Need help to choose a server

Posted on 2014-08-07
Last Modified: 2014-08-13
I need to choose a rack mounted server for a small business (about 10-12 users). This will be the only server and will host the data shares and the following applications: Exchange Server 2013 Std  and another scheduling server software that needs a Sql Server Std. What would be the recommended configurations(from real life experiences) I should look for? 1-processor/socket or 2-processor/socket server – which one to choose? Any list of must-have? Any suggestions will be highly appreciated. Thanks in advance
Question by:Byas_Saha
    LVL 87

    Accepted Solution

    The number of CPU's/Sockets isn't as important as the amount of RAM, but having more sockets gives you some leeway for future upgrades.

    But as I said RAM is important. Besides the hypervisor Host, you will have to run at least 3 server guests (one a Domain Controller, another for Exchange server, and a 3rd for SQL server) on your server hardware, and all of those OS's will require the same amount of RAM as a physical server would need.
    LVL 1

    Assisted Solution

    by:Daniel Blackmore
    Because you are having Exchange on the server (Despite a small amount of mailboxes). I would highly recommend using the Microsoft Exchange 2013 Sizing calculator (

    That will give you a good base requirement as Exchange will most likely be the primary system that will be using most of the resources. Obviously you will need to account for Fileserver and also the SQL installation as well.

    As a very very (VERY) base guideline, I would be looking at something like the following -

    1 CPU (6-8 Cores)
    16-24GB RAM (Depending on the Sizing requirements and also SQL requirements)
    4 x 500GB 10K (15k if you can afford) SAS Disks configured in RAID5 (1.5TB usable) or you can go with RAID10 but will need to increase disk count or stick with 1TB usable

    The spec may seem high, but the commericals for the additional RAM and Disk would outweigh the risk in the server being over utilised. Nothing worse than spending £2-3K on a new server and have it perform worse than expected
    LVL 3

    Assisted Solution

    by:Davy Paridaens
    I've used Dell here only as an example.

    Keep in mind that you have to calculate that there could be an expansion in the amount of users, SQL DB, mailboxes (we are talking 2~10GB),logs,cache,...

    Endpoint protection exclusions are important to prevent SQL DB and Exchange issues:

    Dell Poweredge R710:

    Raid calculator:

    With the price of the Hard drives today i would sugest RAID 10
    See with your reseller how long it would take to deliver a spare HDD.
    Consider  to have spare HDD (RAID that runs in degraded mode is extreamly slow)

    Dont forget your rails and power cable management:

    A good Unified Treath management(example):

    Place an UPS always at the bottom of the rack preventing the rack from tipping over (example 3500VA is 50~60Kg)
    A UPS is one of the key elements regarding surge protection and power outage (calculate the powerusage of the devices in the rack):

    What about IP phones

    If you need some detailed information about the hardware just ask
    LVL 55

    Expert Comment

    Are you sure you want a rack server rather than a tower? They're generally louder due to the large number of small fans so not ideal unless there's a separate room to house it or an acoustic rack which is rather expensive.

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