Small client server migration

peanuthead

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MM, The Egg has Server 2012 R2 Std (allows 2 VMs per license) for $529.99 at the moment. If you are looking at being stuck going the route of upgrading the HW in the Dell give me a shout. I might be able to help you. I have a similar client running 11+ users off an old HP ML server (single disk) with SBS 2011 from HP. The SBS will ONLY load in the HP (in my case). Been there and done that. I wouldn't use the old server for anything until you peel anyway all of the roles from that server onto new ones. As some have said before don't mess with it until you fully know what they are using and not using. I tried doing a P2V on the HP I mentioned and it corrupted the JET database on the P server while also failing on the V server. That was fun for me to try and get back running correctly.

I pitched the same route you are going for the most part. I pitched Server 2K12 R2 and virtualizing all of their server roles into smaller "containers" (just for manageability). They only use the server for file sharing and IIS. They were going to upgrade to the newest version of their POS software and that required some serious beef (think 64GB RAM at minimum). I was going to backup to a Synology for onsite backups then load a small VM to backup to Crashplan, Carbonite, etc. They are still dragging their feet almost a year later.

Ideally, backups follow a 3-2-1 rule. Three copies of data on two different media types and one is offsite.
 

Modder man

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Wow that does sound really similar. Well for now we are swapping the cpu in the server, to see what happens. I will reassess the situation from there. I am replacing an Axcient backup server with two synology's, one onsite and one offsite. I really appreciate the advice Peanuthead, For now we will be using the old server permanetly as i cannot find a cost effective replacement for the exchange and sql portions of SBS 2011. These guys will not drag their feet an will do whatever i suggest as long as it is reasonable. I just don't see any possibilities around using the sbs 2011 box

Update: Client decided to do the CPU swap tonight and the machine will not boot with the new CPU. Also the machine will not reboot even after the swap back to the old cpu. Machine is stuck with chkdsk and a ton of errors.

ALSO NOTE the machine has a raid 5 of 3 1TB disks not a single 2TB disk
 
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Modder man

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We are planning to update the bios this afternoon and then reinstall the xeon. The machine runs quite a bit better after a restart, still a celeron but is at least usable now.
 

Modder man

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Well, we got the xeon swapped in. This machine still runs like a giant turd, is SBS 2011 just that bad? I was under the impression that the OS was at least decent?
 

fluke420

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Of course it runs like a turd. You have two memory and disk IO intensive applications running on the same machine, Exchange and SQL. The only real solution is to separate these.
 

Nate7311

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As fluke420 said, your entire issue now is the Disk subsystem. that's why we've all been hammering on that...
 

joblo37pam

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Of course it runs like a turd. You have two memory and disk IO intensive applications running on the same machine, Exchange and SQL. The only real solution is to separate these.

Or give it real hardware to run on? SATA disks and Celeron aren't conducive to doing any real work. I'm guessing that the RAID controller is probably weak, too. If you don't use the right tools for the job, the results will be sub-standard. For example - would you want to take your car to a mechanic that only owned a vice-grip? He may be able to finish the job, but will likely do more damage than good.

SBS was a great tool when done right and used in the right setting. It's unfortunate that it was canned.
 

Modder man

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ok fair enough, I expected that anyway. I just wanted to hit this project one step at a time. Now that the machine is fully booted I can see that the disk active time is at %100 almost all the time. I know without a doubt this is a bad situation I would not argue against any of the advice you guys are providing me. As stated just want to take it slow.

I would like to give it real hardware to run on that was the plan in the beginning I ran into the licensing being cost prohibitive as like you said there is no real replacement for sbs2011.

Does it at all make sense for me to put an array of SSD in this box? 2 or 4 500ish GB ssd? or do i really need to dig deeper and swap hardware completely?

There is no legal way for me to separate these is there?

I can justify the cost of a 2012standard license as well as a server to run it on but then what? The exchange or sql license would crush them cost wise right?
 

fluke420

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Add more drives. The best thing you can do is split up the SQL database files and Exchange Mailbox database so that they live on their own arrays. This will alleviate the disk IO contention.
 

Modder man

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I just determine that the SBSmonitoring database is 8GB and it seems to be what is using almost all of the disk IO, Suggestions of what to do with this?

EDIT: recreated the database much better for now. Disk is not hammered with IO anyway
 
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D

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I just determine that the SBSmonitoring database is 8GB and it seems to be what is using almost all of the disk IO, Suggestions of what to do with this?

EDIT: recreated the database much better for now. Disk is not hammered with IO anyway

Was it the log files? Or the data files?

If you had a runaway logfile, do the following for the database.

1: Set recovery model to SIMPLE
2: Make sure, under options, that Auto-Shrink is on.
3: Manually shrink the database.


Also, if you want to cut down on I/O load for the system drive, if you put another driver or array into the server, you can move the various databases off your primary drive/array.

http://it.gamerz-bg.com/index.php/moving-or-deleting-the-sbs-monitoring-database-in-sbs-2008/
 
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I need to setup a NAS preferably with a cloud backup service. Should I be looking into a synology or using a distro of linux on my own hardware?

If you've never built one before, look at Synology or QNAP.
 

Nate7311

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No. Actually it isn't.

2012 Essentials does NOT come with Exchange Server.

Partially correct. Microsoft has redesigned the concept of SBS. The newest version of the concept is Microsoft Windows Server Essentials 2012 (flat or R2). Now instead of Exchange on premise, it's piped up to use Exchange in the cloud, or Office365. SharePoint has also been stripped out as of this edition as well. As other posters have mentioned, there is a direct and documented migration path from SBS2011 (std or prem) to 2012 Essentials. Migrating outside of the SBS-family is much murkier water.

With all due respect, I'd highly recommend that the OP either pass on this or hire it out and ride shotgun. There is some very serious damage that can be done here both to the data and to the productivity of the business itself.
 
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peanuthead

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In my case my client doesn't use anything other than the server as a file share, so SBS is just overkill and a pig. What I didn't understand is that the server they took it from had more tale behind it than what they put it on.
 
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D

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Partially correct. Microsoft has redesigned the concept of SBS. The newest version of the concept is Microsoft Windows Server Essentials 2012 (flat or R2). Now instead of Exchange on premise, it's piped up to use Exchange in the cloud, or Office365. SharePoint has also been stripped out as of this edition as well. As other posters have mentioned, there is a direct and documented migration path from SBS2011 (std or prem) to 2012 Essentials. Migrating outside of the SBS-family is much murkier water.

With all due respect, I'd highly recommend that the OP either pass on this or hire it out and ride shotgun. There is some very serious damage that can be done here both to the data and to the productivity of the business itself.

The OP has already said that migrating off SharePoint and Exchange right now is Not An Option.
 
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Wow that does sound really similar. Well for now we are swapping the cpu in the server, to see what happens. I will reassess the situation from there. I am replacing an Axcient backup server with two synology's, one onsite and one offsite. I really appreciate the advice Peanuthead, For now we will be using the old server permanetly as i cannot find a cost effective replacement for the exchange and sql portions of SBS 2011. These guys will not drag their feet an will do whatever i suggest as long as it is reasonable. I just don't see any possibilities around using the sbs 2011 box

Update: Client decided to do the CPU swap tonight and the machine will not boot with the new CPU. Also the machine will not reboot even after the swap back to the old cpu. Machine is stuck with chkdsk and a ton of errors.

ALSO NOTE the machine has a raid 5 of 3 1TB disks not a single 2TB disk

Good to see it's not a single SATA spinner, but please provide specs:

What are the detailed specs of the storage sub-system:
- Are you running a physical RAID controller with caching + BBU ??
- Are you running RAID 5 on the built-in PERC S100?
- How are the logical drives defined? (1 big "C:" ..or separate for logs, DB, data, etc)
- What are the specs of the drives used currently?

You mentioned a shelf that can support 12 3.5" drives - can it be placed under support/warranty and do you have or can you get a controller to connect it?

What are the specs of the CPU now? (Xeon What model???)

At this point I will fall in line and mimic the others that have stated to pull in outside help.
 

peanuthead

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in my case I told the user we just needed to upgrade, they agreed but have not done so yet. I just keep it bandaged and just hope it stays up long enough for them to upgrade. It also helps that I told them to live with the speed until then since we both agreed that the whole infrastructure needs to be upgraded.

If you have to use the server for an extended period of time then I'd think about having them invest in a used H700/710 (~$100) and 4-6 240GB SSDs in a RAID10. (I have some if you want the. :) ) You get IOPs and storage space.
 

peanuthead

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I would like to give it real hardware to run on that was the plan in the beginning I ran into the licensing being cost prohibitive as like you said there is no real replacement for sbs2011.

Then they have made the decision for you. They need to stay on what they have now; SBS 2011

There is no legal way for me to separate these is there?
Nope. It's AIO

I can justify the cost of a 2012standard license as well as a server to run it on but then what? The exchange or sql license would crush them cost wise right?

See my comment above. They can do the following:

- deal with the slowness
- upgrade hardware, software, etc. that they need to upgrade
- they can throw hardware at the current server. You may be able to backup the Exchange data, etc., load in a set of SSDs in RAID, put the 2x 1TB drives in a mirror or RAID 5 for user data and then reload SBS onto the SSDs. You could try creating an image to a single SATA drive of the current setup using the built in backup utility, create an SSD RAID, unplug the current RAID setup, boot off of the SBS disc, restore the image to the SSD RAID setup and see what happens. Then they can get a small Synology NAS with some 1/2/3+ discs (backup space needed is unknown), backup to the NAS and offload that to the cloud. That will buy them time and give them some life, but the inevitable is that they will need to upgrade at some point.
 

dave99

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Well, we got the xeon swapped in. This machine still runs like a giant turd, is SBS 2011 just that bad? I was under the impression that the OS was at least decent?

seriously? You've been told this whole thread that you are I/O limited. It's not the OS. Your disk (I think it's a single sata drive) sucks. It will always suck until you put in a real raid controller and decent drives.
 

Modder man

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Thanks for the response dave, you missed a bunch of details listed in the thread and thus what the current situation is. None the less I appreciate your condescending remark.

At this point the environment is running decent and I have a better understanding of what is working and what is not. At this time SQL is not used for anything but the SBS logging so if I migrate to 2012 it would not be needed at all. I would be looking at the cost of an exchange license +cals and 2 server 2012 licensees to cut over their environment to new hardware.
 

charold

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Thanks for the response dave, you missed a bunch of details listed in the thread and thus what the current situation is. None the less I appreciate your condescending remark.

At this point the environment is running decent and I have a better understanding of what is working and what is not. At this time SQL is not used for anything but the SBS logging so if I migrate to 2012 it would not be needed at all. I would be looking at the cost of an exchange license +cals and 2 server 2012 licensees to cut over their environment to new hardware.

I'd seriously look into a hosted Exchange option. Honestly, it's getting harder and harder to justify having local Exchange. As an example, at my company I evaluated the total costs, and it was a no brainer to go with hosted Exchange, with the eventual migration to the full Office 365 suite. The previous IT firm I worked for wouldn't put in Exchange for less than 50 users, and we'd strongly urge anything less than 100 to consider the hosted option. Per user per month can be as cheap as about $4/mo. You don't have to worry about backups, managing, maintaining etc.

If all they are using is a file server, and they aren't using any/many of the Active Directory options, you could even look into a building a basic Linux file server, FreeNAS, or other NAS option. That would save you over $700 in licensing fees alone, which would pay for a year or so of hosted email.

Hell, with Office 365 you could potentially do away with the file server in it's entirety with the OneDrive for business (or whatever they are calling it now). There are seriously a lot of cheaper or more efficient/less hassle options out there than trying to run everything locally with all the risks that come associated with that. Just my 2 cents
 

scobar

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Well, we got the xeon swapped in. This machine still runs like a giant turd, is SBS 2011 just that bad? I was under the impression that the OS was at least decent?

Of course it runs like a turd. You have two memory and disk IO intensive applications running on the same machine, Exchange and SQL. The only real solution is to separate these.

seriously? You've been told this whole thread that you are I/O limited. It's not the OS. Your disk (I think it's a single sata drive) sucks. It will always suck until you put in a real raid controller and decent drives.

And write caching disabled since its a DC.

I would offload the heavy IO to its own array, you can get disk shelves and do this externally to the chassis...an HP P420 and 8 disks in raid 10 should rip nicely, decently if they are sata even.
 

scobar

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Thanks for the response dave, you missed a bunch of details listed in the thread and thus what the current situation is. None the less I appreciate your condescending remark.

At this point the environment is running decent and I have a better understanding of what is working and what is not. At this time SQL is not used for anything but the SBS logging so if I migrate to 2012 it would not be needed at all. I would be looking at the cost of an exchange license +cals and 2 server 2012 licensees to cut over their environment to new hardware.

Or you could learn SBS + save the client money = your portfolio expanded.

I am not convinced you need heavy hitting iron here...
 

dave99

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Thanks for the response dave, you missed a bunch of details listed in the thread and thus what the current situation is. None the less I appreciate your condescending remark.

At this point the environment is running decent and I have a better understanding of what is working and what is not. At this time SQL is not used for anything but the SBS logging so if I migrate to 2012 it would not be needed at all. I would be looking at the cost of an exchange license +cals and 2 server 2012 licensees to cut over their environment to new hardware.

Not trying to be a dick about it, people have asked a bunch of questions about the system config, not all of which have been answered. SBS 2011 is not a bad system, as long as the hardware is halfway decent and it's not pushing anything particularly heavy. I have several clients with it, some with about 50 users, 6tb data and 400-500gb of exchange datastore. It runs well, but it has to have appropriate hardware. Disk IO is almost always the first problem, then ram (I try to use at least 20gb ram).

If you are going to migrate away from sbs, remember it's not quite like just setting up a new exchange server. You have fixed time limits (21 days) once you transfer the fsmo roles to a new DC, migrations tasks with sharepoint in addition to just moving the mailboxes to a new server etc. If you decide to just say screw it and start a new LAN domain, you can't migrate there either as SBS doesn't allow cross forest trusts. You can migrate mailboxes with 3rd party products if you go that route.

If you are moving to new hardware during the migration, you might seriously consider looking at a swing migration (http://www.sbsmigration.com), there are step by step guides that show how to migrate from sbs 2011 to exchange 2010 (and from there you could do a regular migration to winserv 2012 & exchange 2013). It costs a few hundred bucks, but it will give you every step, and a way to rollback if there are problems (it doesn't make changes to the original server, however you do need a temporary staging system).
 

Modder man

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I have not tried to dodge any questions I don't see any questions that have not been answered. The machine at this point actually runs pretty well and will probably get left as it sits. Maybe add more ram if you guys would advise that. After more digging and prying the customer does not use SQL server for anything but SBS monitoring which was massively broken. After setting up a new database for the monitoring the machine runs infinitely better. I am no longer disk IO bound. There is also very little data in this environment after I was able to actually dig into this sever. I cleaned up all the unneeded junk on the box and they are only using about 300GB of space now.

Sorry if I have been vague at any point in this, I am really trying to provide all the details requested. The conversations with you guys have been invaluable and been a huge help. I have not tried to ignore disk IO comments but resolve problems one at a time. I am still more than willing to replace disks if needed.

We may still replace the raid 5 with an ssd raid 10 if needed and or add some extra ram.

The next problem I need to address for them is that when they launch peachtree from the desktop client it takes absolutely forever to load. In this task I am really a bit over my head and have no previous experience here. I offered to them that I would at least look it over for them but that I couldn't promise anything. I have watched the resource usage of the server running peachtree and it seems to be fine across the board so I don't think it is a server hardware issue. That said I just dont have any experience with peachtree to have a baseline of where to start.
 

peanuthead

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Peachtree uses pervasive sql. Make sure that there is not a dns issue. Also make sure that tcp/ip is turned on as an available protocol on the pervasive server and clients folders (in the pervasive control center)
 

Nate7311

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That would actually be the vast majority of SMB environments. Once you strip away the garbage and useless obsolete downloads, The quantity of REAL data tends to be fairly compact. This leads to the other thing that hasn't really been discussed, Backup, Is there a backup plan in place? Is it monitored and tested?

And RAID 10 with SSDs is complete overkill and will only add needless complication and cost into the loop. If you are set on using SSDs, use either the Intel S3500/3700 or Sammy Pros in a RAID1 mirror. What RAID adapter is the existing RAID5 array on? Are there any open ports left?

Network installs of Peachtree suck and are typically slow as a general rule of thumb. What's the network look like? Is it all Gigabit?
 

scobar

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I would simply look at moving to a different raid level prior to blowing your wad on a raid 10 ssd array. That seems grossly overkill for a small environment, especially with no VMs running on it. You know raid 5 has no write advantage, correct?
 

Modder man

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Correct, I didn't set this up this is all pre-existing. There is currently an axcient appliance in place for backup. I have suggested we move to using a synology backup on site mirrored to a synology offsite. Looking into some of the network configuration now, pretty confident they are running a gigabit netgear dumb switch. This site is not local to me so I have not personally had eyes on site yet, that said I dont have all the details at my fingertips like I wish I did. Further I am doing all this to help out a friend more than anything.

Peanut, funny you mention dns issues as that was going to be one of the next things I start working through as I think they have their sonicwall and DC configured to do DNS and DHCP.

Overall this entire place is a giant cluster and I am just trying to work through things one piece at a time.
 

dave99

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What controller is the current raid 5 running on? Like an S100? If so, those are software/bios type controllers, so performance, especially in a raid 5, won't be great. The H300 controller is a hardware controller, but with no cache ram.

I'd agree SSD is overkill, maybe better option would be looking at getting a perc H710, with BBU cache, it helps performance quite a bit, while still letting you use much cheaper spinner disks. Using raid 10 will help as well, and get you away from raid 5, which is just not desired much anymore.

As for the database, yes the built in sbs monitoring db always seems to suck resources, unless you are using it, I usually disable it completely as I monitor the systems with other tools.

RAM is cheap, if you are at 16 you are probably fine, if you have 8, maybe think about an upgrade there.
 

Modder man

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I am at 16gb of ram currently.
i believe the controller is an H300 but i will have to double check
i will just disable the database. I have removed it at this point but not disabled it yet.

When you add computers or users to the domain do you have to use the SBS console or can you do it the real way through active directory?
 

dave99

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Usually the sbs console, although I forget sometimes and just use AD users. You can add them back to the console later if you happen to do the same.

Try to use the console though to save you the step.
 

scobar

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I caution on mirroring to an offsite... At the very least review the payload and determine if their internet connection can do it and finish timely without impacting the business functionality ('down'/slow internet). My last job the offsite would never finish before the next backup started. Literally mailboxes with 20+gb, and no interest to set a quota. I set one once and was threatened term. Now it is SEP.

Also Crashplan is $5?/mo which might be more practical then buying hardware+hosting+dealing with broken hardware.
 

Modder man

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It would appear that they has some local DNS issues, Upon resolving those peachtree runs much better....go figure network resources work better when DNS is working properly. If its not one thing its another with these guys.

Using the synology as a backup target would you just configure windows to use it as a backup target? As in set up to allow a backup and restore? Does this functionality work well with a synology, or should I just stick to file level backups and not whole machines?
 

scobar

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I would backup the server, and use folder redirection for the user's files to somewhere other than their desktops.

My priority would be:
Bare metal recovery for the server (and test it)
Ensure this backup is on site and off site.

User files would be next, and I would use folder redirection and house those files not on their machines and backup that target, weather they are redirected to the server or to the nas. But I would not fixate or engage on doing full backups of the client machines, you will go mad trying to maintain those backups and its just way more overhead, time, and space than needed.

Realistically you should be able to restore or re-image a machine and "bring back" their files. Their desktops should not be mission/business critical. Their server is.
 

Modder man

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Well i was a bit worried about some of the software configurations and such. They are small enough that there is no real image or anything like that. I was hoping to just do a full backup of each machine on a weekly schedule or something like that.
 

dave99

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The built in windows backup app will only keep 1 copy of the backup if the target is a NAS or other off machine device. That has some risks if you need to go back in time (like a crypto-whatever infection), or the 1 backup fails at the wrong time just when you need it.

I'd do both image and a separate file copy process (even just robocopy or something) to cover your bases.
 

Modder man

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So are you suggesting using the synology to perhaps just backup user folders and then also do a separate full machine backup through windows?
 

dave99

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Yes. I would try to backup all data files as your first backup process, using something like the synology time backup plugin to give you multiple file revisions in case of a malware issue that screws with your files that isn't noticed right away. It's really handy to have the ability to go back a couple of days or a week to find a particular version of a file.

And a 2nd backup process would be an image using the built-in backup app, which would be easier to work with if your hardware had an issue.
 
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