Last week, on June 15th at 3 A.M. our server decided that it is time to retire the hard drive carrying the operating system and let it issue nothing more than the well-known sound of crashed heads. Goodbye Gandalf, you modest fellow who served our purposes well since December 2003.
We're currently running on a hastily set up backup system. That is, our WLAN access point has become the primary DSL router and Marci reinstalled the server on a 40 GB hard disk uselessly mounted in an even older server machine. Of course, the interim solution is not as well configured as one might expect: applications and services are missing, shares are non-existent, IIS MIME types are not set, ... the list goes on.
The rest of the hardware we've been running on will be taken out of service as well because a Dual Celeron 466 is just not what we need (anymore). We've already ordered a new server, a Dell PowerEdge SC430. Apparently, it's the smallest server manufactured by Dell, but a Pentium D 820 (Dual Core 2,8 GHz) with 1,5 GB of ECC'd RAM and a 80 GB RAID 1 should be enough for our demands.
I've already finished preparing and testing the Windows Server 2003 R2 installation CD that was customized using nLite. It's a graphical tool that creates an ISO image based on the original installation media. Speaking of customization, you can create a fully unattended setup including device drivers, service packs and hotfixes. There is a vast amount of other options to pre-configure the user experience, add hidden or remove unwanted functionality. For instance, Windows Media Player is not really needed on a server machine, whereas IIS should be installed by default. Pretty neat!
Let's see if the machine behaves well until the new PowerEdge (named Arwen) comes to life!