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Recommendation on server installation

Posted on 2008-06-25
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Last Modified: 2010-04-19
Hi all

Trying to build my first server in addition to 2 other servers which are SBS2003 and Win 2003.
The new server is  HP Proliant DL 380 G5, what are the recommendations/procedures of a new server?
the server comes with 5 SAS drives 146 GB each, what i need to know is how many drives should the system have, RIADs, drive sizes, domain controller ...
The reason we are building new server is for company growth and reduce the load on SBS2003
Thanks
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Question by:wade2000
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by:AC_Nova
AC_Nova earned 150 total points
ID: 21863766
I normally choose RAID 5.  Looking at the size of your drives I would choose 20Gb for the system partition, a 10Gb partition for logs, and pagefile, and the rest for a data partition.  

If you are already using sbs in your environment that will be the domain controller, so the additional server would have to be a member server.  Personally I would try and move away from the sbs server altogether and go with the standard products.
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Lee W, MVP earned 200 total points
ID: 21863793
You need to clarify - are you REPLACING your existing SBS system, or was your plan to ADD this SBS system to the existing one.  Because, frankly, you have no option - you have to replace or throw out the SBS license.  (An SBS network can have only ONE SBS server on it).

As for the configuration, that depends on what you are doing with the system and what you current needs are

For the RAID, I would setup 2x146 in a RAID 1 mirror and 3x146 in a RAID 5 (or if you don't have that much data, I'd be more comfortable with a TWO RAID 1s and a hot spare.  But with 2 RAID 1s you have only a little less than 300 GB of usable space, where as a RAID 1 and RAID 5 will give you total usable space of about 435 GB.

Myself, I would suggest a C: drive of 20 GB and no more on the RAID 1.  Then partition out the rest of the server - including a couple dozen GBs for Exchange logs on the mirrored drive and the Exchange database itself on the RAID 5 (Exchange should have a 160 GB partition in my opinion).

(Actually, you should have waited - SBS 2008 is due in a few weeks to a few months...).
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 21863802
I don't think AC_nova is very familiar with SBS - most people who are find it an exceptional solution for small networks.  It provides ease of management that is not available in non-SBS systems and it also provides features, such as reporting and the remote web workplace that is not available either.  And it's much cheaper.
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by:AC_Nova
ID: 21863870
Please dont presume I'm not familiar with sbs.  I am familiar with sbs 2003, I've had to use it in many single server site installs, where the client cannot afford standard products.  Having all those services running on one box, in my opinion, isnt good.  But like you said it is cost effective.  I just dont see the point of having an sbs server and two extra standard windows servers.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 21863901
In a larger environment of course not, but the problem is most small businesses don't have the money for a separate AD server, a separate Exchange Server, a separate File Server, a Separate DNS server, etc.  In an ideal network, every service has a dedicated box so that if the service needs to be worked on, you can take it down without affecting other services.  But the cost savings for SBS is substantial and there's no GOOD reason that a small business shouldn't use it.  There's no point to NOT getting SBS UNLESS you NEED trusts.  

Why would a company have more than one server?  Redundancy.  Terminal Services.  Multiple Sites.  Having multiple servers is fine... but again, one of the nice things about SBS is that the CALs cover ALL servers on the network.

Sorry for the assumption, but most people I've seen make recommendations AGAINST SBS when they don't understand the product.  Heck, I was one of them 4+ years ago... then I learned it... and it's clear to me, Small Businesses SHOULD be using it.
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by:AC_Nova
ID: 21863923
I take your points onboard, we need some more infomation on the business to make more recommendations.  My point about sbs was because the author suggested the company is experiencing growth.  Depending on the amount of growth depends on which solution you should go for as Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 supports only 75 users maximum.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 21863956
That's true, there is the 75 user limit which can be migrated away from with the transition pack.  And for cost savings and to keep functional features (such as the Remote Web Workplace), if growth is an issue, EBS should be considered...

And I do agree... more information based on our questions would be helpful.
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by:andyalder
andyalder earned 150 total points
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I'd go for 2 mirrored for the OS and the other 3 in RAID 5, you can always migrate on the fly to RAID 10 by adding another disk if RAID 5 is too slow. It does depend on what the server is to be used for of course, you don't even have to dedicate whole disks to logical disks, you could for example use SAME and spread all the logical disks across all the phtsical spindles, even mix RAID levels on them if you want.
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by:wade2000
ID: 21870555
To clarify more on this, the server is an additional server to two other servers, it isn't replacing anything.
The other 2 servers are ML 350 G4, the 1st one is SBS2003 SP1 running AD, DNS, DHCP, Exchange, IIS, Backup exec, it is also the file server with files size of 18 GB.
Disk specs: Drive C 20 GB with 2 GB free, Drive D 50GB with 25GB free, Drive E:274GB with 200GB free , 3 GB RAM, and  page file moved to drive D.
Average CPU usage 60-70 %

The 2nd server is Win2003 64 bit SP1, running SQL 2000 & 2005, also running IIS for the website and other custom web applications.

Disk specs: C 10GB with only 300 MB free, E 58GB with 48GB free.
Average CPU usage 20%


Thanks
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 21871317
If you've only got 3-10% free space on your servers, then you should be looking to clean up those C: drives.  The total size of the C: drive is fine... it just sounds like they were never appropriately configured so that data was not stored on the C: drive.

I suggest you review my page on boot drive size and clean those up:
http://www.lwcomputing.com/tips/static/bootdrivesize.asp

Now, what perceived load are you expecting to relieve on the SBS server?  Why do you think you need to replace it?  What is using the CPU so much?  How fast is the CPU and what are it's exact specs (hyper threading, multicore, xeon, celeron, what?)?  How many CPUs?  What is "slow"?  How old is the server?  From the sounds of things, there isn't that much data on the server...

Frankly, there's no reason your SBS server should be hovering around 60-70%.  If that's happening, I'd be looking for a runaway process...   SBS is only handling 75 users MAX... I worked in a data center that had hundreds of users on several machines - hundreds on an exchange server, hundreds on file servers and DCs... and NOTHING hit 60-70% utilization... so that really makes me wonder.

(Some people get defensive with questions like this - I'm trying to better understand your situation so I can make you appropriate recommendations that will not waste money, time, and resources, but will result in improvements to your network).
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by:wade2000
ID: 21881023
Nice website leew
The store.exe in terms of CPU usage is always high, that is why i'm moving exchange to the new server, all servers CPUs are xeon and they are 3.5 years old.




Thanks
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 21881152
You can't move Exchange off SBS - it MUST be on SBS (unless you're going to buy the transition pack and move away from SBS entirely.  I've never seen an store process take that much CPU - even when working with 100's of users... Are you sure your not an open relay for SPAM?  When was the last time the system was rebooted?  What service Pack are you at on Exchange (and Windows Server?)
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