Which OS for Server?

By vassil3427 · 17 replies
Sep 9, 2002
  1. Hello everybody or anybody that reads this post, its a long story but I attend a rather small private Christian school and they'll be upgrading their pc's soon, they were going to go with Gateway, but i talked to the principle about what they were offering him, and what they were offering just wasnt worth the price they were asking...(I've assembled computers for most of the teachers their so they know I know computers:grinthumb ) but anyway I talked to the principle about him just ordering all the stuff we would need from an online store(www.tigerdirect.com), and I could assemble all the systems, computers are no problem, I may only be 15 but I can do just about anything with a pc, on the other hand...I have hardly got to mess with Servers, but really all I wanna ask at the moment is what OS should I use? It will be the server for about 20 pc's and all the pc's hooked to it will be running XP Professional

    (comes pre-assembled)
    Its Specs:
    Dual Athlon MP 2000+'s
    Asus A7M266-D Dual MP DDR Server Motherboard
    1GB PC2100 Registered DDR
    Adaptec 29160 SCSI Controller
    Dual 36GB SCSI-160 10K Rpm HDD's
    ATI Radeon 32mb DDR AGP
    52x CD-Rom
    1.44mb Floppy
    350w P.S.(AMD MP Approved)
    Full Tower Case
    3com 10/100 NIC

    I'm sorry if I posted this in the wrong forum, but it was hard deciding which to post it under
    Thanks!:D (Just in case you got lost in this, all i want to know is which OS should I use on this server)
  2. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    I've heard good things about Windows 2000 Advanced Server.

    I'd say go Linux, but that's just me...:rolleyes:

    Otherwise just do W2K AS. Very good, very good :grinthumb , just for the compatibility with the rest of the machines.

    Man, now that's a Star Destroyer
  3. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    You don't need Advanced Server unless you are building a cluster, or have like a silly number of CPUs and amount of RAM.

    Windows 2000 Server would serve your needs well. Unless you are a Linux guru don't go with that because you will find it a lot harder to set up certain tasks.
  4. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    Is it me or is that PSU a bit low on power ?

    Surely a Dual Athlon solution is very power hungry & when you add 2 HDDs & lots of ram, it can only get worse.:dead:
  5. Th3M1ghtyD8

    Th3M1ghtyD8 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 664

    Yeah I would recommend at least 400Watt for a system like that, ideally 450 or 550 with a pair of 10K SCSI disks. A Fault tolerant twin PSU system would also be a good idea IMHO.

    Also, is the graphics card a bit excessive for a server?
  6. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    /me agrees.

    Certainly there is little need for a powerful graphics card on a server unless its a games server which is also used to play on as well. Since this is rare and it isn't, I think the costs saved by getting some simple, generic AGP card could be put back into getting other improvements such as a 450W PSU.
  7. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 640

    Well the server is pre-assembled and has a three year on-site warranty, but if you think it needs a better P.S. I'll get one. As for the video card, it may be a bit excessive, but money isnt an issue. So most of you think I should just use Windows 2000?
  8. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    Pretty much so unless you are a Linux guru.
  9. sicarius

    sicarius TS Rookie Posts: 27

    It is hard sometimes to reply to these forums without sounding like your putting down someone or their system. I assure you I am not trying to do that but I have a few questions and maybe some suggestions as far as what you are doing.

    That does not sound like a server to me. Do they advertise it as a server? I notice use used the word server motherboard and was curious. That sounds like a machine a person with money would buy for a hard bone gamer. If you’re looking at servers take a look at the power edge series by Dell or Compaq and see what they are running. You are talking about a machine I am guessing that will run 24/7. Redundancy it a lot more important than power at least to an extent. I think you would be surprised on a normal network how easy it is to overpower the server. The biggest processor I know right off hand that Compaq puts in a server is a p3 1000. That is on a small server. When you get into the big stuff they and Dell use Xeon processors. I would be more inclined depending on the number of machines they are running to have dual power supplies than processors. I guess one question I have is how important is it if it goes down? (Just in case you notice that is all Intel up their I am a AMD person myself for here at home)

    The other question I have is why tiger direct? When I build machines I order from one vendor but I order certain hardware for every part of the machine. I make them quote it then get it from the cheapest. Like I use Asus boards western digital hard drives etc. I am not too crazy about tiger direct. I have worked on them and am just not that impressed with their motherboards etc.

    I am looking at this network as if I were building it and I have been building them since the mid 80’s so maybe I am just old and set in my ways. I am still doing it however so I guess I am doing something right. Windows 2k server is all you need. Anything more would be overkill. Unless like phantasm said you eat and breath Unix. I am setting up a UnixWare server right now. But I am also building or buying a win 2k server to interface with it because the client side has to have it to see the Unix box in GUI.

    Write me and you can send the specs if you like and I will give it my best shot to take a look at it and see what in my opinion would work best in the same price range.

    Didnt mean to get to off into hardware but it is probably better than posting the related question in two seperate forums.

  10. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 640

    Well thanks for your ideas sicarus, this looks like a pretty good server to me though...As to what you said about Tiger Direct, they arent that far away from me, and I've ordered from them numerous times and I've never had a problem with them.
    Also I will not be ordering the stuff, my principle will be getting in contact with Tiger Direct to order all the stuff(I'll just tell him what to order), I would rather do that than have to worry about buying from 30 different places just to save a couple bucks. And Tiger Direct assembles computers, they dont actually build or produce any brand of motherboard etc... This is an Asus motherboard, I highly trust Asus motherboards, out of all the systems I've bult with Asus products I've never had one go bad or mess up. The only thing I see about this Server is, the P.S. is too small, I checked Asus's website and it REQUIRES atleast a 400w P.S. for full usability.

    New Question, Does anyone else object to this being a computer server for around 23 computers? I think it is a rather nice machine...and all together it only comes to $2,699, so what do you all think?
  11. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    One should beware bounding the term "server" around without actually talking about some specific services, however if its sharing an internet connection (network address translation) and doing some file and print sharing then I really can't see a problem.

    You will want to have home directories held on the server so in addition to your 70GB or so of HDD space you should also ensure that regular backups are made.

    Post back here for instructions on how to promote a Windows 2000 server to a domain controller, how to create active directory, etc, how to create users and give them home directories, set permissions on folders, etc give them shared common drive mappings etc if you already don't know any of this.

    Certainly a machine far crapper than this was the NT4 primary domain controller at my work for hundreds of workstations before so I think you will be fine. Its a nice fast network you need. You need not concern yourself with subnetting anything with only 25 or so host machines on your network. A little private class C network in the range to with the server having the only "visible on the internet" IP address in addition to its one in that range will be fine.

    Anything you want to know post back.
  12. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 640

    Phantasm you're always so much help
    But hopefully I'm not bothering you to much by asking but could you tell me how to do most of what you listed here? This right here is going to help me very much in the future
    You dont have to do it all now, just when you get a chance, cause it'll be a few weeks before I have to set it up(and if I run into any problems I really cant fix I know a couple technicians who could come help me, but I'm hoping to do this all by my self, of course with your help:grinthumb )

    About the backup, would you recommend I get something like a 100GB usb HDD? or perhaps a removeable HDD?
  13. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    Sure. I will have to collect my thoughts a little bit I will post some info.

    You will want your users' home directories to reside on the server and not on the HDDs of the workstations. Apart from being more secure, this simplies the backup process and also allows for users to move from machine to machine and still get access to all of their stuff.

    Its important to have a good backup solution so you want the capacity to backup all of the data from your home directory partition onto some other media. Hopefully one would store this other media in another location but often people do not do this.

    Its probably desireable to backup the server's installation as well onto somewhere else.

    If you are installing 25 or so similar machines with identical specs then Drive Image would be very useful for you, both in quickly getting all 25 machines up and running but also to quickly repair them in the event of HDD failure or corruption, etc.
  14. sicarius

    sicarius TS Rookie Posts: 27

    Hmmmm seems your right about Tiger Direct? I am either thinking of a company that sounds a lot like it or they have changed. I could have sworn it was Tiger Direct that use to send me catalogs with barebones machines and complete machines all from their own making. Maybe I am getting senile.

    You can not touch a commercial server in that price range that has dual anything. Whether it is hard drives or power supplies or processors. How are you going to set the two drives up off of your 29160? I run the same controller in my home machine. Most come without drives when your pricing them (commercial) and Seagate SCSI drives add up in a hurry.

    You got me curious so I when to looking around. I did not realize they were making a Xeon 1.6 ghz now. See how much you learn when you try to help somebody.

    And phantazm when you get all your thoughts together if you don’t post that here send a mail to my box and I will give you the e-mail I normally use. I would like to see how you set yours up. I am more experienced with Novell in large server environments than win2k server. It is becoming a MS world however.

    One other thought! You might get your school to invest in a set of books because you will need them. The MS 2k server resource kit is nice to have. I also keep a copy of Windows 2k server bible by Jefferey R. Shapiro and Jim Boyce around. Easier to find the small things in than the resource kit. There may be better out there than that. They only publish around 1000 every time a new MS OS comes out. You might ask for these guys’ thoughts.

  15. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    one question - does the server have to provide the client machines with an internet connection? if so what type?

    /me is also thinking maybe you can get a cheapo licence for Windows NT4 server.... that's dead easy....
  16. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    You are partially right about Tigerdirect, they do have a "house brand" it used to me sold under their name but they changed it. I can't remember what the brand name is they use now. They also sell barebones and complete systems to custom specs as well. Their house brand is not too good, I'll agree with that, but they do have a good variety of brands and offer very good prices and service. I've been dealing with them for quite a few years and have had good service from them. Though I've only dealt with their house brand as a technician and not as an end user.
  17. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 640

    Yes Phantasm, the server will provide the internet connection, as to what type I'll have to find out tomorrow, I do know its got great bandwidth though, I've used one of the office's computers and things were downloading at 500kb/s
  18. sicarius

    sicarius TS Rookie Posts: 27

    Here is a good case of how assuming will get you in trouble. I thought you were starting from scratch. 500kbs downloads? Zip pang must be a T. Tell us about the network that is in place. Server OS, # of stations, what the wan is coming into (csu/dsu, routers, switches, hubs etc. Brands and models all that good stuff. It is a lot different when you build a network off of an existing one than when you design one.

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