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Hardware Requirments for an SBS 2008 server

Posted on 2009-04-13
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
Hi,
How can I figure out the hardware requirments for an SBS 2008 server without going too over the top? I need the server to work efficiently but not spend lots of money on uncessary hardware.

SBS 2008 Standard
15 Users
500GB of data (raid 1)
Mainly used for file storage, exchange and sharepoint.

What sort of CPU/ Memory do you think is required?

Thanks
Mitch
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Question by:SM17CH
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Expert Comment

by:scovis
ID: 24134348
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by:SM17CH
ID: 24134357
Thats actually for Windows Server not SBS. SBS is here: http://www.microsoft.com/sbs/en/us/system-requirements.aspx
Neither tell me about requirments for my scenario though. Those microsoft pages only say min and max requirments. I need to find out the best hardware to use without going over the top and spending heaps. .
How do I do that?
Cheers
Mitch
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Expert Comment

by:scovis
ID: 24134379
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by:SM17CH
ID: 24134428
Thanks...As you can see I posed that link already and said how it doesnt answer my questions. I hope Im not sounding rude. I appreciate the link but it doesnt help me.
I need to know what kind of hardware I need to handle my requirments posted in the first post.
Thanks
Mitch
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Accepted Solution

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scovis earned 100 total points
ID: 24134463
There are some other factors that you should consider for instance redundancy.  Since this is going to be a SBS box and you want to run exchange and sharepoint I would make sure I had dual power supplies, split your raid backplane,  Raid 1 on your operating system partition and run raid 10 on your data.  SBS 2008 requires at lease a 60 gig partition for just the operating system.  Don't make the mistake of making that too small you will be hating life when you start running out of space in about 2-3 years.  You can expect to spend between 3000.00 to 5000.00 on this server.  One other comment.  SBS 2008 doesn't support tape drives with the native backup program.  If you want to have a tape drive you need to purchase a 3rd party backup software.
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Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 300 total points
ID: 24134470
People are fond of overestimating needs.  My recommendation is to purchase a server that can grow, but you don't need overkill to start.

I would probably suggest a Quad Core SINGLE CPU system with a SECOND SOCKET so you can add another later, if necessary.

As for RAM, 8 GB should be fine - 4 GB is the minimum, but for 15 users and to ensure a smoothly running server 8 GB should be fine.  But again, make sure you can grow - at least to 16 GB - preferably maxing out at 32 GB.

For disk, ABSOLUTE MUST is RAID.  RAID 1 using two 750 GB (or for breathing room 1 TB) disks should be fine.  You might consider adding a third disk for non-RAID requiring components, like the pagefile and volume shadow copy and things like application shares (where you install apps from so you don't need to keep loading CDs/DVDs)
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Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 300 total points
ID: 24134488
I disagree with scovis - Dual power supplies is a nice-to-have, but if your electrical supply is good and you use a UPS, odds of a failed power supply are pretty low.  Instead, I would advise 24x7 support with 4 hour on-site response, if possible.  If not possible, then maybe a dual supply system.

Further, I can't speak for AU$, but in the US, you can get a well decked out Dell Server for about $2200 without the OS (which you should purchase via Volume Licensing anyway).  I got a client a DUAL Quad Core AMD system (they threw in the second quad core at no additional charge) with 8 GB of RAM and 2x1TB drives for that price.  With 24x7x365x4 support.
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Expert Comment

by:scovis
ID: 24134507
I used to think that way too...the most common failure points are hard drives and power supplies.  I had one server power supply fail and it took out the motherboard and CPU.  Big inconvience because it just was past the 3 year warrenty and took 48 hours to get replaced.
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You wouldn't let your users design their own business cards, would you? So, why do you let them design their own email signatures? Think of the damage they could be doing to your brand reputation! Choose the easy way to manage set up and add email signatures for all users.

 
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Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 300 total points
ID: 24134527
Important servers need to be on warranty AT ALL TIMES.  It's that simple.  

I've had FAR more hard drive failures than power supply failures.  And I can't recall an incident where a brand name server's power supply failed on me.  Any power supply failure I've had has been on custom built systems I use for myself.  (Yes, I can use the cheap stuff and as such, I keep a spare couple of supplies).  I'm not saying that they will never fail, but that the odds of failure can outweigh the $300-$1000+ premium you'll pay to a) get a server capable of dual supplies since most less expensive servers don't support them and b) adding the cost of the supply itself.

That said, it can also matter much what the business does.  If this is a brokerage, having the server go down for 30 minutes could literally cost millions of dollars on any day.  If this is a wedding planner, then it's not quite so critical.

Put simply, it's not so black and white as to what the config should be, but realistically, at least based on my experience, redundant power supplies are USUALLY (not always) overkill.
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by:SM17CH
ID: 24134540
Thats the info Im after. Thanks alot.
Regarding Hard Drives I understand Raid 1 is the go definatley. Would it be ok to have 2 * 750GB 3.5-inch 7.2K RPM SATA II drives?
Would there be a big performance increase if we had OS/Exchange data on one lot of mirrord drives and all of our data on a 2nd lot of mirrored drives?
Thanks again
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 24134575
It would be fine.  SAS drives should be more reliable, but strictly speaking, I've not seen a failed drive at any of my clients (except for one workstation) in the last 3 years (encompassing probably a dozen servers and 80-100 workstations) and most of those, even on the servers, are SATA drives.  

with regards to Exchange/OS and drives, any time you can split functions across spindles you improve performance.  That said, Exchange 2007 is more RAM intensive and less disk intensive than previous versions of exchange.  If your budget allows, I'd probably go with 4x500 GB and split them in two RAID 1 (Mirror) sets.
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Assisted Solution

by:Philip Elder
Philip Elder earned 100 total points
ID: 24134607
15 users with no real growth in the future:
 Intel Xeon 3370 Quad Core
 8GB-16GB ECC RAM
 500GB x4 in RAID 1+0 (SBS is I/O heavy) + 1 500GB for hot spare.
 OPTION: 300GB 10K SAS x 4 RAID 1+0 + 1 300GB for hot spare.
 Hot Swap.
 Redundant Power
 1500VA-2500VA UPS with power conditioning (20-35 minutes run time)
Power consumption ~110Watt average with ~195-205Watt peak.

15 users with growth towards 20+ in the future:
 Dual Intel Xeon 5520 (or E5430) Quad Core
 16GB ECC RAM
 500GB 7,200RPM SATA x4 in RAID 1+0 (SBS is I/O heavy) + 1 500GB for hot spare.
 OPTION: 300GB 10K SAS x 4 RAID 1+0 + 1 300GB for hot spare.
 Hot Swap.
 Redundant Power
 2500VA UPS with power conditioning (20-35 minutes run time)
Power consumption ~130Watt average with ~205-255Watt peak.

In our experience, RAID 1+0 with three partitions will give you the best spindle performance:
 C: OS (50GB for OS + 2GB-5GB/User for Exchange)
 S: SwapFile (YMMV - We do 2.5* RAM for min. up to 5* RAM for performance) - keeps file contigious and saddled between OS and Data partitions.
 L: NetworkData (Balance of volume for WSUS, WSS, Shared Folders, Redirected Folders, more).

Philip
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Author Comment

by:SM17CH
ID: 24143417
"hot spare" meaning a spare disk on the shelf in case one fails?
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Expert Comment

by:Philip Elder
ID: 24143531
Hot Spare meaning the drive is inserted in the hot swap bay and configured as a Global Hot Spare so that it can be automatically used to rebuild an array if a drive fails.

Philip
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Author Comment

by:SM17CH
ID: 24143612
of course :) why would we want to do that manually.
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Author Comment

by:SM17CH
ID: 24178566
Seeing we only really need the server for exchange and a fileserver is this much grunt really going to be necessary?
Where do you think lack of performance will be most noticable if we got something with less power?
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 24180472
You need to analyze the potential loss to your business if the server is down for 4 hours, 8 hours, 1 day, 2 days, 3 days.  Then you need to decide if that potential loss is worth NOT getting the redundant features.  MOST businesses I've dealt with would not suffer a significant financial loss if the server were down for a day making the items MPECSInc suggests overkill.  In the end, how much risk are you willing to take?  We buy automobile insurance so that if we get into an accident, we're not paying out of our own pocket - but we ARE paying SOMETHING out of our own pocket regardless since we have the insurance.  The redundancies are insurance.  

As for performance, as I stated, get a dual core and you can upgrade that later, but make sure it supports a second socket to expand beyond.
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