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Exchange Server (2003 Standard) - Adding storage space - NAS? eSATA?

I'm running an exchange server (2003 standard) and am getting backed into a corner here in terms of my server and free space for the private/public store to grow in.  They're not terribly large in size, approx. 30gbs between them but since the server is kind of old we're down to about 2gbs of free space.  We can't add a new raid array to the server (no room) so I'm trying to find options that are a) cost effective, b) efficient, c) easy to deploy.

The only two options I've come up with is either getting something like the buffalo tech eSATA raid box which comes with an ESATA card for the server and move the private/puclic store there or buying a NAS solution.  My only concerns about implementing NAS is that it's going to clog the network with traffic to and from the server and bottleneck performance from actual workstations trying to connect to exchange or other data servers. Is there a way to connect a NAS unit directly to the exchange server so as to avoid bogging down the entire network for read/write access, or any other solutions where we can add some fast-access storage to the server? Thanks in advance.
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Malevolo
Asked:
Malevolo
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2 Solutions
 
ormerodrutterCommented:
Can you connect your NAS directly to your exchange server using a cross over cable? So that your NAS is not on the network but a drive is mapped to the server and you can move the exchange database to the NAS?
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SembeeCommented:
I don't think a NAS is going to be suitable - simply not fast enough.
You are going to have to look at an external RAID array, preferably something SCSI based.

Simon.
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andyalderSaggar makers bottom knockerCommented:
What server make/model is it?
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MalevoloAuthor Commented:
it's an old hp ml350.

I think an external SCSI array sounds like the best way to go in terms of pure performance. If I bought a NAS unit and connected it directly with a fibre optical line would the performance match an external ultra320 raid 5 array?

I'm guess that an external raid 5 eSATA rig is a definite no, in terms of a solution. It's mighty cheap, or cheaper than the other solutions.
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andyalderSaggar makers bottom knockerCommented:
Assuming you have a Smart Array controller you have a couple of other options. Swap the disks one at a time and wait for the array to rebuild, then you can expand it. This takes quite a while, 4GB per hour. You can also put an additional 2 drive cage in the removable media bay and add them to the array - bit of a problem if you've got a tape drive in there though.
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MalevoloAuthor Commented:
I'd rather not swap out the drives or re-build arrays. We do have a tape drive in our other bay.
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SembeeCommented:
No NAS solution is going to be fast enough, only something directly connected to the server will provide the speed required for Exchange to operate. It isn't performance issues so much, it is having enough speed to actually work - Exchange is high transactional and is very hard on its storage.

Simon.
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andyalderSaggar makers bottom knockerCommented:
Could they move the data to an external SATA array and leave the logs on the internal disks Simon? Assuming it comes without disks they could always put WD Raptors in it for the 100% duty-cycle instead of cheap desktop drives.
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SembeeCommented:
If you can connect a SATA array to the server then that is better than nothing. An external SCSI array is the best choice.

Simon.
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andyalderSaggar makers bottom knockerCommented:
Well a SAS array is best really but admittedly that's a type of SCSI. I wonder which SCSI controller it's got at the moment, might have two channels; then they won't need a controller.
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MalevoloAuthor Commented:
the machine has an hp array, I forget which but it supports two simultneuos arrays, both of which are being used. The server doubles as a file server (don't ask...it was set up before my time here)

I think it would be a great idea to move the stores to the external array (scsi ideally, if not eSATA) and leave all logs to the internal array.
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andyalderSaggar makers bottom knockerCommented:
Look in device manager under SCSI/RAID controllers, it's not how many arrays it can support but whether it has a dual or single channels. Both have an external connector but the single channel ones do not support external and internal disks at the same time. If it is dual channel you can hang an MSA30 off it and that's still current kit so can be reused if you replace the server with another HP one.
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pacman_dCommented:
I'm also thinking about moving an Exchange 2003 Information Store DB to a direct-connected eSata array (2TB)
Since the drives are 7200RPM, is there going to be a noticable performance hit?? The store is like 100GB, but there are only 150 users/mailboxes currently. I am planning to keep the exchange logs on the local SCSI array.
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