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Silvio

Best Available Box for WS 2012 R2 Essentials

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Silvio

Hello everyone,

 

My Media Smart Server EX85 is unfortunately slowly dying, and it’s time to move on. I have owned it since early 2009 and I will miss it.

 

My plan now is to have a server running WS 2012 R2 Essentials (I already own the software). Having said that, I have a few questions and would really appreciate your help.

 

  1. What’s currently the best box I can get for under $500?
  2. Does WS 2012 R2 Essentials have some sort of data duplication as WHS?
  3. Does WS 2012 R2 Essentials come with Exchange Server and SharePoint?

 

Question #3 is not that important, but it would be nice to have at least SharePoint to play with.

 

 

Thank you for your help.

 

Silvio.

 

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jmwills

The HP Gen 8 series would seem to be a good fit for you.  There is not Data duplication role in Essentials in 2012 R2 and no there is no native SharePoint or Exchange Functionality.  Those last two would take separate boxes to install on as you would not want either one on a Domain Controller.

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HellDiverUK

TS140 is a dead on machine, though the layout of the case is a bit funky which leads to a cabling nightmare.

 

There's the Dell T20 which isn't bad - like the TS140 it uses two optical bays for two of the HDDs.

 

Finally, there's the Fujitsu TX1310M1, which has better drive bays, and is really, really power efficient (moreso than the Dell and Lenovo).  I've seen 14W idle with my Fujitsu with the stock E3-1226v3, 2x8GB DIMMs and a Intel SSD.  I use that machine for running BlueIris on Windows 10 Pro and the low power consumption is a massive bonus.

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jmwills

Build your own.  The TS140 will work just fine but you need to define how many drives you're going to use, what functions the server will fulfill etc

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TLN

I've bought a T20, but looks like I will upgrade to a bigger box. It's brand new from Dell, was unboxed, but never turned on.

It's basic one with Celeron, but you can buy Xeon and still be under $500 total.

 

I'm in Chicago as well, cause shipping it makes no sense.

 

I have HP Microserver G8 and extra Xeon/RAM if you're interested.

Edited by TLN

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mattb75

+1 to HellDiverUK comments, all three are good entry-level server choices.

 

Try to hold out for a promo offer on whichever box you can get with a Xeon E3-122x processor as you'll want to upgrade the base RAM to 16 or 32GB to maximise the capabilities of your new box.

 

I'd suggest installing Essentials onto a virtualisation platform - either a Hyper-V only role of Essentials, or VMWare's ESXi - that way you can install evaluation versions Server 2012 R2 and test Exchange / Sharepoint / anything else available to try without risking your core OS installation.

 

You could also live migrate your dying Ex85 system onto a Virtual Machine before it finally packs up in case once you move to Essentials you miss some features you had on WHS v1.

 

I'm currently running ESXi 6 on a TS140 with the Xeon E3-1226v3 and 32GB. VM's running are

 

Sophos UTM as Router, Firewalk, DHCP, DNS and VPN

 

WHS2011 (migrated from a N36L box)

 

Windows 7 Plex and iTunes Server

 

Windows 10 for anything else not run from a physical machine

 

Lab environment running 5 Eval versions of 2012 R2 for Domain, File, WSUS, Certificate Services, WiFi gateway plus 2 Window 7 clients

 

All spread over 1 SSD and 3 HDD and most of it powered on all the time but still pulling less than 55W on a UK 240v supply.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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LoneWolf

Only MS Small Business Server 2008 and 2011 came with Sharepoint and Exchange.  Both were great in concept, but SBS 2008 was messy (still kind of is), and while Microsoft fixed some of those issues in SBS 2011, there are things that happen that just aren't great due to having so much going on in one box.  You have an Exchange database.  You have a SQL database instance for Sharepoint.  You have an SQL instance for the server's own monitoring database, and you've got Windows Internal database for the WSUS (Windows Software Update Services) setup if you're running it to patch systems.  They all fight horribly for RAM.  Microsoft's practice states this as normal, that they'll give up RAM to other processes when they should, but that best practice was written on servers dedicated to each task, not one doing all.  If you have 16GB of RAM, even a small Exchange 2010 setup will take 10GB or more of it if you don't limit it from doing so.  Tack on another 1GB-1.5GB for each SQL instance, and a WSUS instance that requires regular care or it will consume 20-80GB of disk space plus possibly a gig of RAM, and you've got a whole bunch of odd hinky problems.  And most people never used Sharepoint on SBS; leaving it off might have done some good.  Microsoft dropped SBS --they just couldn't get it working as well as they wanted.  It's kind of like an ex-girlfriend; if you haven't worked with SBS in awhile, you start to think of the concept as great --until you get to work with it again and remember why you're glad you don't.

 

You're much better off building your server  (if you do want Exchange and have the resources) as a Microsoft Hyper-V host, then running two Server 2012R2 instances, one with Exchange Server on top.  However, if you don't have educational licensing, that gets expensive, so you're probably better sticking to 2012R2 Essentials and doing Office 365 Exchange in the cloud (there may be if I recall correctly sort of a forwarding connector that allows some nifty features between your local server and the cloud).  It costs a few bucks per month per user, but you can still administer it like Exchange, and Microsoft is responsible for backing up your mail, and you get upgraded every time they do something new.

 

Other people have already made good hardware comments.

Edited by LoneWolf

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jmwills

SBS was a wonderful product is you had training in Systems, Sharepoint & Exchange Administration.  However, for the average SMB, Office 365 is the way to go.

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Silvio

Thank you for all the responses/suggestions!

 

SBS is what I have at work, and as some of you said, it's great. It's nice to have everything in one box, as long as you have enough RAM and processing power.

 

I found this that I think is good for what I need: https://jet.com/product/HP-ProLiant-ML310e-G8-4U-Micro-Tower-Server-1-x-Intel-Xeon-E3-1220/676dfd37bee1473397c6f4a3d8adffe2 does anyone know if I can run ESXi  on this machine?

 

And I'm also looking at two other options tomorrow. I like the size of the HP Microservers.

 

Thanks again for all the suggestions.

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