IBM or HP server

joyjohn used Ask the Experts™
Hi, Currently there are 10-15 users on SBS 2003 server with Exchange mailboxes, and planning to install the new server with SBS 2008.
Which one should we go for HP or IBM, any recommendation on model/type?
And, how many HDD drive should I get? what RAID? like to have around total 750GB or 1TB space. Does this server comes with RAID controller? or need to buy separately.
Could you please help me to get complete info on server/HDD/licenses, i believe sbs2008 comes with 5 CALs and need to buy 5 x 2 CALs license to make it 15.

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looking for rack one
Top Expert 2014
DL380 G6 or G7 if you want HP, it's the most popular 2U server around. I'd have a couple of 72 or 147GB disks in RAID1 for the OS and fill the other 6 bays up with 300GB 10 or 15K ones for data. That would have the transaction logs on C: which isn't ideal for performance but fine for 25 users. RAID 10 is best for performance but you might want RAID 5 for the data to give more space, again for 25 users RAID 5 should perform OK. E5520 CPU plus 6GB RAM ought to be enough.
I agree with andyalder.  The DL380 is great hardware for the money.  The only better route IMHO is the Dell R710.  Pretty much the same hardware but you save a bit of cash.  You didn't mention Dell as an option so I would say the DL380 as well.

Another option on the drive configuration is to set up 3 arrays as follows:
2 - 10k or 15k SAS 72GB/146GB for the OS - RAID 1
2 - 10k or 15k SAS 72GB/146GB for the Transaction logs - RAID 1
4 - 7200rpm SATA 500GB/750GB for data - RAID 10

The servers have built in RAID controllers but take a look at the upgrade options, you might want to get one with battery backup to cover power glitches.

Also be sure to get redundant power supplies.  They are well worth it.

As for licensing, you got it right, server usually comes with 5 licenses but double check when you're ordering because there are some versions that don't come with any licenses.  Then buy extra to cover your needs and consider a few extra for growth.
A similar IBM would be a 3650 MII or MII. Not sure how the price compares but  but there are some good deals on the "Express" configs. Disk configs as per the previous comment. Avoid raid-5 for exchange 2007 becuase the read/write ratio can lead to poor performance. Keep the transaction logs on separate PHYSICAL RAID devices, not just different partitions.

If its a critical box make sure you get appropriate warrenty/service agreements because things can fail. When comparing price make sure you compare like-for-like and  include things that warrenty in your price comparision. Small changes in CPU spec can result in quite large changes in price. Also check who does the fixing, is it the manufacturer or the distributer.

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