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Building small lab for Microsoft Server and Cisco Certification practice

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm wanting to create myself a small lab environment for help studying for certification exams for Windows Server, Cisco CCNA and beyond.

I want to start with a server that has Windows Server 2012 R2 x64 installed on it. From being a student I have free versions of pretty much all Windows and Windows Server operating systems. I'm not sure if 2012 R2 is the best to use or just regular 2012. I also have Hyper-V Server 2012 and the R2 edition both in x64. So I am sure I could do a lot of my exercises using virtual machines.

As for the server hardware, I'm not spending the money on a rackmount server that needs upgrades when I already have enough spare parts to build a decent one. I have an Intel i5-3550 CPU and a Gigabyte Z77 motherboard for it to go into. I have enough RAM of the same model at 1600MHz to have 16GB in the server. I have at least one extra 120GB SSD that could be used as the boot drive. I also have a bunch of magnetic hard drives. They are 3x Seagate 7200.12 500GB SATA3 and 2x Western Digital Blue 750GB SATA3/64MB cache(WD7500AZEX). So I could use the 3 Seagate's in a RAID 5 array and the 2 WD's in a RAID 1 array for the server. I definitely want file server capabilities in this server so the 2x 750GB in RAID1 will probably be for the file server storage. Maybe the 3x500GB's could be for the Win Server boot drive backups.

The things I need to know is do I need more than 1 NIC in the server? This server is also going to be running Active Directory so I can play around with it as practice for the exam.

The server is going to be hooked up to a Cisco Router(not sure what model yet). Maybe the internet connection will come into the router...or whichever way is the cheapest for me. There will be just 1 Cisco switch(not sure which model yet) hooked up to the router, but I will be creating probably 3 vlans within the switch itself with encryption. I think 1 vlan will be dedicated to a wireless AP and the other 2 vlans will have at least one client hooked up to them one of which will be the server.

I'm wanting to do this as cheap as possible so I will be getting used Cisco equipment, but the router and switch needs to be capable of the most features/protocols/encryption types as possible that could be on the exams. I will probably use EIGRP as the routing protocol as I believe it is most popular in networks that have all Cisco equipment at their backbone.
Edited by Dark Volker - 6/29/14 at 2:34pm
   
Wife's rig
(9 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7-4790k 4.7GHz @ 1.299v, HT on Asus Maximus VII Hero, Z97 chipset EVGA GTX 750 TI FTW, Core 1375MHz, TDP 125W 16GB (2x8GB) G. Skill Trident X 1866MHz CL8 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Patriot Pyro 120GB, SATA 6Gb/s Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB, SATA 3Gb/s Liteon iHBS112-04 SATA BD burner 
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Wife's rig
(9 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7-4790k 4.7GHz @ 1.299v, HT on Asus Maximus VII Hero, Z97 chipset EVGA GTX 750 TI FTW, Core 1375MHz, TDP 125W 16GB (2x8GB) G. Skill Trident X 1866MHz CL8 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Patriot Pyro 120GB, SATA 6Gb/s Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB, SATA 3Gb/s Liteon iHBS112-04 SATA BD burner 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
XSPC Raystorm CPU Block XSPC Dual Bay res/pump - D5 Vario XSPC EX240mm radiator Bitspower White Rotary Compression Fittings x5 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Bitspower White 90° Rotary Compression Fitting x1 7/16" ID x 5/8" OD Clear Tubing XSPC Xinruilian 1650RPM x4, Push/Pull Corsair AF120 rear exhaust, White ring 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
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post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Volker View Post

I want to start with a server that has Windows Server 2012 R2 x64 installed on it. From being a student I have free versions of pretty much all Windows and Windows Server operating systems. I'm not sure if 2012 R2 is the best to use or just regular 2012. I also have Hyper-V Server 2012 and the R2 edition both in x64. So I am sure I could do a lot of my exercises using virtual machines.

Server 2012 R2 with hyper-v is best.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Volker View Post

As for the server hardware, I'm not spending the money on a rackmount server that needs upgrades when I already have enough spare parts to build a decent one. I have an Intel i5-3550 CPU and a Gigabyte Z77 motherboard for it to go into. I have enough RAM of the same model at 1600MHz to have 16GB in the server. I have at least one extra 120GB SSD that could be used as the boot drive. I also have a bunch of magnetic hard drives. They are 3x Seagate 7200.12 500GB SATA3 and 2x Western Digital Blue 750GB SATA3/64MB cache(WD7500AZEX). So I could use the 3 Seagate's in a RAID 5 array and the 2 WD's in a RAID 1 array for the server. I definitely want file server capabilities in this server so the 2x 750GB in RAID1 will probably be for the file server storage. Maybe the 3x500GB's could be for the Win Server boot drive backups.

The things I need to know is do I need more than 1 NIC in the server? This server is also going to be running Active Directory so I can play around with it as practice for the exam.

16GB is great for this and I wouldn't use the ssd for this; you could save it for something? Although getting a qualification would probably be the best use for the drive at the moment though.

The onboard Intel controller has a recommended maximum of 2 arrays for the controller so you should be fine. If you wanted to use the SSD use it for storing the VMs.

1 NIC would be fine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Volker View Post

The server is going to be hooked up to a Cisco Router(not sure what model yet). Maybe the internet connection will come into the router...or whichever way is the cheapest for me. There will be just 1 Cisco switch(not sure which model yet) hooked up to the router, but I will be creating probably 3 vlans within the switch itself with encryption. I think 1 vlan will be dedicated to a wireless AP and the other 2 vlans will have at least one client hooked up to them one of which will be the server.

I'm wanting to do this as cheap as possible so I will be getting used Cisco equipment, but the router and switch needs to be capable of the most features/protocols/encryption types as possible that could be on the exams. I will probably use EIGRP as the routing protocol as I believe it is most popular in networks that have all Cisco equipment at their backbone.

Have you considered using GNS3?
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vpex View Post


Have you considered using GNS3?

I have used RouterSim a lot. I would just stick with RouterSim, but since I am going to be setting up a server with AD...I want a network environment you would find in the field.

I'm not planning on getting the newest Cisco routers and switches.

I was thinking the Cisco 2811 router which I can get used for $100. Also, the Cisco 3560 switch which I can get for $100-$130 used. That would be the only 2 things I would have to purchase to build this small lab.
   
Wife's rig
(9 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7-4790k 4.7GHz @ 1.299v, HT on Asus Maximus VII Hero, Z97 chipset EVGA GTX 750 TI FTW, Core 1375MHz, TDP 125W 16GB (2x8GB) G. Skill Trident X 1866MHz CL8 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Patriot Pyro 120GB, SATA 6Gb/s Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB, SATA 3Gb/s Liteon iHBS112-04 SATA BD burner 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
XSPC Raystorm CPU Block XSPC Dual Bay res/pump - D5 Vario XSPC EX240mm radiator Bitspower White Rotary Compression Fittings x5 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Bitspower White 90° Rotary Compression Fitting x1 7/16" ID x 5/8" OD Clear Tubing XSPC Xinruilian 1650RPM x4, Push/Pull Corsair AF120 rear exhaust, White ring 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
NZXT Sentry 2 Fan Controller Windows 8.1 Pro x64 Samsung B2230HD @ 1920x1080 Gateway RT3604 
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Antec Earthwatts EA-650 Green Cooler Master HAF 932 Logitech G9x Wowpad by Microthin, Graphite surface for optical 
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4.1 surround sound speakers. 5.1 when using mon... Dual 12" Cold Cathode Kit--Ultra Bright UV tubes 
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Intel P9600 Chipset: Intel GM45 Express ATI Radeon HD3470 2x4GB PC3-8500 1066MHz DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
ADATA 120GB SATA3 SSD Western Digital Scorpio Blue 320GB 5400RPM (WD3... Factory laptop HSF Windows 8.1 Pro x64 
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Wife's rig
(9 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7-4790k 4.7GHz @ 1.299v, HT on Asus Maximus VII Hero, Z97 chipset EVGA GTX 750 TI FTW, Core 1375MHz, TDP 125W 16GB (2x8GB) G. Skill Trident X 1866MHz CL8 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Patriot Pyro 120GB, SATA 6Gb/s Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB, SATA 3Gb/s Liteon iHBS112-04 SATA BD burner 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
XSPC Raystorm CPU Block XSPC Dual Bay res/pump - D5 Vario XSPC EX240mm radiator Bitspower White Rotary Compression Fittings x5 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Bitspower White 90° Rotary Compression Fitting x1 7/16" ID x 5/8" OD Clear Tubing XSPC Xinruilian 1650RPM x4, Push/Pull Corsair AF120 rear exhaust, White ring 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
NZXT Sentry 2 Fan Controller Windows 8.1 Pro x64 Samsung B2230HD @ 1920x1080 Gateway RT3604 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Antec Earthwatts EA-650 Green Cooler Master HAF 932 Logitech G9x Wowpad by Microthin, Graphite surface for optical 
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4.1 surround sound speakers. 5.1 when using mon... Dual 12" Cold Cathode Kit--Ultra Bright UV tubes 
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Intel P9600 Chipset: Intel GM45 Express ATI Radeon HD3470 2x4GB PC3-8500 1066MHz DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
ADATA 120GB SATA3 SSD Western Digital Scorpio Blue 320GB 5400RPM (WD3... Factory laptop HSF Windows 8.1 Pro x64 
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post #4 of 14
Install server 2012 R2 on your hardware, and use Hyper-V to spin up a few other Server 2012 R2 VM's as needed for your studies. Assuming you are referring to the MCSA: Server 2012, as well as MCSE: Server Infrastructure, you will likely need 2-4 VM's on top of your host. One NIC would be fine, but more is always better.

As far as the Cisco studying, you actually don't need any physical hardware to study up through your CCNA. I'd recommend starting at the CCENT level, and using GNS3/Cisco Packet Tracer/RouterSim, and advance to your CCNA from there using the sims and maybe hardware. I also wouldn't recommend buying that old hardware and using it for your internet connection. Imagine you lost your config, but now your internet is down and you need to hop on Google to figure out how to fix it. Ooops.

Once you get your MCSE: Server Inf and/or CCNA, you will probably have to pick a path to specialize in more. Working as a Systems Administrator on Windows primarily, having your CCNA is nice, but you likely won't be touching any network equipment (unless you work for a small company), so the CCNA would expire and it would be hard to renew/continue on without touching hardware every so often. CCNP is worthless if you never touch network equipment; know what I'm saying?
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I know all this. I just thought it would be nice to have some of the hardware to work with at home.

As far as the certs...I already have an AAS in Computer Network Security & Administration. I've got my A+, Network + and Security+ CompTia Certifications. I also have the Windows 7 part of Microsoft MCSA, which is exams 70-680, 685. I had Cisco CCNA classes for 2 semesters as part of my associate's degree so I am going straight for my CCNA cert. CCENT is entry level and honestly a waste of my time. I'm taking my CCNA and CWNA exams next month and plan on some server and my Linux+ certs for August/Sept.

Right now I'm sick with pancreatic tumors so I can't work, but if my doctors ever get me well I plan to complete a bachelor's in computer engineering while I'm working.

So really the network administration/network design that I will be doing is just temporary until I complete the BS in Computer Engineering.
   
Wife's rig
(9 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7-4790k 4.7GHz @ 1.299v, HT on Asus Maximus VII Hero, Z97 chipset EVGA GTX 750 TI FTW, Core 1375MHz, TDP 125W 16GB (2x8GB) G. Skill Trident X 1866MHz CL8 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Patriot Pyro 120GB, SATA 6Gb/s Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB, SATA 3Gb/s Liteon iHBS112-04 SATA BD burner 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
XSPC Raystorm CPU Block XSPC Dual Bay res/pump - D5 Vario XSPC EX240mm radiator Bitspower White Rotary Compression Fittings x5 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Bitspower White 90° Rotary Compression Fitting x1 7/16" ID x 5/8" OD Clear Tubing XSPC Xinruilian 1650RPM x4, Push/Pull Corsair AF120 rear exhaust, White ring 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
NZXT Sentry 2 Fan Controller Windows 8.1 Pro x64 Samsung B2230HD @ 1920x1080 Gateway RT3604 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Antec Earthwatts EA-650 Green Cooler Master HAF 932 Logitech G9x Wowpad by Microthin, Graphite surface for optical 
AudioOther
4.1 surround sound speakers. 5.1 when using mon... Dual 12" Cold Cathode Kit--Ultra Bright UV tubes 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel P9600 Chipset: Intel GM45 Express ATI Radeon HD3470 2x4GB PC3-8500 1066MHz DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
ADATA 120GB SATA3 SSD Western Digital Scorpio Blue 320GB 5400RPM (WD3... Factory laptop HSF Windows 8.1 Pro x64 
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Wife's rig
(9 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7-4790k 4.7GHz @ 1.299v, HT on Asus Maximus VII Hero, Z97 chipset EVGA GTX 750 TI FTW, Core 1375MHz, TDP 125W 16GB (2x8GB) G. Skill Trident X 1866MHz CL8 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Patriot Pyro 120GB, SATA 6Gb/s Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB, SATA 3Gb/s Liteon iHBS112-04 SATA BD burner 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
XSPC Raystorm CPU Block XSPC Dual Bay res/pump - D5 Vario XSPC EX240mm radiator Bitspower White Rotary Compression Fittings x5 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Bitspower White 90° Rotary Compression Fitting x1 7/16" ID x 5/8" OD Clear Tubing XSPC Xinruilian 1650RPM x4, Push/Pull Corsair AF120 rear exhaust, White ring 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
NZXT Sentry 2 Fan Controller Windows 8.1 Pro x64 Samsung B2230HD @ 1920x1080 Gateway RT3604 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Antec Earthwatts EA-650 Green Cooler Master HAF 932 Logitech G9x Wowpad by Microthin, Graphite surface for optical 
AudioOther
4.1 surround sound speakers. 5.1 when using mon... Dual 12" Cold Cathode Kit--Ultra Bright UV tubes 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel P9600 Chipset: Intel GM45 Express ATI Radeon HD3470 2x4GB PC3-8500 1066MHz DDR3 
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ADATA 120GB SATA3 SSD Western Digital Scorpio Blue 320GB 5400RPM (WD3... Factory laptop HSF Windows 8.1 Pro x64 
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post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Volker View Post

Yeah, I know all this. I just thought it would be nice to have some of the hardware to work with at home.

As far as the certs...I already have an AAS in Computer Network Security & Administration. I've got my A+, Network + and Security+ CompTia Certifications. I also have the Windows 7 part of Microsoft MCSA, which is exams 70-680, 685. I had Cisco CCNA classes for 2 semesters as part of my associate's degree so I am going straight for my CCNA cert. CCENT is entry level and honestly a waste of my time. I'm taking my CCNA and CWNA exams next month and plan on some server and my Linux+ certs for August/Sept.

Right now I'm sick with pancreatic tumors so I can't work, but if my doctors ever get me well I plan to complete a bachelor's in computer engineering while I'm working.

So really the network administration/network design that I will be doing is just temporary until I complete the BS in Computer Engineering.



I think you will be just fine with older cisco devices. Plus if you want to backup a config just tftp it to your server environment. Then you can look over it. Once you are on cisco devices long enough you figure out how to make your way through the prompts pretty well. In my opinion, the IOS is way superior to Server 2012 Core edition with how intuitive the command line is with hits help. Honestly, 2 switches and 1 router would get you through the CCNA. I had a 1841 Router, and i think a 2811 Switch? Either way it was more than enough as the CCNA doesn't cover complex networking environments. The furthest into that it ventures is Spanning Tree Protocol which was confusing to me at first, but once it clicks it is there for good. Beyond that it is just routing.

For my MCSA i can only speak lightly on as i am just venturing into that myself. You don't really need anything extravagant. I was running my VM's on my i7 2600k WHILE GAMING and having no issues. BF4 included. The i5 should be more than sufficient. However i just purchased a dedicated box as i wanted to create my own domain, and you don't want to run a DC in a VM on the machine that joined it. So i bought a physical box for this. From experience at work, we run Quad cores with 20GB of RAM, and run 4-7 VM's on one of those servers. So the hardware you stated should be sufficient unless you get into SQL servers or a WSUS(They are RAM hogs).

Hope this helps!
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post #7 of 14
good,I had Cisco CCNA classes for 2 semesters as part of my associate's degree so I am going straight for my CCNA cert. CCENT is entry level and honestly a waste of my time. I'm taking my CCNA and CWNA exams next month and plan on some server and my Linux+ certs for August/Sept.thanks 43.gif
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
So now I'm wanting to get a server going.

I've had a home server before basically just for backups and as a file server. I was using Windows Home Server 2011, but I'm going to be using Windows Server 2012 R2 this time.

I know some of these questions have probably been answered many times but I'm not finding answers to my exact questions. My main question is what drivers I should use for Windows Server 2012 R2. The motherboard I am going to use only has drivers for operating systems like...Vista, Win7, Win8 and Win8.1. So should I use the Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 drivers provided by my motherboard manufacturer for this Server 2012 R2 machine?

Components going into server:
  • Intel i5-2500
  • 32GB DDR3 1333MHz RAM
  • Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H
  • GPU will just be the on-board i5-2500 graphics with Mobo's HDMI output
  • Antec EA-500D PSU
  • ADATA 128GB SATA3 SSD (Boot Drive)
  • 3x 500GB Seagate 7200.12 SATA3 RAID5 (data / file server drives) -- on Intel controller
  • 2x 750GB WD Blue WD7500AZEX SATA3 Spanned/JBOD (backup) -- on Marvell controller..will use RAID0 if JBOD isn't supported by Marvell controller
  • Mid-Tower Cooler Master 330U Elite case
  • External USB 3.0 2TB backup drive

Another question I have is for the SSD/RAID5 array. There are 2 SATA3 and 4 SATA2 ports for the Intel RAID controller. I am thinking that I should connect the SSD to one of the SATA3 Intel ports and the 3 drives for RAID5 into the SATA2 ports since there aren't enough SATA3 ports. Does this sound like the best way of configuring all my storage drives for this rig?

The external drive is basically just going to be a 2nd backup.

I'll probably think of more questions later, but I'm going to start putting the server together this weekend and just get the RAID arrays configured and install Server 2012 on the SSD.

I will also be using Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 on this server so that is why I'm going with 32GB RAM instead of 8GB or 16GB.
   
Wife's rig
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7-4790k 4.7GHz @ 1.299v, HT on Asus Maximus VII Hero, Z97 chipset EVGA GTX 750 TI FTW, Core 1375MHz, TDP 125W 16GB (2x8GB) G. Skill Trident X 1866MHz CL8 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Patriot Pyro 120GB, SATA 6Gb/s Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB, SATA 3Gb/s Liteon iHBS112-04 SATA BD burner 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
XSPC Raystorm CPU Block XSPC Dual Bay res/pump - D5 Vario XSPC EX240mm radiator Bitspower White Rotary Compression Fittings x5 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Bitspower White 90° Rotary Compression Fitting x1 7/16" ID x 5/8" OD Clear Tubing XSPC Xinruilian 1650RPM x4, Push/Pull Corsair AF120 rear exhaust, White ring 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
NZXT Sentry 2 Fan Controller Windows 8.1 Pro x64 Samsung B2230HD @ 1920x1080 Gateway RT3604 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Antec Earthwatts EA-650 Green Cooler Master HAF 932 Logitech G9x Wowpad by Microthin, Graphite surface for optical 
AudioOther
4.1 surround sound speakers. 5.1 when using mon... Dual 12" Cold Cathode Kit--Ultra Bright UV tubes 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel P9600 Chipset: Intel GM45 Express ATI Radeon HD3470 2x4GB PC3-8500 1066MHz DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
ADATA 120GB SATA3 SSD Western Digital Scorpio Blue 320GB 5400RPM (WD3... Factory laptop HSF Windows 8.1 Pro x64 
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Wife's rig
(9 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7-4790k 4.7GHz @ 1.299v, HT on Asus Maximus VII Hero, Z97 chipset EVGA GTX 750 TI FTW, Core 1375MHz, TDP 125W 16GB (2x8GB) G. Skill Trident X 1866MHz CL8 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Patriot Pyro 120GB, SATA 6Gb/s Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB, SATA 3Gb/s Liteon iHBS112-04 SATA BD burner 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
XSPC Raystorm CPU Block XSPC Dual Bay res/pump - D5 Vario XSPC EX240mm radiator Bitspower White Rotary Compression Fittings x5 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Bitspower White 90° Rotary Compression Fitting x1 7/16" ID x 5/8" OD Clear Tubing XSPC Xinruilian 1650RPM x4, Push/Pull Corsair AF120 rear exhaust, White ring 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
NZXT Sentry 2 Fan Controller Windows 8.1 Pro x64 Samsung B2230HD @ 1920x1080 Gateway RT3604 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Antec Earthwatts EA-650 Green Cooler Master HAF 932 Logitech G9x Wowpad by Microthin, Graphite surface for optical 
AudioOther
4.1 surround sound speakers. 5.1 when using mon... Dual 12" Cold Cathode Kit--Ultra Bright UV tubes 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel P9600 Chipset: Intel GM45 Express ATI Radeon HD3470 2x4GB PC3-8500 1066MHz DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
ADATA 120GB SATA3 SSD Western Digital Scorpio Blue 320GB 5400RPM (WD3... Factory laptop HSF Windows 8.1 Pro x64 
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14.1" LCD Logitech Wireless Mouse M310(Indigo Scroll) 
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post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Volker View Post

So now I'm wanting to get a server going.

I've had a home server before basically just for backups and as a file server. I was using Windows Home Server 2011, but I'm going to be using Windows Server 2012 R2 this time.

I know some of these questions have probably been answered many times but I'm not finding answers to my exact questions. My main question is what drivers I should use for Windows Server 2012 R2. The motherboard I am going to use only has drivers for operating systems like...Vista, Win7, Win8 and Win8.1. So should I use the Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 drivers provided by my motherboard manufacturer for this Server 2012 R2 machine?

Components going into server:
  • Intel i5-2500
  • 32GB DDR3 1333MHz RAM
  • Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H
  • GPU will just be the on-board i5-2500 graphics with Mobo's HDMI output
  • Antec EA-500D PSU
  • ADATA 128GB SATA3 SSD (Boot Drive)
  • 3x 500GB Seagate 7200.12 SATA3 RAID5 (data / file server drives) -- on Intel controller
  • 2x 750GB WD Blue WD7500AZEX SATA3 Spanned/JBOD (backup) -- on Marvell controller..will use RAID0 if JBOD isn't supported by Marvell controller
  • Mid-Tower Cooler Master 330U Elite case
  • External USB 3.0 2TB backup drive

Another question I have is for the SSD/RAID5 array. There are 2 SATA3 and 4 SATA2 ports for the Intel RAID controller. I am thinking that I should connect the SSD to one of the SATA3 Intel ports and the 3 drives for RAID5 into the SATA2 ports since there aren't enough SATA3 ports. Does this sound like the best way of configuring all my storage drives for this rig?

The external drive is basically just going to be a 2nd backup.

I'll probably think of more questions later, but I'm going to start putting the server together this weekend and just get the RAID arrays configured and install Server 2012 on the SSD.

I will also be using Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 on this server so that is why I'm going with 32GB RAM instead of 8GB or 16GB.

Windows 8.1 drives would be the closest to Server 2012 R2 (same kernel, NT 6.3).

You are correct with your RAID setup, keep the SSD on the SATA3 port(s), and spindles on SATA2. You really won't notice a difference if those SATA drives were on SATA3, versus SATA2.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tycoonbob View Post

Windows 8.1 drives would be the closest to Server 2012 R2 (same kernel, NT 6.3).

You are correct with your RAID setup, keep the SSD on the SATA3 port(s), and spindles on SATA2. You really won't notice a difference if those SATA drives were on SATA3, versus SATA2.

Thanks! I didn't think about it but wouldn't Windows Server 2012 R2 automatically install drivers same as Win7/8 does?

I was wondering if I should just do RAID0 for the 3x 500GB drives instead of RAID5 since I will have 2 different backups? Or maybe RAID5 is best so I have less downtime if a drive fails?
   
Wife's rig
(9 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7-4790k 4.7GHz @ 1.299v, HT on Asus Maximus VII Hero, Z97 chipset EVGA GTX 750 TI FTW, Core 1375MHz, TDP 125W 16GB (2x8GB) G. Skill Trident X 1866MHz CL8 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Patriot Pyro 120GB, SATA 6Gb/s Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB, SATA 3Gb/s Liteon iHBS112-04 SATA BD burner 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
XSPC Raystorm CPU Block XSPC Dual Bay res/pump - D5 Vario XSPC EX240mm radiator Bitspower White Rotary Compression Fittings x5 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Bitspower White 90° Rotary Compression Fitting x1 7/16" ID x 5/8" OD Clear Tubing XSPC Xinruilian 1650RPM x4, Push/Pull Corsair AF120 rear exhaust, White ring 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
NZXT Sentry 2 Fan Controller Windows 8.1 Pro x64 Samsung B2230HD @ 1920x1080 Gateway RT3604 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Antec Earthwatts EA-650 Green Cooler Master HAF 932 Logitech G9x Wowpad by Microthin, Graphite surface for optical 
AudioOther
4.1 surround sound speakers. 5.1 when using mon... Dual 12" Cold Cathode Kit--Ultra Bright UV tubes 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel P9600 Chipset: Intel GM45 Express ATI Radeon HD3470 2x4GB PC3-8500 1066MHz DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
ADATA 120GB SATA3 SSD Western Digital Scorpio Blue 320GB 5400RPM (WD3... Factory laptop HSF Windows 8.1 Pro x64 
MonitorMouse
14.1" LCD Logitech Wireless Mouse M310(Indigo Scroll) 
  hide details  
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Wife's rig
(9 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7-4790k 4.7GHz @ 1.299v, HT on Asus Maximus VII Hero, Z97 chipset EVGA GTX 750 TI FTW, Core 1375MHz, TDP 125W 16GB (2x8GB) G. Skill Trident X 1866MHz CL8 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Patriot Pyro 120GB, SATA 6Gb/s Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB, SATA 3Gb/s Liteon iHBS112-04 SATA BD burner 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
XSPC Raystorm CPU Block XSPC Dual Bay res/pump - D5 Vario XSPC EX240mm radiator Bitspower White Rotary Compression Fittings x5 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Bitspower White 90° Rotary Compression Fitting x1 7/16" ID x 5/8" OD Clear Tubing XSPC Xinruilian 1650RPM x4, Push/Pull Corsair AF120 rear exhaust, White ring 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
NZXT Sentry 2 Fan Controller Windows 8.1 Pro x64 Samsung B2230HD @ 1920x1080 Gateway RT3604 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Antec Earthwatts EA-650 Green Cooler Master HAF 932 Logitech G9x Wowpad by Microthin, Graphite surface for optical 
AudioOther
4.1 surround sound speakers. 5.1 when using mon... Dual 12" Cold Cathode Kit--Ultra Bright UV tubes 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel P9600 Chipset: Intel GM45 Express ATI Radeon HD3470 2x4GB PC3-8500 1066MHz DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
ADATA 120GB SATA3 SSD Western Digital Scorpio Blue 320GB 5400RPM (WD3... Factory laptop HSF Windows 8.1 Pro x64 
MonitorMouse
14.1" LCD Logitech Wireless Mouse M310(Indigo Scroll) 
  hide details  
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