Zero cost server change up

Hi all, interesting little challenge this one.

My wife works for a very small company, and like most small businesses they have taken a significant hit in cash flow during COVID.

That being said they have hung in there and are building a strong base once more.

Before lock down my enterprise donated two HP servers to the business, these were already very long in the tooth, but better than the desktops they were running for business applications etc

Both are gold Xeon duel builds one has 128gb memory and is SAS driven, the other has only 16gb memory and is 3.5" SATA.

The 128gb server I have running HyperV with …

AD domain controller / DNS / DHCP VM
SQL Server 2016 VM with their CRM and SAGE DBs
Windows 11 VM for shared access to the SQL Srv

The 16gb server just a file server. Plain and simple

They also have two Synologys

RS820+ running Active backup and C2 off-site
RS1619xs+ with 40TB Raid5 and 32gb mem doing nothing.

The challenge is that both the HP servers are dying, mostly the HyperV. 4 disk failures in the last 2 months and memory bank failures too.

This is my plan, and I’d like some help in planning what order to proceed.

Use the RS1619xs+ as the main file server, and run directory server, DNS and DHCP there. Also to run the Windows 11 VM for shared access to the SQL server.

Use the file server with the remaining good memory installed to build a physical SQL Server instance and put the databases on that.

Use the RS820+ as a secondary domain, DNS and DHCP server, keeping is function as the backup system local and off site.

Is this the way to go? I’ve never moved a SQL database before, my assumption is follow the guidelines off back it all up and restore the data to the physical box. As I have a full VM backup and a full data backup. Is it possible to restore the VM to a physical box and just have windows deal with the drivers changes etc? Could it be that easy?

Any input would be great. Thanks in advance

The RS1619xs+ CPU is going to be really slow for virtualization. You can move Windows from virtual to physical but it can be a pain due to the drivers.

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Thanks for the reply Tom, its not out of choice tbh, but with zero budget i’ll have to do what i can, the best way i can i guess.

Wait, the current servers are running in Hyper-V? Can’t you just export those VM as a VHD (not vhdx)? If so you can directly import into XCP-NG, but as Tom mentioned, drivers can be an issue. You might try installing the drivers first, then create the VHD. Same thing would probably apply to VMware if you decided to move them to that platform, not sure about Proxmox, maybe it can import, maybe not, I’ve never used it.

Also, the RAM is probably fine, but what you might be getting is the CPU socket is pushing the pins off the CPU. I had a huge problem with this on some old Server/Workstation class boxes that we used for video editing. I’d lose a RAM module, send the computer back for warranty, report would come back of bent pin. It was happening so often that I finally started doing the repair myself, and yup there really were bent pins that address the RAM module in question. Theory was heat cycles and vibration. My theory was that they just used extra cheap sockets.

That said, HP normally uses higher quality stuff and you don’t normally find this in their products.

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Hey Greg_E, thanks for this information, i will certainly take a look at this as the server is old an dhas been shipped a few times in its life, and so its possible something like this might have happened. The drive losses are a concern as im now running out of these and the RAID is nearly its capacity for loss. Server / HDD isnt really an option as both cost money. Its a total pinch point i didnt really want to be at.

The AD could be run on many of the “mini PC” that you can buy for a few hundred dollars, I’d look at n5105 and faster processors. Not sure about the database, but it might work on the same. And one for a Win11 shared access is what many are using as standard (Win11 Pro with “real” license). I’ve been using the MeLe brand for my lab and so far so good, the oldest is about 2 years old (Quieter 2Q) and runs Zentyal for the AD work.

That said, licensing might be a hassle, you’d need to look at what you own and if it can be transferred to different hardware. Same really applies to the VMs, for a while Microsoft was giving you 5 free VMs when you ran on Hyper V, I think it required Datacenter but it might have changed.

Somewhere down the road some money will need to be spent. Look and see if SuperMicro sells direct where you live, I find I can build up a pretty good system right from their store. Then you only need to deal with OS licensing. I have found that drive prices at Supermicro are as good as any, they buy a lot of drives and get good volume pricing.

With a bunch of work, you might be able to move this to Zentyal for the AD, DNS, DHCP, etc. Set up a Linux box and run MySQL or MariaDB. And then figure out how you want to handle access to the DB. People will probably complain about Zentyal, but it offers a real certification book that normal people can buy, learning is not a problem. DHCP and DNS are not as simple to set up as a Windows system (especially DHCP reservations), but not something that is horribly complex either. For very small systems, I see nothing wrong with using it to save a little money (community edition). If you need to pay for it, you might as well buy a new Datacenter license and build/move everything in Hyper V again.

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Hi All,

Just thought i’d close this thread off by posting the final solutions put in place.

Short version is I move the file server, the DC roles and DNS roles to synology. Primary is the RS1619xs+, and the backup is RS820+. Files serving as you can imagine is just fine, Directory and DNS services will take some getting used to for sure, but for now seem to operate well.

I ended up making one useable server out of two. And keeping HyperV running for now as its a datacenter license and covers the two VMs still running, being the SQL server and Win11 machine for now.