Monday 9 May 2011

Setting Up an Intel S3420GPRX Entry Level Server Board In An Intel Pedestal Chassis

We are building out a number of pedestal based servers over the next couple of months that will be standalone Hyper-V hosts for SBS 2011 Standard, at least a Remote Desktop Services server, at least one Windows Desktop OS, and in a few cases a dedicated BlackBerry (BESx) server.

The perfect platform for this setup is the Intel Server Board S3420GPRX (Intel Ark Site) as it has four Intel Virtualization Technology accelerated Gigabit NICs that can be teamed together along with a fifth Gigabit NIC that can be bound to an Intel Remote Management Module 3 (Intel Product Site) for external Web based console access.

The catch with this setup though is that the S3420GPRX is designed to be installed in a 1U form factor chassis. So, the retail box comes with _no_ I/O shield for the back of the pedestal chassis.

However, we are able to order them . . . hopefully:

  • Intel S3420GPRX I/O Shield: AGPRXIO

We will see what our distribution channels say as we have put out inquiries to all of them and we have a request into our Intel sales representative.

So far, no one has indicated the what/where/when with regards to the parts. But, we remain hopeful.

Philip Elder
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


Paul said...

Hi Philip, how do you find the single CPU coping with the workload you have planned? It seems a lot for a single CPU! Cheers, Paul.

Victor Camacho said...

Hi Philip,

Great Blog just a few questions.

Seems that Sandy Bridge Server Motherboards are hitting the channel. Any issues as to not start using them?

Also, When I read the SBS 2011 Standard License. They did not give option to virtualize by itself. Are you using Free Hyper-V as host? Did I misunderstand their license? Also, It seems that the SBS backup and restore makes virtualizing not worthwhile unless the SBS is hosted. Backup/Restore works and can restore to different hardware. Your thoughts would be appreciated. (Or is there already a previous entry?)


Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...


The seat count will be between 6 and 11 for the servers we are deploying with this configuration.

SBS, RDS, and in one case a separate BlackBerry server, along with a few desktops.

The processing capabilities found in the Xeon 3400 series is more than capable. We have an add-in RAID controller (RS2BL040 or RS2BL080 both with BBU) along with 15K SAS or Intel SSD for I/O.

The bases are covered. :)


We are moving to building our Mini-ITX systems on the DQ67EP(B3) and the standard form factor on DQ67SW(B3) for our business configurations.

In pretty much all setups like this we will have SBS 2011 + Win2K8 R2 or the Premium Add-On which provides the 1+1 license for the host.

For single SBS 2011 deploys we always install the OS on the hardware.

It is our preference to have the host running the GUI/Full OS for remote management purposes.

For backups when SBS is virtualized we usually do two tiers:

1: SBS native (WSB) backing up to VHDs on a NAS or standalone file server.
2: ShadowProtect encrypted image backup to network located eSATA, USB, or other hot swap external drive for off-site rotations.

ShadowProtect is a little less risky for hardware independent restore than WSB. We have had our issues restoring to different hardware with WSB.

Thanks for the comments!


Paul said...

Sounds good Philip. Nice to hear the processor's are handling that load ok.
All the best, Paul.

Victor Camacho said...

Hi Again Philip,

Thanks for the reply. I was talking about the Server Motherboards. I am going to get one soon just wanted to know if you had any thoughts.

Also, thanks for the SBS Setup Guides. They are very good.

Take Care,

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...


The current 1U and Pedestal Sandy Bridge offerings are rather limited in their configuration scope.

We are waiting for the next generation SR1695GPRX and S3420GPRX as they are the platform of choice for us for both physical and virtual OS installs.

We would deploy the new SB pedestal for small clients only due to the 4 drive limit.


mantis2k said...

We are thinking of using the new 1U intel sandy bridge with an external SAS enclosure to increase number of drives.

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...


We are waiting for the successor to the Intel Server System SR1695GPRX for most tasks beyond a sole OS install on the box.

The new 1U will make a good platform for a physical OS install on the server but that is about as far as we would take it.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Philip,

What power supply did you select for the S3420GPRX motherboard? It has a legacy 5 pin connector (P/S AUX) that is required. The P/S listed in the Spare Parts PDF (FXX400PSU) doesn't have the correct connector!

Thx for any info,

Dan M from NYC

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...


We install the S3420GPRX board into the Intel SC5650DP chassis. All of the required power connectors are there.