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2008 small Business Server

Posted on 2009-07-11
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
I am considering installing 2008 SBS to provide email services and a domain for our office. i will have between 30 and 60 users but only for email. Most of the clients are remote and do not login to the domain.

For hardware I am considering a Dell PE 840 with 8 gig or ram and 4 250 gig sata2 drives.

I would like to have comments on the system and configuration, both posositive and negative and any suggestions on what would be a better system and why. Cost is a factor.
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Question by:jimmylew52
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khyer123 earned 400 total points
ID: 24832597
You're providing e-mail services, so I assume you will be running Exchange??

You should be alright, but make sure you get a decent processor - Exchange tends to take up a lot of resources. I would also make sure you RAID your hard drives (RAID 5 should do).
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by:Britt Thompson
Britt Thompson earned 400 total points
ID: 24832603
Don't skimp on the RAM 8GB is a good start. Also, the difference in the cost of 250GB drives and 500GB drives is so small you may as well go up and not have to worry about space anytime soon.
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by:GMorineau
GMorineau earned 400 total points
ID: 24832644
I don´t know if you will find a PE840. Probably only the new Dell server T300. But both choice are excellent. Have also a SAS/SATA controler like a SAS6ir or a Perc 6/E.

You will need a extra hard disk (dedicated) for SBS native backup. A must for disaster recovery! It colud be a externa drive.
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by:realtec
realtec earned 400 total points
ID: 24833767
If you are headed for 60 users consider splitting your exchange volume and OS on to two separate raid arrays for performance. RAID 5 is safe but not fast. with 4 drives I'd be tempted to have 2 seperate mirrors c: = 2 x 250gb d: = 2 x 500Gb (raid Edition disks like Western Digital) . If not then choose all 4 250's or 500's which ever you go for, in a raid 10, this is faster than raid 5 and just as safe. For disaster recovery and general backup, you won't go far wrong with Acronis SBS.
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by:naughtynat
naughtynat earned 400 total points
ID: 24833777
How is your current network setup and configured? The reason that I ask is the SBS usually wants to be the boss of pretty much everything on the network and whilst it definitely supports other DCs there are some limitations of the system.

How abouts are you doing email at the moment? or is this hosted by someone else?

OWA in Exchange 2007 is excellent and a massive upgrade from 2003. How would these remote users be accessing their email? OWA? VPN? HTTPS over RPC (outlook anywhere)?

With SBS you would want at least 8GB of RAM as a minimum and possibly more as SBS loves as much as it can get. I am running 12GB in my new server (although doing a lot more than just Exchange) but for less than 10 users.

If you are running Exchange then I would suggest go with RAID 10 (0+1) over RAID 5 because of increased performance. Many cards support this natively. I mainly use Adaptec addon products so not sure about Dell.

The other thing you will need to take into consideration is the size of the mailboxes as this is a factor in Exchange standard.

If you are getting this hosted by another company at the moment then you would need to look at things like getting your ISP to do some DNS changes. We also use our ISP to forward our mail to the server. That way if the server goes down they will que 4 days worth of emails which is quite handy if you know you are going to have some downtime.

Backup like anything is important. There has been a lot of work done with the backup utility in SBS2008. Personally I recommend Storagecraft but on a budget the built-in unit does a good job. Natively SBS2008 also doesnt support tape backups so external USB HDD is cheapest option but would probably recommend a basic NAS box which has RAID 1 as well.

Lastly you will need to think about archieving with that many users I am guessing data usage could grow quite quickly so need to at last think about how your are going to archive data as well.
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Author Closing Comment

by:jimmylew52
ID: 31602493
My thanks to all for your valuable input.
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