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Design consideration for Exchange

Posted on 2012-12-26
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Last Modified: 2013-01-22
Just a question for the other experts out there..

On a virtual server with a 10k SAS Array and a 7.2k SAS Array, where would you put the Exchange databases?

-It's an organisation of 20x SBS2011 users
-Space on the 10K array is limited to 300GB (we need to use it sparingly), 1TB on the 7.2k array
-All Exchange users will be using cached Exchange mode
-There are other LOB programs/databases which will be taking up a lot of the 10k Array, do we really need Exchange be on the faster array?

We normally put the OS and databases requiring fast access on the faster array and all data on the slower one including Exchange databases. Bearing in mind most of our clients are < 25 SBS users, are there any disadvantages to designing this way?
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Question by:progressit
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Expert Comment

by:Postmaster
ID: 38722777
Speed is more critical for logs than for database. Logs are cleared each backup, and should not be on the same physical drives as the database.
If the disks run a write cache, you will not notice much difference.
Make sure you have some form of RAID to cope with a drive failure. (mirror at minimum)
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by:progressit
ID: 38722787
Thanks for your reply, both arrays are in a RAID1 mirror with write cache enabled (controller is battery backed).
There wont be an unusual volume of emails and if all users are using cached exchange mode, a slight degradation in performance surely wont be noticed by the end users.
And we have the logs and databases on different logical partitions, but the same array of physical hard drives. For the scale we're dealing with separate disks would be overkill.
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Neil Russell earned 500 total points
ID: 38722917
When you talk about an array on 10K disks and an array on 7.2k disks, that is not the be all and end all.
If your 10k array is on 3 physical disks and your 7.2k array is on 7 physical disks then your 7.2k array "Can" outperform the 10k array.

You need to be precise when asking this type of question.

That aside, I would agree with you that for the size of your installation, different virtual disks on the 7.2k is going to perform perfectly ok. As you are restricted to a 300GB limit on the 10K i wouldnt be looking at putting database logs on it anyway. If your backups fail and your not maintaining your logs you could fill whats left of those disks and end up with no exchange.
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by:jimmithakkar
ID: 38723057
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by:Neil Russell
Neil Russell earned 500 total points
ID: 38723068
Bear in mind that articles like those posted above are for the design and implementation of Exchange 2010 in an exnterprise, taking things like DAG's into consideration.

You are talking about a 20-25 user SBS installation.  Although they may make interesting bedtime reading, they have very little relevance to you or your question.

Whatever drives you put your exchange database and logs on, you are NOT going to stress the system or notice any real performance differences.  Your idea to place 2 volumes on the 7.2k disk array is fine and you will have no issues.

Neilsr
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by:Postmaster
ID: 38725427
Probably a more important consideration is any other I/O intensive applications. eg. best not to share disk with SQL or file and print for example.

Honestly for the handful of users you have, it will cope easily. You may even consider a hosted Exchange service for so few users.
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