Question for new setup for small office

NathanSpohn

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Dec 3, 2019
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this is going to be way over engineered for what the office actually needs but i want to start working on High Availability servers and wanted to build one for the small office i manage of about 20 users.

we currently have a normal computer running windows server 2012r2 and its all on HDD's and takes forever to do anything so i got approval to buy all new equipment and setup a better network for long term support. my current idea is getting 2 or 3 servers that i can setup with proxmox that will host a VM of windows server that will have our AD, VPN, and our one server app. all of these are pretty basic but i want the system to be able to work if no one is onsite since im trying to sign up multiple small businesses that wont require me to be onsite to fix any issues and can have hardware failures and still be functioning since hardware seems to always fail when im busy or the stores are closed.

is this feasible or do i have to buy windows server 2019 to get the hardware redundancy working?

admittedly i am novice at server level support but im taking classes in windows server and networking and ive built many linux servers at my house to just have and play with running different things.

let me know if there's any good youtube videos i can watch or documentation i can read that is regarding HA, thanks for taking the time to read this.
 

LnxBil

Famous Member
Feb 21, 2015
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Going from one system to HA is not cheap. It's really expensive if you want to do it right:

- You need at least 3 nodes (2 if you want to use a quorum device on a pi and not use ceph)
- You need shared storage (a NAS/SAN exposing NFS/iSCSI/FC or CEPH, but then again you need 3 nodes)
- at least one, better two uninterruptible power supplies
- redundant switch network
- your nodes should have redundant network cards, redundant psu and redundant local storage
- climate control (preferably also redundant)

You wrote, that you use a "normal computer", maybe upgrading to a server class system (with redundant psu, raided SSD) is already a good upgrade?
 

NathanSpohn

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Dec 3, 2019
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so 6 servers total? 3 for the nods and 3 for the nas?
i know its selling it a bit short not going full on the network power and climate. but they are a lot easy and understandable to have the system go down over. im more focused on building out my skills and being able to build and implement these systems and being able to troubleshoot them in the future and for all of that i need hands on.
 

LnxBil

Famous Member
Feb 21, 2015
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If you use CEPH, you can use the 3 nodes of your PVE. The recommended setup however wants to have 4 data disks and 2 ssds for each node, so also expensive. If you buy a HA-SAN, you can have everything in one box with everything redundant. Those normally come only in rack mounted cases, so you need a rack for that.
 

damon1

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Apr 18, 2019
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My 2c (assuming you don't have 10's of thousands)

get 3 servers and use Proxmox with a NAS as it will work fine over a 1GB network.

Proxmox will give you HA if a server goes down and you can login to each store/site using the GUI to restart a VM or even reboot a node.

In each server (node) put a small SSD which will hold proxmox, it only needs to be 128GB but they are a bit hard to find now and 250GB are very cheap anyway.

For the NAS it is up to your budget but even a 4 drive QNAP will run fine and give you RAID 10 for redundancy. For a little bit more you can get one with SSD or nVME cache which are faster again.

If you have more money and CEPH is something you would consider (which would replace the NAS) then remember you will need 10GB network cards in the servers as well as a 10GB switch and cables which can get expensive quite quickly.

If you get a UPS like a CyberPower 1500 you could run all 3 servers and the switch for about 10 minutes if the power goes out or there is a power surge etc...

Thanks
 

LnxBil

Famous Member
Feb 21, 2015
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Germany
In addition, I can also recommend buying used server hardware. It's good hardware for a comparably very low pricetag. You will not get the best performance possible, but very decent and much better than todays prosumer desktop hardware in a parallel workload. For e.g. 1k euro/dollar you can get three used HP DL360G7 with local disks and at least 16 GB of RAM.
 

NathanSpohn

New Member
Dec 3, 2019
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1
28
If you use CEPH, you can use the 3 nodes of your PVE. The recommended setup however wants to have 4 data disks and 2 ssds for each node, so also expensive. If you buy a HA-SAN, you can have everything in one box with everything redundant. Those normally come only in rack mounted cases, so you need a rack for that.
that was the idea, was to have some red drives and have identical systems accross the board, i have been looking into windows server HA solution and the fact that they had hardware failure with the system remaining up sounded incredible and if i can setup and maintain a system like that i feel like that would be a very valuable... (and fun) skill
as far as the HA-SAN, do you have a suggestion?

My 2c (assuming you don't have 10's of thousands)

get 3 servers and use Proxmox with a NAS as it will work fine over a 1GB network.

Proxmox will give you HA if a server goes down and you can login to each store/site using the GUI to restart a VM or even reboot a node.

In each server (node) put a small SSD which will hold proxmox, it only needs to be 128GB but they are a bit hard to find now and 250GB are very cheap anyway.

For the NAS it is up to your budget but even a 4 drive QNAP will run fine and give you RAID 10 for redundancy. For a little bit more you can get one with SSD or nVME cache which are faster again.

If you have more money and CEPH is something you would consider (which would replace the NAS) then remember you will need 10GB network cards in the servers as well as a 10GB switch and cables which can get expensive quite quickly.

If you get a UPS like a CyberPower 1500 you could run all 3 servers and the switch for about 10 minutes if the power goes out or there is a power surge etc...

Thanks
ill look into the UPS and present it to the owner, i really liked the idea of the hard drives being spread out on each server so it kind of removes the whole need for a nas, im not at the point where i need more then 10tb of storage.. like im not even at 500gigs for all the users data. and if i can just put 6 drives total for each of the 3 servers and make it all one big pool of redundant storage then thats all gravy to me.
 

NathanSpohn

New Member
Dec 3, 2019
4
0
1
28
In addition, I can also recommend buying used server hardware. It's good hardware for a comparably very low pricetag. You will not get the best performance possible, but very decent and much better than todays prosumer desktop hardware in a parallel workload. For e.g. 1k euro/dollar you can get three used HP DL360G7 with local disks and at least 16 GB of RAM.
i was looking at a dell r710 and getting three of them off ebay. would you suggest that over the hp server?
 

LnxBil

Famous Member
Feb 21, 2015
4,418
441
103
Germany
i was looking at a dell r710 and getting three of them off ebay. would you suggest that over the hp server?
I have little experience with Dell. Most of my customers have HP or Fujitsu and I'm familiar with the support process in case of hardware failure. I've never had the pleasure of dealing with Dell, so I really cannot tell.

as far as the HA-SAN, do you have a suggestion?
The easiest and dumbest SAN (with respect to overpaid and not used features with PVE in mind) I know is the Fujitsu Eternus. It's FC-based and used Fiberchannel is very cheap nowadays. For 8 GBit FC-HBA you pay 50 for a used card. There also exist 10 GBE iSCSI versions, if you already have the 10 GBE infrastructure.

CEPH is on the other hand is more flexible and bottom line cheaper (if you have the 10GBE stuff already).
 

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