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Building a SBS 2011 server for a small law firm

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hello,

I need to set up SBS 2011 for a small law firm. They have about 10 users. This is the spec I have so far:

Dell PowerEdge T620 (New chassis that recently came out)
Xeon E5-2620 2.00GHz, 15M Cache, 7.2GT/s QPI, Turbo, 6C 95W
4x 4GB UDIMM, 1333 MHz, Low Volt, Dual Rank, x8
SBS 2011 Standard Edition
RAID 1+RAID 5 for H710P/H710/H310 (2 + 3-30 HDDs)
PERC H710P Integrated RAID Controller, 1GB NV Cache, Full Height
Dual, Hot-plug, Redundant Power Supply (1+1), 750W

I was wondering if I should do 2 x 600GB 15K RPM SAS 6Gbps 3.5in Hot-plug Hard Drive for the OS partition (about 150GB) (RAID 1) and use the remainder to use as the Exchange data partition

For the RAID 5 I was thinking of getting 4 x 1TB 7.2K RPM Near-Line SAS 3.5in Hot-plug Hard Drive. 1 drive will be a hot spare. This will mostly be used as a file server. I'll partition it out so about 300 GB will be used for Static data and the remainder will be for their case files and other data.

Is it ok to partition the RAID 1 as I mentioned, or is it best to have the Exchange data files on a completely different RAID? If so, do I have to use 15K SAS drives for the Exchange data files. Will they see a significant performance loss if I use the Near-line SAS drives. This is really my primary concern.

I've set up several SBS 2003 and SBS 2008 servers in the past and I've always used 15K SAS drives if I knew the client wanted to use Exchange. I would install the Exchange program files on the C partition, but the Exchange data files would be on the RAID 5 partion. I was just wandering with the newer motherboards, RAID controllers, and hard drives, will i be able to save money by using 7.2K Near-line SAS? (Sorry if I'm asking the same question twice, getting a little tired hear)

I appreciate any help on this matter.
post #2 of 6
My Normal setup for exchange:

RAID 1 - OS and Exch Install

RAID 5 - Exch DB's, data and logs

Partitioning your RAID 1 OS array is possible, you have redundancy from the mirror. But you will get better performance from the RAID 5 array. RAID 1 has slightly slower performance because you are writing the data twice although with 15K SAS itmay perform better than your RAID 5, Also depends how busy your exchange is and how much data there is?

I try not to do anything that can cause an issue on the OS mirror so keep it purely for for the OS and App installs. But I understand that you want to use the available space.

These days I do everything virtually on hugely redundant SANs so the above doesn't really apply to me anymore! With the space you have from the SAS drives, have you considered virtualisation?
     
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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
So would it be ok to use 7.2k near-line sas for the RAID 5 where the exchange DB will reside?
post #4 of 6
For you're exchange DB it will be fine.

The disadvantage of 7.2K nearline disks is that they will reach the max IOs befroe the 15K ones. But for a small firms Exch DB it will be fine.

The general rule of thumb is not taking into account costs..

Use 7.2K RPM when capacity is your number one goal and performance not really a goal.
Use 15K RPM when performance is your number one goal, and capacity secondary.

talking redundancy, 7.2K disks fail far more often than 15K disks and RAID 5 rebuild times aren't great.

The choice is yours, either option is sufficient. If you have penty of space and no other use for it on the 15K RAID 1, use that, but ensure it is on a seperate partition. My days of building physical servers are gone, back when the maximum, realistically priced 15K SAS disks were 146GB and this option didn't really exist.

Most important thing with Exchange is that if there is an issue it will dump huge numbers of log files so make sure your logs are not on the same disk as the OS, this is the most common issue I have ever had in the last 12 years with Exchange that can cause major problems.

Is there anything else to run on this server, or simply Exchange?
     
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
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post #5 of 6
I would personally recommend either 10K or 15K SAS disks for reliability and overall performance over 7.2K SATA or Near-Line SAS, especially in a production environment. However, this all strictly depends on budget of course.

RAID 1 is fine for the OS and either RAID 10 or 5 would be fine for the Exchange database and transaction Logs, however as others have stated, it would be best to have the database and log files on a set of separate disks, Obviously going RAID 10 would save some money over RAID 5, plus give you good performance.

If you are using SBS then I am assuming that you plan on using the other roles and services, such as Sharepoint, DHCP, Windows Backup etc?
post #6 of 6
Which version of Exchange? 3/7/10? Standard?

For 10 users I doubt there would be any performance issues.
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