Hardware specification for new server


   This is my first question after i joined the premium services. I am working as IT Systems Administrator. I would like to buy two new servers for our company to replace the existing servers. Although i have got quite good skills i need expert advice from you guys. Firstly we would like to buy servers with quite good specs and also fault tolerant. Please find the details below. I will be glad if you could advice me to go for rite hardware specs.

Server 1 (Purpose: Web and sql server) Platform: OS windows server 2003 Standard)Is it wise to install both on two servers?? we have got databases running from our website
SQL 2000
Current Database size : 15 Gb with future exp of add 20 gband we are running lot of reports, data from the server
Web server (IIS 6.0)
website size: Less than 5 Gb

We also want to implement RAID solution on OS and sql database and web servers

Server 2 (Purpose Email server platform : Wind 2003 std OS and Ex 2003 Enterprise Edition)
Current mailbox size 20gb with future expansion of additional 20 Gb
Also like to implement RAID technology for ex server...

Note:  The above two servers are running with low RAM (1gb) and less hard drive capacity (50 gb)

 Please send me a hardware spec based on my information. if you need  more information please let me know

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HP or Dell make good servers. I would certainly separate SQL server from the web server. The webserver will normally be in your DMZ and can be attacked, the database you can put into your normal LAN which would protect it from being attacked. The webserver can be configured to connect to the SQL database of the server in your LAN. All good servers include raid. For SQL and possibly also The Exchange server I'd suggest you use a fast raid, like raid 10, and for the rest you can use raid 5. Use a separate pair of HD for raid 1 and your OS.
InternetEAuthor Commented:
Hi Thanks for your reply

 We dont have DMZ zone and we have got a managed firewall from ISP.All our servers area sitting inside the LAN behind the firewall..  So still you recommend us to go for two seperate servers (sql and web)?  and also you want me to use RAID 1 for OS rite?  For which data you want to use RAID 10 and 5? (I mean for ex logs, ex db or web server content...) could you please ellaborate??
You could get into a security dilemma with the webserver inside your lan, you should really install a DMZ too.

Raid 10 is a fast raid (you need at least 4 disks for it). It is good for SQL server (the DB) if there is a lot of activity on it. The same applies for the exchange information store. The logs you can save on the same raid as your OS (use a different partition). Web server raid 5 should be OK, and if you are also using a fileserver raid 5 should be enough.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I agree - you want to seperate public services from private services whenever possible.  The web server should be in a DMZ if at all possible and SQL, if possible, should be on a different server.

Strictly speaking EVERYTHING CAN RUN ON ONE SERVER!  Should it?  No, but it can (Microsoft sells this as Small Business Server Premium Edition).

I also agree that NO server other than maybe a system storing software for installation in large company should be without RAID 1, 5, or 10.

In an ideal world, RAID 1 is used on the c: drive.  But there is NOTHING WRONG with creating a hardware RAID 5 for the entire system and using 10-15 GB for the C: drive on it.  This CAN be cheaper than a server with 5-6 drives to combine RAID 1 and RAID 5/10 (it can also keep the server small as some 1U/2U servers simply don't have room for 5-6 drives.

My recommendations are as follows based on services run, in case you modify things and use more servers or rearrange what is on what.

SQL 2000 Server:
SQL Storage: RAID 10 preferrably, RAID 5 if cost/physical drive space is an issue.  I'd say 36GB 15K RPM SCSI drives for best performance.  Slower/smaller/larger drives will be fine, but for optimal performance, it's what you want.
CPU: 1 to start, Fastest Dual Core+Hyper Threading CPU you can get (if you expect the system to be well used) - SQL will require licenses for additional CPUs EVEN if you don't intend to use them with SQL.
RAM: 2GB minimum (SQL likes RAM - you CAN go with less, but this can really help performance in a well used server)

Web Server:
Web Storage: RAID 1, any drives with a web site of less than 5 GB should do.
CPU: 1 Should be fine, really any speed sold today should be good - assuming you're not getting 1000's of hits per hou and/or not using intensive server-side languages like ASP.  If you are, then up the CPU as you see fit.
RAM: 1GB.  I've not known IIS to be a RAM intensive service, so for the server, Antivirus, etc software, this should be more than sufficient.

Exchange Server:
Exchange Storage: RAID 10 for the data, RAID 1 for the logs.  Also, FAST disks - 73GB 15K RPM drives.
CPU: Depends on the number of users.  One should be sufficient for users under 200 per server (A company I worked at used a Single 500 MHz P3 with Exchange 5.5 for 400 users and we had no complaints).  Given the newer technology of Exchange 2003, I'll have that number and say a middle-of-the-road CPU should do you fine.  Just make sure the system is capable of dual processors in case you grow (signficantly?)
RAM: 2GB.  Exchange is a database system, just a system that's not quite as potentially heavily used as SQL.
InternetEAuthor Commented:
Thanks a lot for your info

 Could you please let me know how to install hardware RAID 5 or 10 on a new system. I haven't done this before. I would be great if i get any step by step procedure or link?
You need a raid controller, and for raid 5 at least 3, for raid 10 at least 4 Hd's of the same size each. Then connect them to the controller and enter the Raid controller's BIOS (usually done through a function key conbination like ctrl+a, this depends on the controller. Then follow the controller's documentation to setup the raid. When that is done and if you are installing a windows server OS, you will have to start the windows setup, press F6 when asked, and provide the floppy with the raid controller's drivers.

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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Just to be clear, you COULD run everything off one system - that's what Microsoft Small Business Server does.  And you don't NEED FAST disks or RAID or LOTS of RAM or FAST CPUs.  Everything COULD be run from a Single CPU server with a single 7200RPM disk and probably about 1GB of RAM TOTAL.  I would NOT RECOMMEND this, but it COULD be done.

I think rindi covered RAID pretty well... though if you buy from Dell or possibly HP and probably others, they'll include CDs/tools that assist you in setting up the RAID and installing Windows.
Correct, if you get a "server" from one of the big manufacturers you should be able to order it with the type of raid you want it with and then you normally get the necessary software and help tools with it, usually you just start of with one of the "smart" CD's and the setup should start.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Wow... so my information was of no help to you?
InternetEAuthor Commented:
Its not like that. Since its my first visit iam trying with all the options. Thanks for your help too...
Ask in community support, they'll reopen the Q and then you can split the points.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
So why not split the points?  That would seem the most appropriate way to close this question...
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
For your reference and understanding, since you are new here, you might want to read over:
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Please don't take this the wrong way - if you're new here, you're new here.  In my experience, I try to always provide a "closing comment" that explains why I selected the answer I did and why I graded it the way I did.  As an expert, I like to be given the opportunity to get an A grade, so if the answers provided don't initially qualify to you as an "A" grade answer, please respond back and ask for more information.  If, ultimately, you still don't feel the answer deserves an A, then don't give an A but give a brief explanation as to why.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
And if you do want to reopen the question to split the points, I can do that for you, no need to post in Customer Service - but given my ability to do this, I really try not to be the one to come out and say I'll do it or otherwise do it without being asked.
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