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New Server Recommendations

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My work has tasked me with speccing out a new server for the business, as our current server looks like it might have motherboard issues, plus it's relatively old.


The business is a design agency, working primarily with Adobe Photoshop and InDesign. We develop websites also, but this is handled by a different server.


Currently we have 15 users/workstations on a Windows domain via Server 2008 R2. Our e-mails are handled locally via Exchange. There are around half a dozen network shares that contain approximately 3TB of work data in total.


Going forward, our requirements will be changing slightly, in the following ways:

  1. We will be looking at migrating from the local Exchange server to Google Apps for Business
  2. We would like to include an offsite backup via Google Drive, which is now feasible since the office has fibre-optic broadband installed.

From a software/OS perspective, it looks like Server 2012 Essentials R2 would be suitable.

  1. Is Server 2012 Essentials suitable for this environment
  2. Can it be upgraded easily beyond 25 users if this is required later
  3. The integration with Microsoft Azure Backup and Office 365 looks great, but is it going to be a headache to use the Google equivalents instead (Google Drive / Apps for Business)

Finally from a hardware perspective, this is our wishlist:

  1. Plenty of drive bays, ideally hot swappable
  2. Tower form factor
  3. Out-of-band management (HP iLO for example) would be useful
  4. Preference towards HP

I appreciate there's quite a few questions there, but any input or advice towards the software setup or any hardware recommendations would be greatly appreciated.


Many thanks in advance :)

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This is how you transition from Essentials to Standard in the non-R2, should be the same in R2:


You mentioned it's going to be a headache to use the Google equivalents, why not do Office 365 Hosted Exchange and migrate your on premise to the cloud directly on 365 or is the business that set on using Google services over Microsoft's?  I would imagine the tighter integration would be nice.  We have one customer who runs Office 365 Hosted Exchange with a 2012 Essentials and using the single sign on (which is possible in other editions) is nice for sure.


I'm not sure what the HP equivalent is, but the Dell PowerEdge T420 is a dual socket tower that can have 8 3.5" drives (4TB are option on the 3.5") or 16 2.5" drives, but limited to 1TB, both options configurable for Hot Swap.  I would recommend running RAID 6 myself.  Just watch the HP controllers, we've been bit on them as RAID 6 can be an optional add-on to the card that's in the server.  The T420 can be equipped with the iDRAC Enterprise which allows similar functions to the iLO

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