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Separating OS & Data: Choosing Between Available Partitions

I am preparing a box that will become a Windows Small Business Server 2003 Premium R2 server for a small engineering company that will rely on Exchange 2003 and SharePoint 3.

This box has an Intel S5000VSA motherboard with embedded SAS controller. There is one 50 gb SAS and one 150 gb SAS. These drives will be mirrored. I have several SATA-2 drives that can be used in this box as well.

My question is this: Because these SAS drives are so fast, would it be better to use them for Exchange and SQL -- and use a SATA drive for the OS install? Or should I use the small SAS for the OS and put Exchange and SQL on the other SAS?  

Or should I partition the 50 gb SAS to a small partition for the OS and then put the Exchange and SQL apps on the other partition -- then put the Exchange, SQL etc databases, logs, etc on the 150 gb?

Note: I'm new here. I am pretty comfortable with basing Windows networking and Exchange, but very ignorant about SharePoint and SQL.
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Technology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013
So you're going to use a software Mirror and only have 50 GB of data (potential data) that is redundant?  This seems like a very bad idea.  As a consultant, if a client came to me and wanted me to review the appropriateness of this system, I would tell them the following:

1.  Don't use a box that's custom built.  This server is running the business, is it not?  WHY would you risk your business on a mix of hardware with no single vendor behind it.  What happens if there is an obscure problem with the RAID - intel wants to blame your drive vendor and your drive vendor wants to blame intel... meanwhile, you don't have a solution and the server is having problems.  Slim chance?  Not really - I've got a client with that very situation now.  
2.  This is your data.  You want the vast majority of it on a RAID 1, 5, or 10.  NOT 0.  For a small business server 2003 implementation, I would recommend 5-7 hard disks, especially if you have concerns with SQL and Exchange.
3.  Servers run your business.  The server should be under a 4 hour response 7x24 warranty for 3 years.  Even if all your hardware has their own 3 year warranty, you're stuck with having to manage multiple support numbers and deal with multiple vendors with no quick response if the server goes down.

Take this system and turn it into a workstation - then go buy a real server that will properly provide for your business.

That said, here's what I would do if you forced me to use what you had:

C: Drive - NO RAID. 16-20 GB
D: SQL - on RAID 1.  Size depends on your requirements.  Probably go with 20 GB.
E: Exchange - on RAID 1. Size depends on your requirements.  But probably go with 30 GB.
F: User Data - 30 GB
G: Group Data - 50 GB
H: Software/Volume Shadow Copy.

If I could, I would put EVERYTHING on a RAID volume except H:  Mirrors would do.  For higher performance, I'd be using a RAID 10... MAYBE a RAID 5 if you couldn't get enough drives.


Thanks for the suggestions. Sadly, I won't be able to go with a SCSI/RAID 5 solution on this particular box, but the organization is so small that performance should actually be less of an issue than I was making it out to be.

Leew  -- I'm certain I'll have other questions along this line so I hope you keep an eye out and answer them with the same diligence as you did this on. Thanks again.

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