RAID allocation for exchange server

Posted on 2006-11-21
Last Modified: 2010-05-18
I am setting up a stand-alone Exchange 2003 server on a Windows server 2003 box, and am looking for some advice on how I should configure my RAID containters to maximize performance and fault tolerance.

Dell PowerEdge 2950 2 gig ram
6x73GB SAS HD's

Right now our exchange database(s) is less than 16GB, but I would like to go as high as 100GB on the new server.

I was thinking that I could put the OS and the store on a RAID 5 container with 4 of the disks, and put logs on a RAID 1 container with the other 2 disks. Would I want to put the OS and the store on the container like that?

Is there a better way?

Question by:fyrfyter
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Expert Comment

ID: 17990890
With 6 Drives you can also have following configuration

2X73GB RAID 1 OS + Exchange logs
3X73GB RAID 5 Exchange DB
1X73GB Hostspare

Ideal solution if load is not very high.

2X73GB RAID 1 OS + Exchange logs
4X73GB RAID 10 Exchange DB

If you could provide more information on the number of users and mailboxes sizes, that would help.


Author Comment

ID: 17990949
About 100 users with an average mailbox size of 100MB. I would like to go higher on mailbox sizes though. Say about 500MB.

Expert Comment

ID: 17991345
I will go with option 1. An additional spare can be a big help.


Author Comment

ID: 17991667
What would be your recomendation for creating volumes? For example, I usally create a c:\drive for the OS, a d:\drive for installed applications, and an e:\drive to store local data.

If I were to go with option 1, would I put the OS and T-logs on the c:\drive, or should I create a volume just for the T-logs?

And where would the "M:\drive" be located?

I'll boost points for you:)


Accepted Solution

toibrahim earned 350 total points
ID: 17991821
With Option 1, we will have 2 physical RAIDS, And I would suggest 1 logical volume for each

C Drive - OS, Logs
D Drive - Exchange Database

Logical drive does not matter much as eventually it is the Disk spindle underneath that will have to do the job.

M: Drive was the Microsoft way for exposing the Exchange Database using IFS. M drive is not required for Exchange to run. With Exchange 2003 Microsoft no longer exposes it by default.

Hope this clarifies to some extent.

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Assisted Solution

nitadmin earned 50 total points
ID: 17993531
If you have a very large number od users or you have a very heavy e-mail load, then RAID 5 is not good idea for storing the Exchange Databse.

"Large Exchange servers sometimes are configured with RAID 1+0 drives which is basically a couple of mirrored drives striped together. This means a failed disk drive degrades the entire disk array performance less."

LVL 104

Expert Comment

ID: 17995654
I wouldn't split the OS from the applications. I don't see the point.
With 100 users I would run with the configuration outlined as config 1 above.
The C drive would be a partition of 20 gb and would contain the OS and the application files.
The rest of the drive would be D, used for the transaction and message tracking logs. Both in a folder, not in the root of the drive.
The database would be on the other array, again in its own folder. RAID 5 on this type of load should be fine. To go to any other kind of RAID configuration would probably require more disks.


Author Comment

ID: 17997305
Just so that I can be clear on what you are saying,
"The rest of the drive would be D, used for the transaction and message tracking logs. Both in a folder, not in the root of the drive."

Means that I should use:
D:\Transaction logs\E00.log

And not:

Is this correct?
LVL 104

Assisted Solution

Sembee earned 100 total points
ID: 17997472
The reason for this is that if something goes wrong and the Exchange server starts generating a lot of logs, Windows doesn't like a lot of files in the root. By putting them in a folder you keep the root clean.

It also makes configuring the AV software to avoid scanning the folder easier and does mean that you can dump something in that drive in an emergency.

D:\Transaction Logs
D:\Message Tracking Logs.


Author Comment

ID: 17997516
Excellent timely advice. I appreciate everyones input very much.  I will split points.

Thank you,

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