SBS 2003 Premium R2 Hardware Upgrade - Advice sought!

Discussion in 'Windows Small Business Server' started by John F Kappler, Jan 9, 2007.

  1. We are now running SBS 2003 Premium Release 2 with SQL 2005.

    The system it runs on seems to be struggling in the CPU area and I'd
    appreciate some advice on a way forward. For information, the current
    config is:

    Dual Pentium III 966 Mhz Processors
    2.0 Gb RAM
    2 (Mirrored) 80 Gb HDD - 50% Used

    We cannot add more memory to this motherboard and processor usage
    during the day seem to be 70-100%.

    We have two SQL Database applications, one of which is new, plus the
    usual Exchange e-mail, and a push e-mail application.

    I presume we have two basic options:

    1) Get a second server and offload some of the applications on to it,
    2) Upgrade to a bigger, faster server.

    The advantage of 1) would seem to be more fallback capability, but the
    disadvantage would be having to SBS operating systems, licenses, etc.

    Any thoughts?

    I'd be particularly interested in any recommendations for minimum
    config for option 2).


    John F Kappler, Jan 9, 2007
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  2. I'm surprised the CPU is running that high, even though those procs are
    quite a bit behind the curve. One thing to look at is which processes are
    really using the CPU, and see if there's an easy way to offload some of
    those functions to a second server. (For example, if it's SQL that's eating
    processor cycles, it's fairly straightforward to move it to a second
    machine. If it's Exchange, primarily, that's less easy.)

    If I were buying a machine today, I would look at something that had dual
    51xx Xeon processors, and good disk I/O. Something like an HP ML350 G5 would
    be a good fit. Or something with dual 2000 series Opteron processors, though
    I happen to think that Intel has a slight edge right now. In either case,
    however, you'd have a machine that was well suited to run the next version
    of SBS which will only run on 64bit hardware.
    Charlie Russel - MVP, Jan 9, 2007
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  3. John F Kappler

    Steve Guest

    In addition to Charlie's good advice remember concerning your thought on a
    2nd server it can't be an SBS OS and you can't take any of the SBS
    applications such as Exchange or SQL and put those on a 2nd server-you need
    additional licenses etc. I'd look at option 2 and utilize a swing migration
    ( to accomplish the move to new hardware.
    Steve, Jan 9, 2007
  4. Good point. With R2 he won't need CALs, however, if he moves SQL or Exchange
    over to a second server. CAL rights have been expanded in R2 and this is a
    situation where he'll definitely see the benefit.
    Charlie Russel - MVP, Jan 9, 2007
  5. John F Kappler

    Steve Guest

    Yes indeed.

    Steve, Jan 9, 2007
  6. Many thanks for your replies Charlie & Steve......

    I lke the Proliant ML350 G5 spec and I guess that gives us some future
    proofing for the next version of SBS (I've been briefed to ensure we
    have new resources to last us for several years!).

    On the hardware front I was thinking of upping the basic memory from
    1Gb to 4Gb, and speccing a second 5140 processor. Would these be
    useful or am I going over the top?

    On the system requirements side our current system processor usage
    shows a pretty constant 20% processor demand to sqlserver, and I guess
    thats why we've suddenly been hit by the problem (We have two
    externally supplied SQL applications, one was new from 1st Jan and the
    other had a siginifcant upgrade at the same date). I'm not sure how to
    phrase this question, so bear with me - I think someone said the new
    hardware above can support a 64-bit version of SBS but does that mean
    our current applicationsneed need to be able to support 64-bit
    hardware now? Similarly, as I understand it, the swing software
    previously mentioned enables a setup of the new server and when its
    all ok, the switch over. But does it include migrating applications
    such as our SQL based ones, or even our push -email server?

    Sorry to be a pain, but I'm still learning!


    John F Kappler, Jan 12, 2007
  7. Buy the second processor, absolutely. Trying to match it later is a PITA at
    best. Though I might go for a pair of 5130's. Last I looked the premium for
    the 5140 seemed a bit much.

    4GB? yes, certainly. AND do it with only 4 slots, please. That way, should
    you decide you need it later when the next version comes along, you can
    easily add more. Or, given that RAM prices are a bit high right now, start
    with 2 GB and add later.
    Charlie Russel - MVP, Jan 13, 2007
  8. Also, sorry, I didn't read far enough down.

    Yes, the processors will support 64bit. But SBS today is NOT 64bit, and it
    will mean that you will be running the new server in 32-bit mode. No
    problem, it does that very well. Then, when you migrate to the next version
    of the operating system, you'll have to move to 64bit, and you'll have the
    hardware right there. What that migration path will be, no one knows yet.
    But I'm sure Jeff and Swing Migration will be on top of it.
    Charlie Russel - MVP, Jan 13, 2007
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