SQL Performance on SBS 2011

I've inherited an SBS 2011 server.   All services are installed on a single partition (C:)  The the customer does heavy sql work using Thompson Reuters CS.  This is a practice management solution for CPAs.

With 36 Gb RAM, everything is hideously slow and 10 users have trouble accomplishing the simplest of tasks.

Does it make sense to move the SQL instances to a separate RAID volume for better performance? (I know this is a broad\general question, but they are not on a budget that would allow them to replace the server with the correct environment.)

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Ryan McCauleyConnect With a Mentor Data and Analytics ManagerCommented:
If you use perfmon, I'd take a quick look at the disk read/write queue for the single partition - if it's above 1 steadily, that's a problem, and it means that there's always at least one command waiting for access to the disk and the disk is never idle. This can lead to slow performance, especially if that same partition also contains the swap file (with 36GB of RAM you shouldn't need to swap, but that doesn't mean it doesn't cause a problem).

Since you're using Windows 20008 R2, you could also use the Resource Monitor (the "Disk" tab, under the "Disk Activity" panel) to get a clear picture of hard drive performance. If you sort by the latency column, what kind of values are you seeing? That will show you how long, on average, a request for something on the disk has to wait to be serviced. Values under about 25MS are pretty quick, and even values up to 100ms aren't terrible (though a bit slow), but if you're seeing values well above this, it's time to consider separate physical disks for whatever has the largest throughput - in your case, likely SQL Server.

SBS is handy because it's easy to configure and it supports very small offices well, but it doesn't scale well and it puts everything on a single server, so ramping up the load can quickly lead to contention problems like what you're seeing. Good luck!
Cris HannaCommented:
Part of the issue "could be" if there really is 36 GB of RAM in the server.  Server 2008r2 which SBS 2011 is based on, has limit of 32gb of Ram.   While a single partition is not the best configuration, it's not impossible.  Is this a raid 1 or raid 5 partition?  What kind of drive controller?  yes a separate partition on a good controller could help.  But the real key is running Perfmon to find the real culprit
OnsiteSupportAuthor Commented:
thanks Ryan. just moving email off the server was a tremendous improvement.  Disabled the exchange services with no ill side effects.

great info!
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