New Exchange 2010 hardware specs

Quick question, we've gotten the green light to upgrade out Exchange 2003 environment.

Current setup includes 2 x Exchange 2003 servers, one local one in a remote office.

Collectively we have ~400 mailboxes between the two and for ease of management (and purchasing) I'm looking at replacing both with the exact same hardware.

So I know that 2010 relies more heavily on RAM than drive speed, so I'm looking at an HP DL385 G6, 2xOpteron 4-way 2.4ghz, 16gb ram, 2x146gb OS array, 4x300gb data array all SAS drives..

Compared to our DL380 G2 with quad P3 xeons this should be a major step up. But what concerns me in the hdd speed.. I've been told disk speed isnt as important but how unimportant is it?  Could I actually step down to  [gasp] 7200rpms or should I stick with the standard 10k?

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Ben HartAsked:
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RPM is VERY important in my opinion.  For servers nowadays I don't spec anything other than 15K RPM SAS, generally in a RAID5 configuration for redundancy and performance (RAID5 will usally provide better performance than RAID1).  10K is decent but 15K is definitely worth the extra money.  I would not even consider anything with 7200 RPM disks.

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I agree with emsith69. Although its true that I/O improvements in Exchange 2010 have led to better performance on lower tierd storage I still recommend choosing as large and as fast disk as your budget will allow. When designing your storage system you need to take into account many factors including speed, recovery and of course cost but have a good discussion with your business users so they can make an informed decision.

I'm also a big fan of RAID 10 and having your logs files on independant LUN's from the database files mainly for availability/recovery reasons.

Understanding Storage Configuration - Factors to Consider in Choosing Disk Types
You don't need two CPUs for 400 mailboxes, see the following 40,000 mailbox solution...

"For this particular solution, two System x3650 model 7979AC1 systems containing 2 quad core e5450 3.0 GHz Intel Xeon CPUs were used. The System x3650 was equipped with 16 GB of internal memory."

They're even using the older Intel 5400 series, 5500 series are twice as fast.$FILE/40K%20Mailboxes%20(1GB%20Mailbox%20Quota)%20ESRP-Storage%20v3_8.pdf
Ben HartAuthor Commented:
Wow thank you for the example.  Puts my estimations into a whole 'nother arena.
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