Venturing into Enterprise-grade servers

Posted on June, 20 2014

The smell of a fresh server SCREAMING WITH THE POWER OF TWO XEONS is a great way to start the day.

During my little adventures in my vocational class, I got to play with two Dell PowerEdge 1950's. Disregarding the brand, these two servers were pretty impressive. The servers specs included 2 Xeons, 16GB of RAM, a few Gigabit Ethernet ports, and a RAID card and 4 HDDs. The first logical step was to set up RAID for the hard drives.

The different options for RAID was an intimidating task to undergo, with terms such as "Stripe size" and "Dynamic cache" were new and interesting concepts. The goal for this server was to throw VMWare ESXi on one "OS" drive, two drives in RAID 1, and the last drive dedicated to backups.

The drives in RAID 1 would run various VMs handled by the OS. These VMs would run things such as SQL servers, web servers and various other environment-optimized applications. When it came to the OS for virtual machines, installing the toolkit for configuring the machines was the easy way. The corny name of vSphere Hypervisor is what ESXi uses for remote configuration, and it's what was used to set up a LAN of a laptop-server network to configure the proper Virtual Machines. Due to the demands of who we were setting the servers up for, Windows 7 was required for the SQL server (don't ask...). The Windows 7 template was configured to have the pagefile removed, Performance monitoring off and various other small teaks to lower the VMs impact on the server. After that, the first iteration of the server was practically complete.