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Need server hardware advice


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We will be replacing our Mail, File and Web servers with new hardware this year and I need some advice.

The plan is to eventually run Longhorn Server on them and Exchange 2007. I know for the Exchange server i will need a 64bit server. My plans for each server are this:

Mail Server:

Exchange 2003/2007 inside a virtual server environment (either MS or VMware, most likely MS) in a single cluster config

~100 users will be on the system, most only have 35mb mailboxes

File Server and Web

We would like to consolidate our web and file servers into one physical box, running on one virtual server.

For the File part, we need at least 500gb of space for normal storage as well as a backup to disk option so we can have the most recent backups available.

For the web we plan to run sharepoint 2.0 in all its glory which will receive heavy usage.

For hardware i can't decide to use either 2 physical servers with 2 mirrored drives and a separate raid 5 array each or 2 physical servers with mirrored drives and a shared storage array for the virtual hard drives. I really need some advice here. Thanks.

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My recommendation:

2 Servers running VMware ESX Server 3.

Drive setup:

ESX Operating system drives: Mirrored.

Data Drives: 2 raid 5 arrays with 1 hot spare each.

Start your virtual drives off small, you can always grow them if necessary.


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The OS drives can actually be slower, since they are accessed less frequently and arent shared with virtual machines. The "data/vm" drives should be faster and set up in raid 5 or raid 10. Your other hardware specs seem about right, just make sure the server you buy has room to add ram in the future.

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sorry to take so long to get back. What would i need for processor speeds and ram? I was thinking dual Xeon single or dual core processors with 2-4gb of ram. For the hard drives i was thinking 15k scsi for the OS mirror and 10k scsi for the raid 5

Xeon processors, yumm i run those on my 'PC'.

if you want those, heres a link to what i think you'll want to at least look into.


dual core, 3.2GHz, Xeon...theres a 3.8GHz single core, which is the fastest stock CPU i've ever seen so far. that processor i linked has an even more impressive price tag, and is something you may like for a server. if servers aren't running Xeon CPU's, they're not really up to what they should be.

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My favorite dual-CPU server right now is the Dell PowerEdge 2900 (or 2950 if you're rack mounting, although you can rack mount the 2900 as well). The 2900 can support up to 10 SAS drives for plenty of space and speed. The 2950 can take up to 8 SAS drives if you use the 2.5" form factor.

As for CPUs...they have the latest, greatest quad-core Xeons at 2.66GHz with the 1333MHz FSBs. I would assume that if you're considering Virtual Server 2005 R2 then you'll be looking to run Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition. Enterprise Edition will allows you to run up to 8 Virtual Servers (using VS2005) without incurring any additional license fees (meaning you buy one license for 2003 R2 EE as the guest OS and you can run up to 8 virtual servers using VS2005 without purchasing anymore licenses).

Honestly though, I'm not sure I'd run the Exchange Server in a VS environment. I think I'd run that straight up and maybe run the file and web servers under VS. But that's just me. :)

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