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Real servers versus a DUD aka "Dressed up Desktop" for SBS use
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While I was at AMD yesterday I heard a term that is very useful to describe a really bad piece of hardware used to build a server - DUD - dressed up desktops.

You know what they are - PCs that are desktops without any of that key server tech - do you know of one - let me know.

As a minimum I would want to see the following in a decent SBS server:

  • x64 CPU to enable migration to SBS Longhorn edition
  • RAID disks to survive a disk failure - I'm not going to ret religious if they are SCSI or not, but remember that Domain Controllers turn off disk caching unless you have a SCSI like controller, so can have a big impact on performance
  • 2GB of memory min - this is just me, but why skimp at the outset - if you are not going to start at 2GB, then please make sure there are free slots for an upgrade
  • Descent power and cooling
  • Backup capability of some form
  • 2 NICs (even if you only use one - the option is there)
  • Quality brands - don't save £5 and spend the next 3 years regretting it

AMD do a great line in quality parts and have some great partners who can help.  Together we can avoid customer heart-ache and stamp out the DUDs.  For info on DUDs and SBS with AMD, have a look at http://www.amd.com/us-en/0,,3715_13530_13531,00.html

ttfn

David


Posted Wed, Jun 7 2006 10:33 AM by David Overton

Comments

James Savory wrote re: Real servers versus a DUD aka "Dressed up Desktop" for SBS use
on Thu, Jun 8 2006 4:20 PM
Hi David,

I found this post very interesting. I have read somewhere recently that Dell may/are going to start using AMD in their servers for the first time (dont know if I've got that right or they've used them before).

I run SBS2K3 PE on an AMD Athlon 64 3800+ with an ASUS Sli Deluxe motherboard. It's a bit of long story why (it was meant to be a quick PC with mods to keep it quiet /cool to run games, multimedi, etc) but the fact is it's running SBS now, or at least it was, quite happily.

I appreciate now that this isnt the right/ recommended processor for server (ala your DUD comments) but it did run OK until I installed Exchange Sp2 and ISA2K4 Sp2. Now it bluescreens on the verify stage of SBS backup and very occasionally at other times.

My questions are:
1) In your opinion, is it worth me buying the opteron and recommended m'board to replace my 'desktop' porcessor? ie could this be the problem?
2) I thought I heard somewhere that ISA2K4 did not yet support x64 processors - is that right, could this be my problem (I tried uninstalling ISA Sp2, which didnt help).
3) I think you mentioned at an event earlier this year that Intel Xeon chips were x64 - is that right?

Thanks,

James
David Overton wrote re: Real servers versus a DUD aka "Dressed up Desktop" for SBS use
on Thu, Jun 8 2006 5:13 PM
I need to update a few common mis-understanding here:
1) is this a business box, or a personal one - if a business one, then a server with the additional cooling & reliability features is a good way to go
2) SBS 2003 is a 32-bit (or x86) operating system.  When running on x64 chips you get the benefits of the protection capabilites offered by the NX function of the chips.  They run 32-bit code very fast, so there is no down side here.  More importantly, in the future when SBS Longhorn ships, this will require x64 chips (either Intel or AMD) to run - this gives the platform some legs as it can be used to run either

Also, send me the minidump file it produces (64kb) file and I will find out what is causing the BSOD.

ttfn

David
JamesS wrote re: Real servers versus a DUD aka "Dressed up Desktop" for SBS use
on Fri, Jun 9 2006 10:37 AM
Hi David,

Thanks for the info.
It's my own business box. I wouldnt put a machine like this in for a client  - I stick with HP or Dell, on Intel Xeon (so far).
I've just checked the BIOS level and there are updates for that and the chipset drivers so I will implent those.
I will email you the minidumps - thanks for the offer to check these out.

- James -

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