Windows 2003 Domain setup

Posted on 2005-05-16
Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I'm building a windows 2003 domain for a small business, they currently have a 1.3athlon with 1GB ram running windows 2000, AD/DNS/IIS/Exchange 2000/SQL 2000/Print Server/File Server.
Performance has been declining even with only 15 users.  Exchange is by far the biggest drain on that server, consuming nearly 700mb of the ram.  I reset the machine every week to avoid 100% memory usage.  It is time for something new and now i understand why all of those server elements should not be on one machine.

I have a dual opteron 242, 1gb ram, 2x 120gb sata in raid 1 which i was planning to put AD/DNS/DHCP/Print Server/File Server/SUS/RRAS on.
And then another opteron 242, 1gb ram, 2x120gb sata in raid 1 with IIS/Exchange2003/LCS2005/SQL2000

Does this seem like a good breakdown between the 2 servers? or should the second server have the dual opterons?  This will be accomodating around 20 users, with 2 network printers, 1 multifucntion printer, wireless access point, and custom build sql application.  I'd appreciate any feedback, specifically on how exchange and sql coexist on one server under realistic load.

Question by:manimal89
    LVL 12

    Assisted Solution

    You would be much better off getting cheaper hardware, and split those up more. Even a meager 700mhz machine with a good slice of ram could handle any one or two of those jobs - so possibly I'd look into purchasing 2 cheaper systems for the money of the one new machine

    Assisted Solution

    I would use your dual opteron with Exchange2003 and move the SQL2000 software to the other server.  Having both databases on one server will ultimatly bog down your memory even with more processing power.  

    Here's the breakdown:

    Dual Opteron:  AD, DNS, DHCP, EXCHANGE2003, LCS2005, IIS
    Single Opteron: Print Server, File Server, SUS, RRAS, SQL2000

    You might even think about moving IIS to the Single Opteron server.

    Hope this helps,

    LVL 3

    Assisted Solution

    I agree with the Heem14. No need to have all the services die simultaneously when Exchange sucks up all the memory or when SQL decides to hang and they both need to be rebooted.

    Get some 1U rackmount servers for under $1000 and break up the second server more. Especially since IIS, Exchange and SQL can be so resource hungry.

    If SQL is not going to be a big load, put it on the DC and make Exchange its own box. That leaves IIS and LCS on one box, Exchange all alone on another and AD/DNS/DHCP/Print and File Services (and possibly SQL) on another server. That would be my breakdown. Unless SQL can also be on its own. Then you have 4 servers and the best layout for troubleshooting...

    Good luck,

    LVL 32

    Assisted Solution

    "Exchange is by far the biggest drain on that server, consuming nearly 700mb of the ram.  I reset the machine every week to avoid 100% memory usage."

    Note that Exchange using all available memory is by design. It should free up memory as needed by other applications. In other words, this should not degrade your performance, and you need not reset your system every week.

    See, e.g.:,295199,sid63_gci988113,00.html
    LVL 4

    Accepted Solution

    All the sugestions are very good but you don't need dual systems. get the highest single proccessors systems you can and put more ram in them. Use anywhere from 2 to 4 GB and you will see better results than the duals with 1GB.

    More memory is much better than a dual processor...Just another thought.

    Author Comment

    thank you all for the feedback, i think you all had valid points and very useful information.  I now understand that exchange will use all the available memory by design and i plan to seperate sql and exchange.  Since i have yet to build the second server i think i will use one of the opterons from the dual and create 2 equal servers.  Now my question is if my design is for 2 servers, operton242/2x120gb sata raid1/1gb ram what is the best way to split up the server duties?    i'm thinking..


    thx for any input
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    Exchange and Domain Controller are not recommended on the same box. Split those change Exchange with SQL if you have to.

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