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Has anyone experience of running SBS 2008 Standard (so no SQL) on low spec hardware? In particular I'm concerned about the disk system, since CPU and memory are cheap these days.

We have a number of customers running SBS 2003 on Poweredge 840s with a SAS5/i RAID controller (no battery so write-thru not write-back) and two 146GB disks as a RAID1. For a 5 user network this is more than adequate, but SBS 2008 seems considerably more demanding and the SAS5/i is a fairly basic controller. However using a Perc5/i and a three or four disk RAID5 adds a lot to the cost and our small customers are likely to baulk at the cost.

Has anyone used SBS 2008 on hardware like this? Is the SAS5/i and 146GB of disk space adequate?


John Rennie

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For only 5 users - why not use SATA??? You can run much bigger disks (250, 500 or even 1 TB drives)?? –  Rob Bergin Jun 1 '09 at 0:09

5 Answers 5

Don't bother with the extra expense of the Perc and RAID5 in this situation. Stick to RAID1 in this case as it gives you good data protection at a better price point. Rather spend some of the extra money on memory to ensure that the services that you want to run are not impacting performance.

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A 4-disk RAID-5 is unlikely to add much - even with all the services in use a small business is probably won't generate much disk traffic. Just make sure the machine has enough memory for all of the services.

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Disk performance shouldn't be a problem for a 5-user network like yours, unless you do heavy file sharing or something like that. SBS 2008 per se isn't more demanding than 2003 in terms of disk I/O; if your CPU and RAM configuration can handle 2008 and you're not putting more load on your server than you did with 2003, then everything will be fine.

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I know it seems like a lot of hardware for a small shop, but running Exchange really needs two arrays, (if not two raid controllers!) so that the datafiles and logs aren't on the same disks...

Failure of your datafile disks array (and I have seen multilple drives fail at once in RAID5) means you can recover to a point in time as long as the log files are on a separate array.

Failure with logs on the same disk means you can only get mail up to your most recent backup...

Just an fyi as I know many shops will forego the expense, but I push on this as it has saved me once, and I got caught out on it once!!

I suppose if users are in cached mode outlook then mail can be brought current...as a workaround--just be sure to export their mail from the workstation before bringing exchange back online...if logs are gone, the database will be older than the OST file on the client...and the client won't usually connect....until the ost is deleted and then rebuilt..so export the ost first...make sense?


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up vote 0 down vote accepted

OK we've now set up an SBS 2008 server on a Poweredge 840 with two Western Digital RE3 SATA disks as a RAID1 on a SAS5iR controller. This is for a very small office (only three users) and it's working OK. The disk speed is not stunning, but it's quite acceptable.


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