What should I use?

Microsoft Windows server 2008 enterprise
October 21, 2009 at 15:03:41
Specs: Microsoft Windows XP Professional, 2.802 GHz / 3007 MB
I have a Pentium D 3.0 GHz Server supporting VT and it has 3.24 GB of RAM. I also have a Pentium 4 3.0 GHz Machine having 1.5 GB of RAM. The Pentium 4 doesn't have 64 bit support and VT support. Anyways, heres what I want to do. I want to have a Exchange Server, a Domain Controller (Active Directory) and a Terminal Server.

Now, if I use Windows Server 2003, installing a Domain Controller and Exchange Server (In a VM) would be the best way to do it. I can then make my Pentium 4 a Terminal Server as well as an Internet Gateway machine.

The Pentium D 3.00 Server with 3.24 GB of RAM is going to be our File server as well since I am going to deploy 2 500 GB Hard Drives into it and later, buy an additional controller card and install the same identical hard drive for backup/raid 1.

Now, heres what is going to mess up my plans. Windows Server 2008, Exchange Server 2007, Windows 7 and Windows Vista. They need A LOT OF Ram and 64 bit processor support.

Should I configure it the same way, run Windows Server 2008 x64 on the 3.24 GB Ram and then create a VM running another Windows Server 2008 x64 with Exchange Server 2008 and leave the Terminal Server the same way with Windows Server 2003?

Or should I take this approach: Install Windows Server 2008 x86 on the 1.5 GB Computer and install Windows Server 2003 R2 x64 with Exchange Server 2007 and make a 1.0 GB VM for Terminal Services?

Another problem is that there is an R2 version, but its only for 64 bit and my 1.5 GB RAM system only has 32 bit, plus I don't know weather its even necessary to have R2 or the normal version. Whats the difference, can Window 7 work better on both?

So, is it really necessary to use Windows Server 2008, or should I just stick with Windows Server 2003 R2? I might be also using Vista other than XP and I've heard that Vista sucks with 2003 Domains.

Please tell me what I should do.


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October 22, 2009 at 16:30:58
If you want decent performance with what you are trying to do, I wouldn't try using a VM for anything. Put your DC on your 32 bit box, then your TS or ES on the other box. Then buy a 3rd box.

Windows 7 is a desktop OS, not a server os, so it cannot do any of this.

You could do all of this with Server 2003 if you already have it.

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October 22, 2009 at 20:56:22
No No I said 'Can Windows 7 Work on Both' meaning can Windows 7 work on Windows Server 2003, or would it be pointless and I should get Windows Server 2008?

I already have 3 boxes, one Pentium 4 3.00 GHz with 1 GB of RAM, Another with 1.5 GB of RAM and a Pentium D 3.00 with 3.24 MB of RAM.

But see, this is a house, not a building. Unless I can steal my neighbours, Power is an issue here. I wish I can run as many servers as I want, especially with the fact that I want to be able to run my own private network and host websites.

Do you still think I should run 3 boxes? Whats wrong with using VMware?


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November 3, 2009 at 14:03:42
I'm a chief network engineer for a law firm and we are running 100% vmware esx with 50+ servers running as VMs including Exchange 2007 and SQL Server 2005 servers....

Never place Exchange on a domain controller and as long as you have enough resources dedicated to the VMs, you'll be fine.

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November 4, 2009 at 08:19:32
networkguy1977, thank you for your response, but i will be using exchange 2003 and there will only be 4-10 users connecting to it and plus, i have a pentium d 3.0 ghz processor, so is this good enough to put exchange on a domain controller?


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November 5, 2009 at 11:44:16
I would think so, are you still deploying it on a VM? What are you using for the VM software, VM Server or ESX? Just make sure you have plenty of resources on the hardware and dedicate it to the VM hosting the dc/exchange.

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November 5, 2009 at 17:07:18
ESX/ESXi has crap support for File Server, like I can't put my own Preformatted NTFS drives into the machine, it makes me want to format the drive to VMFS and then I lose everything :(. Plus, the speed over a gigabit network is very slow.

I am thinking of running exchange server under VMware Server on top of my Domain Controller and use my 2nd Box as a Dedicated Terminal Server, but people on here are telling me that I should get a 3rd box for Exchange, so I am down to wasting power and running 3 boxes dedicated.


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November 7, 2009 at 08:25:57
superinf, I'm afraid you are mistaken. First of all, VMWare ESX or ESXi are by far the most popular virtualization platforms. They are used by over 75% of the fortune 100 companies. I would say part of the problem is that you aren't familiar enough with VMWare to comment.

ESXi is free. You can install it to the server and then put on as many other OSs as the hardware will support .

If you spend the money on a powerful enough server - with say 16GB of memory, you could run all of your servers on that one machine with ease. Running Exchange on a DC is never recommended.

For the three servers you want, here is what I would do.

I would put the DC on the 32 bit machine with 1.5GB of RAM. If possible, I would upgrade the RAM on the other server to even 8GB if possible and install VMWare ESXi on it. You could then install an Exchange Server and a Terminal Server on that server and they would be running as seperate machines.

I would use Windows 2008 for all of them. I would not use 2003. Why would you? It's old. Also, Exchange is 64bit only so the 32 bit server is out for that. As for Windows 2008 R2, it is 64 bit only also.

Don't believe the negative hype about VMWare EXSi. It is absolutely a proven technology and far superior to running VMware on top on another OS.

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November 7, 2009 at 10:54:48

Someone on another website said this:

I have to question why you would run 3 different servers to do this and then want them to be on standby. Why wouldnt you just run your DC and exchange on the same server? Not a MS best practice but it can be done without a hitch. And why a secondary DC? If you want them to be on stand by then its apparent that high availability is of not much concern.

There is also the virtualization option. You could run your dc on a server and then put exchange on a virtual server. In this case a secondary DC would again be pointless. Unless you are just fiddling which you could run the secondary on a virtual server as well.

He basically is telling me to put Exchange on a Domain Controller or Put it in MS Virtual Server on my DC.

I am not familiar with ESX Server, but I tested it already and I find its really good with the exception of locking myself out of the console and have a terrible file server support, but I think I might decide to use that, if I can connect my internet direcly to my DC while making my DC the main file server.

About my mainstream server, here is what you seem to miss out of:

I would upgrade the RAM on the other server to even 8GB if possible and install VMWare ESXi on it

My server only goes up to 3.24 GB of RAM and I put 4 GB on it. The motherboard on the Server is an 8i945gmh-rh Gigabyte Motherboard and I wish it would support all 4 GB of RAM in a 64 bit operating system. Maybe I should replace it with my ASUS P5B-E or something?

I am thinking of just using 3 servers and not bother about virtualization, because:

One server has 2 NICs and it can be a perfect Terminal Server and an Internet Gateway

One server has has enough room for ESXi or a File Server and Domain Controller, or I can use Exchange Server 2007 by using 64 bit Windows on it.

One server is just a 32 bit box which can perfectly be a file server and I used it to run Exchange Server 2003 for about 3 years already. I was thinking of making this into a desktop workstation instead of using it as a server. It was my old desktop.

Another thing, I do not have a licence for Windows Server 2008 and I have licences for Windows Server 2003. Unless someone can give me one or I can use my own 2003 licences or maybe even get an illegal one or something which will work perpectually, I am stuck with 2003.


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November 10, 2009 at 13:34:17
If you don't have a license for 2008 then you must use 2003. Still, Exchange is 64 bit only and 3 GB or RAM is not much for Exchange.

I don't like the idea of putting either Exchange or a TS on a DC.

I'd still put the DC on the 32 bit box and put Exchange and TS on the other. Another option would be to get a cheap pc and use it for a DC. A DC doesn't have to be powerful machine. And you should have two DCs. If you don't and your one DC dies, you are dead in the water.

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