Raid setup for Exchange 2013 server and file storage

Hi there, I need to setup a new server, we are looking at a DL380 G9
We have a mainly mac environment but we want to bring email in house with file storage too.

There are only around 16 users with mailboxes totalling GB
The file storage if the big question mark but probably around 3-4TB which allows plenty of growth.

The server will kind of be an SBS setup. Would it be better to have separate servers for exchange and one for AD and file server? Or can we get this all onto 1 server with server 2012 without a problem,?

As for the Raid setup I have read a few things which are advising me against raid 5 for exchange, So can you advise me of the best setup for the above setup? Im assuming having the exchange database of a raid1 and the file storage on raid 5 or 6, but your advice will be very welcome.


Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

You need to have separate servers for the DC, Exchange Server and file-server. Personally I'd install Hyper-V core or ESXi on the server hardware, and then use VM's for your different servers. Windows 2012 r2 standard comes with 2 licenses as far as I know, so one of the licenses can be for the DC VM, the other for the exchange VM.

As for RAID, RAID 5 is outdated and there is no reason to risk your data more than necessary using it these days. It was OK over a decade ago because the disks at that time used to be low in capacity and expensive, with RAID 5 you could use the least number of disks for the highest possible total capacity, and still have some redundancy. With today's huge capacity disks you don't need to optimize the array for the largest possible capacity anymore. RAID 6, 1 or 10, and maybe a hot-spare is what I'd use.
DavidAuthor Commented:
I forgot to say currently there is 150GB of email,

Good point regarding hyper v, would it be an idea to setup the DC on the hardware then setup 2 VM, 1 being the exchange and another being the file server? Or are you saying I should have 3 VM (exchange, DC, file server) on the hardware?

No, the hardware should only have the Hyper-V task. The DC should be a VM. Yes, you should have 3 VM's, one for each task. You could also use a NAS for your File-Server, if it's OS is AD aware.
Big Business Goals? Which KPIs Will Help You

The most successful MSPs rely on metrics – known as key performance indicators (KPIs) – for making informed decisions that help their businesses thrive, rather than just survive. This eBook provides an overview of the most important KPIs used by top MSPs.

DavidAuthor Commented:
thanks, so the hyper vs will be happy running on raid 6
Only 16 users?   Considering the expense in hardware and time, and then licensing, system maintenance, and backup operations .. then why even do it?   Outsource to a company for managed exchange services.    For a few hundred dollars a month this will be somebody else's headache.

Personally, i use, but do your own homework.  I'm just saying it (outsourcing my exchange server to third party into the cloud) was best IT decision I ever made.   Once you run the numbers it just doesn't make financial sense to do this yourself, especially if you need help even figuring out what hardware you need.  This indicates you'll need training and setup help as well,

And yes, we're mostly a mac shop here, and it works just fine with the MacBooks and IOS based phones.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
Tony GiangrecoCommented:
I'd move the users over to Hosted Exchange. It provides many new features and moved responsibility of maintaining Exchange to a someone else who may have much more exchange experience that your company has available. this also provides standard access for multiple platforms like Windows, iPhone/Max), android and blackberry devices. Managing all those on your own network can be a pain.
DavidAuthor Commented:
I agree I would love them to go to exchange but the owner has security concerns because of who they are that people may go through their emails. Im still trying to reassure them.
But either way there will be a server as they do need storage
Then that company is just as exposed if they have wifi, or let people get their email on hotel LANs, homes, or on cell phones or at the local starbucks.  Figure it will cost well over $10K + thousands more every year to maintain to do it in-house.  

So unless company locks email down to physically attached computers at the office on ethernet ports, then they are no worse off with security outsourcing.
And as for security with an in-house server ... I submit it is child's play to hack into one of those if they don't have highly skilled security talent and procedures.   It would be much more difficult to hack into a managed exchange hosting provider.   They have numerous employees who do nothing more than security monitoring traffic 24x7x365.

In-house, as such, is a HIGHER risk unless they add a six-figure budget for even one security person.
Tony GiangrecoCommented:
I agree with dlethe, the hosted Exchange solution is much better because they already have address security and normally my have an employee on staff that is trained in maintaining and monitoring security.

Unless you have years of Exchange experience along with Exchange, Windows and Router security training, you open yourself up to providing that protection.

Hope this helps!
(Correction, i use ...)
Agree, Hosted
Have the exchange and drive spaced hosted
Now you don't have to worry about hardware expenses, power 24x7, cooling 24x7, security.
Someone could break into your building and steal the servers, you wouldn't know if they were going to hack into them or just sell the hardware.

Does it have to be exchange, can it be office365?
DavidAuthor Commented:
They are having a bad experience with office 365 so i have been pushing them to have a full blown hosted exchange, but only time will tell
Tony GiangrecoCommented:
I agree as I mentioned above. Hosted Exchange is a much better solution for most companies.
Yes, Office365 is always in recovering mode
Do a hybrid solution and point everyone to your server,
Now if the server goes down you can redirect everyone to office365
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.