Win 2003 and Exchange 2003 on one server or two

I am supporting a small company, 10 users, which is upgrading from  Win 2000 Server and Exchange Server 2000 to 2003. The upgrade will include a new computer. The vendor sales person is urging us to go with two servers, one for the Active Driectory and one for Exchange Server. The present computer is a P III 733 MHz with a RAID 5, 54 GB pack. There was no performance or storage issues with this computer. The reason we are upgrading is the computer's mother board is causing some problems and we were condering upgrading anyway. Most of the company's business and storage is handeled with propriarity sofware on a UNIX server which is running just fine.

My question is: Is there a compelling reason to go with two, rather than one server? I have no problem with going with a XEON processor and much larger drives, but considering the relative smallness and low server usage of the company, is a two server system warrented? I have heard the arguments for - from the vendor - but is there a COMPELLING reason for two servers?
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Unless both servers are domain controllers, the arguments are not so compelling.  Except of course to the vendor - for obvious reasons.  Since I don't like putting Exchange on a DC, I would want 3 servers to be robust, two DCs and an Exchange - more money again and not worth it for ten users.  So unless the company plans to grow a lot larger and quickly, I would advocate getting one decent piece of hardware (Xeon 3GHz - perhaps dual Xeon if you can afford it, it may make it last longer as a useful machine), 2-4 GB RAM and a SCSI based raid based on a RAID 1 mirrored pair of 72GB SCSI disks and either a RAID 1 mirrored pair of 72GB OR a RAID 5 set of three 72GB SCSI disks.

I would then stick data on the second array (mirrorred 72Gb or RAID 5 144GB) and place the OS onto the first array (72GB RAID 1), which I would partition 20GB for C drive and 52GB for whatever.

I would buy SBS 2003, stick the OS on C, place the AD NTDS volume on the second array volume, place Exchange mail data on the 2nd array volume and place shared files on it too.

I would buy it from Dell or HP (possibly IBM), but no one else and get a 3 year 4 hour warranty on it.

You can then take advantage of the SBS antiviral and backup software which will save you a whole bunch of cash.


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John Gates, CISSPSecurity ProfessionalCommented:
Since this company only has 10 users...  My suggestion would be to go with one server for all.  Is the company going to grow in the next 5 years over the current users?  Just make sure you have a solid backup and recovery strategy.  Maybe have two servers equally matched in hardware that in a pinchy could be restored and put online.  It would be a shame to waste a lot of money with the user count there.
single server running SBS 2003 should be all that is needed and then some.

The extra software like ISA2004 will make it easier to publish exchange and OWA, and the ease of management will make it more appealing in a small environment.
We use 2003 standard and have Exchange 2003 on it.  This is a domain controller and I have noticed substantial disk activity and now understand why MS do not recommend putting Exchange on a DC.  In fact, I have recently discovered that once you have done that, MS do not support the demotion of the box back to a regular member server.  Ouch!  

That said, all of MS's recommendations go out the window when you try and ask them about SBS.  In my opinion, SBS is a great product for exactly what you are looking to long as you don't forsee substantion and rapid growth in user numbers.  

Whatever solution you go for, don't be pressured by the vendor.  Go with what suits the business as a first priority.

With the little information you have provided, my initial reaction is that you should invest in a well spec'd box, run SBS2003 on it and make sure the Exchange log files and mdb's are on a different physical drive to your other stuff.  SBS2003 is going to give you a lot more functionality as well, which you can use to great advantage in a small, growing company.
Thanks for the points!  Happy to help.
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Windows Server 2003

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