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sbs 2011 with 2 SATA drives in IDE mode

Posted on 2013-06-07
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Last Modified: 2013-06-08
I need to deploy an SBS 2011 server for a small LAN.  3 users running windows 7 Pro.
They will be running exchange and multiuser tabs3 software

Will two 500G 7200rpm  drives  ( drive 1 for the OS and drive 2 for data)   running in standard IDE mode provide acceptable performance or should I still consider a RAID setup.

Will be using a XEON E-1220 cpu and 16G RAM
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Question by:vled
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by:MrC63
MrC63 earned 38 total points
ID: 39230104
Performance in standard IDE mode will be fine.  If you are considering running in RAID 0 (striped), the performance will be slightly faster, however this is a very precarious scenario. Any problem on either drive will result in total failure of the server.  Personally, I would never run a server on a RAID 0 array.

And of course, the choice of drives will also impact the performance.  For a server, spend a few extra bucks and get server-class (sometimes called Enterprise class) SATA drives.  They are a few more dollars, but well worth it in the long run.

If you want ultimate performance, then instead of a 500 GB SATA drive, put in a 250 GB SSD drive for the O/S, and then use a 500 GB (or larger) drive for the data volume.  250 GB should offer more than enough room for SBS with only 3 or 4 users.
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Expert Comment

by:dlethe
ID: 39230362
Get a proper native SATA2 or 3 controller for all of $20.

IDE mode prevents the HDD from using the higher-speed DMA. You loose queued I/Os which means no reordering of I/O requests in the HDD.  You lose ability for higher efficiency I/O commands that can read/write 32KB or more at a time (this varies).

For a $20 native SATA controller, you can also mirror the disks with software. SBS will do read-load balancing so in perfect world you get twice the read performance in a RAID1 than if you had a single disk.  (PLus you get all that data protection)
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by:MrC63
ID: 39230410
Virtually every MOBO today, and in particular one that supports a XEON CPU, will have native SATA built in.  In the BIOS, the choices are a bit of a misnomer in terms of how the SATA controller is configured.  That doesn't mean the MOBO doesn't have native SATA support.  The question is whether RAID or IDE ( separate drives / SATA).
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Author Comment

by:vled
ID: 39231472
MrC63 indicated that performance will be fine but Just to restate the question. I will be using the on-board SATA controller of the motherboard.  The motherboard Bios mode choices for the on-board SATA are IDE, AHCI, or RAID.  I want to use IDE mode.  One SATA drive will be for the o.s. - SBS 2011, the second drive strictly for data.

I was wondering if anyone has tried that drive configuration with SBS 2011. Would it provide acceptable performance for a 3 user LAN.  The users will all be running exchange and tabs3 multiuser software

Will be using a XEON E-1220 cpu and 16G RAM
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Accepted Solution

by:
dlethe earned 37 total points
ID: 39231504
Do not use the IDE mode. Period. It will negatively impact performance when optimal and degraded.  Use AHCI mode.   IDE mode won't even support all models of SATA drives should you wish to go to them in the future.
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