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OCS 2007 R2 Server Hardware Specifications

    Question

  • Hi,

    I’m trying to produce an OCS 2007 R2 solution for around 8,000 (mostly IM only) users (with very limited audio and video requirements and restricted to peer-to-peer only). I also need CWA, Monitoring (only CDR needed) and Archiving (to be used only when needed for a few users) but no Federation and no externally connecting users (so no director or edge etc)

    The problem I am having is despite trimming this down, I need to further reduce the number of servers, specs of the hardware and ideally re-use the kit we have for the current LCS solution.

    The servers required so far are:

    1 x Front End
    1 x Backend SQL
    1 x Monitoring / Archiving
    1 x CWA server

    All of these need 8 CPU cores and 8 GB RAM which seems to me to be over the top. (with exception of FrontEnd maybe)

    If these were all rack servers the cost wouldn’t be too bad but I have to have fault tolerant san boot blades in a n+1 config and complete duplication at a DR site to meet our standard setup.

    The existing servers have 4 CPU cores and 4 GB RAM. I can upgrade the RAM in these but there are no available slots for CPUs so this will mean all new blades to meet Microsoft’s specification. I have noticed that in the virtualisation guide Microsoft specify 4 virtual CPUs so I cannot see why it would not be supported to use 4 CPU cores on a physical server? I can possibly justify the cost of one new server to meet the required spec (then use for front end?) but no more than that. Does anyone have any advice on whether I could drop the specs on some roles such as CWA or back end while still having a supported configuration?

    I also fail to see why the minimum spec for SQL has changed especially if I was to use 2005 32 bit as surely nothing has changed from R1?

    I also need to lose at least one server so I’m thinking of putting the Monitoring and Archiving roles onto the back end SQL server. The co-location support guide ( http://technet.microsoft.com/hi-in/library/dd425201(en-us,office.13).aspx ) doest list this as a supported configuration but it doesn’t say that these cannot be co-located. Given it’s supported for standard edition server I cannot see why it would be in this case?

    Would anyone recommend this as an option to reduce server numbers or would there be another way?

    With our LCS solution we have CWA on the front end and archiving on SQL which works fine and only uses 2 servers.
    I’d have liked to have virtualized some of the roles but that would also leave us with an unsupported configuration.

    If I cannot resolve the issue I’m going to have to go for OCS 2007 R1 which is very disappointing  given I’m sure R2 would work perfectly on this hardware!

    If anyone has any advice or comments it’d be much appreciated

    Thanks
    Pete

    Friday, December 11, 2009 4:54 PM

Answers

  • Practically speaking, you can get away with less hardware than 8GB RAM / 8 CPU cores. And you could most likely virtualize CWA and Monitoring - with the assumption that if you saw major performance issues, you'd upgrade hardware and stand up physical server in place of virtuals. If you have only enough cash for one phyiscal server, I'd make it the front-end.

    Most of the restrictions on VM are related to audio / video because it performs so poorly when virtualized. CDR and Archiving, when enabled for thousands of users also tends to perform poorly when virtualized due to the constant database activity.

    One of the main reasons MS is suggesting 8GB RAM / 8 cores is that in R2, they really want the deployment model to be "all front-end roles on all servers". This reduces deployment complexity - something people complained about a lot in with R1. This way, if you need to scale to support more users, you just add 1 more identitcal server to the farm & don't worry about separate AV servers or Web Conf servers. Plus R2 has introduced a lot of new services on the front end: outside voice control, conferencing attendant, repsonse groups etc. Most of them are voice related.

    So in your situation - with 8000 users just doing IM and presence - you'd most likely be ok with 4GB RAM and 4 Cores. That's only my opinion though. The problem is that you're going to paint yourself into a corner... when people start asking for more voice/video/web conferencing you're not going to be in a position to easily deliver it. You'll end up needing to buy recommended hardware at that point.

    Like I said, that's just my opinion. If you want to know if MS will officially support you & you're concerned about that - I'd open up a low-priority ticket with PSS and run this all by them.

    Regards,
    Matt

    Matt McGillen, PointBridge - https://blogs.pointbridge.com/Blogs/mcgillen_matt/default.aspx
    • Proposed as answer by Gavin-ZhangModerator Thursday, December 17, 2009 10:20 AM
    • Marked as answer by ___pete Thursday, December 17, 2009 5:25 PM
    Friday, December 11, 2009 10:34 PM

All replies

  • Practically speaking, you can get away with less hardware than 8GB RAM / 8 CPU cores. And you could most likely virtualize CWA and Monitoring - with the assumption that if you saw major performance issues, you'd upgrade hardware and stand up physical server in place of virtuals. If you have only enough cash for one phyiscal server, I'd make it the front-end.

    Most of the restrictions on VM are related to audio / video because it performs so poorly when virtualized. CDR and Archiving, when enabled for thousands of users also tends to perform poorly when virtualized due to the constant database activity.

    One of the main reasons MS is suggesting 8GB RAM / 8 cores is that in R2, they really want the deployment model to be "all front-end roles on all servers". This reduces deployment complexity - something people complained about a lot in with R1. This way, if you need to scale to support more users, you just add 1 more identitcal server to the farm & don't worry about separate AV servers or Web Conf servers. Plus R2 has introduced a lot of new services on the front end: outside voice control, conferencing attendant, repsonse groups etc. Most of them are voice related.

    So in your situation - with 8000 users just doing IM and presence - you'd most likely be ok with 4GB RAM and 4 Cores. That's only my opinion though. The problem is that you're going to paint yourself into a corner... when people start asking for more voice/video/web conferencing you're not going to be in a position to easily deliver it. You'll end up needing to buy recommended hardware at that point.

    Like I said, that's just my opinion. If you want to know if MS will officially support you & you're concerned about that - I'd open up a low-priority ticket with PSS and run this all by them.

    Regards,
    Matt

    Matt McGillen, PointBridge - https://blogs.pointbridge.com/Blogs/mcgillen_matt/default.aspx
    • Proposed as answer by Gavin-ZhangModerator Thursday, December 17, 2009 10:20 AM
    • Marked as answer by ___pete Thursday, December 17, 2009 5:25 PM
    Friday, December 11, 2009 10:34 PM
  • Thanks Matt and Gavin for your replies, this has helped me out. I still havent been able to come to a final conlclusion as Im costing my options and will then decide!
    Thursday, December 17, 2009 5:28 PM