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Best PowerEdge 2950, RAID 5, Windows Server 2003, SQL Server 2005 setup?

Posted on 2008-06-11
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Last Modified: 2010-04-21
Just got a Dell PowerEdge 2950 III. It came with four 15k SAS drives configured RAID 5 (hardware) with Windows Server 2003 loaded. I've got to run MS SQL Server 2005 on it and I also need to use the server for file sharing. I'm wondering if it would be best to reinstall Windows Server 2003 and MS SQL Server 2005 on a 5th drive outside the array and just keep the SQL Server data and logs on the array, and use a 6th drive for all of the shared folders? Hoping to have 50 users on this one Dual 3ghz processor, 8-core server. Would doing all that improve performance much?
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Question by:machine_run
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Jason Watkins earned 167 total points
ID: 21765638
Hi,

If you want to optimize SQL performance, place the transaction logs on a different volume from the actual databases.  

RAID1 for The OS & proggies 2 discs
One disk for SQL databases
One disk for SQL T-logs
One disk for file shares.

/F
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by:ccosby
ccosby earned 167 total points
ID: 21766147
I don't agree with Firebar here. Having the OS, SQL, and file shares seperate is good but you never really want to setup single drives on a server. I would get a few more hard drives. Did you order the server with 2.5 inch drives or 3.5 inch drives? If you got it with 2.5 inch drives it should support 8 internal drives. If you got it with 3.5 inch drives it will support either 4 or 6 depending on the backplane you ordered.

Best advice would be a raid 1 for the os, raid one for the sql(raid 10 would be best but it depends on the load). File shares can be on a raid 1 or 5 depending on the load needed. If you only have a 6 bay setup I would run 3 raid 1's for the best results. Maybe run a raid 1 for the os and a raid 10 for data and sql. If you have the 8 2.5 inch bays you can consider going with a 2 raid 1's and a 5 drive raid 5 for the data or start with a 3 drive raid 5 for the data and have an open slot to expand to in the future. If you wanted to expand past any of these my recomendation would be a sas card and a sas rackmount enclosure or going to fiberchannel.
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by:ChiefIT
ChiefIT earned 166 total points
ID: 21768046
I am up in the air about the best way. The best way really depends upon the backup plans you laid out for yourself. The hardest thing to recover from failure is Documents and settings. I assume you might be using your file shares for documents and might include folks profiles.

Sometimes it is best to partition the drives as all raid and create True Image backups of those drives separately. Then,  if it fails you will have two chances to fix your problem. (One being a RAID restore the other being a True Image backup of each partition).

Personally, I like to keep OS on a 20Gig partition and partition the rest in separate partitions. One partition is for WSUS updates and the other for file shares. Then, I use Acronis to backup all three partitions separately. This configuration covers Fifty people pretty well.
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Expert Comment

by:Jason Watkins
ID: 21768480
I gave the best suggestion for the information given.  RAID arrays for all involved would be a great idea, often budgets get in the way of that.
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by:machine_run
ID: 31466425
THANKS!
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by:machine_run
ID: 21769020
All info was valuable. Thanks.
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