting OS and data drives to cut down on overhead, but I'm wondering if this is old thinking now.

Love your blog! :)

Philip Elder SBS MVP said...

Compro,

The RAID article is from 2009. It has errors in it.

I read though the SpiceWorks article and ended up registering and commenting at the end of it.

Today's disk subsystems cannot be looked at through the lense of past experience relative to RAID and SCSI.

The technology has changed a lot in the last few years especially.

One needs to be actively investing in the purchase of new RAID and drive technologies either through the channel or via vendor demo programs to test new disk systems.

Because of our active investment by purchasing various 15K SAS disks, Intel X25-M and 320 Series SSDs, Intel RAID controllers with Battery Backup, and soon Intel SSD Cache technologies, we can feel confident that our configuration recommendations are solid ... for their intended purpose of course. :)

You may have read this article SAS versus SATA and Hardware RAID versus Software RAID already, but please have a look at it if not. We discuss a lot of our experiences with the various disk subsystems available to us.

Thanks for the comment,

Philip

Paul said...

HI Philip, always great to hear what your upto!

Just wondering what role the virtual workstations play?

Is it for RWW and users getting remote desktop access? but then you have a RDS server for that! or is it due to the physical workstations on the LAN being a poor specification/age?

Thanks, Paul.

Philip Elder SBS MVP said...

Paul,

A little of both actually.

Some folks have laptops they take with them, so having a desktop virtually identical to thier own available to them while on the road is helpful for LoBs that are not TS/RDS/VPN friendly.

We deal with lots of LoBs that do not like being in a TS/RDS or RemoteApp session.

We also drop a desktop VM for management usage.

Philip

Paul said...

Makes perfect sense Philip. All the best, Paul.