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I have a DELL server:

Microsoft(R) Windows(R) Server 2008 X64 SP2 Standard Ed. Eng (5 CALs),FI PowerEdge T310 Tower Chassis for Up to 4x 3.5" Cabled HDDs with Quad-Pack LED Diagnostics Intel Xeon X3430 Xeon CPU, 2.4GHz, 8M Cache 8GB Memory (4x2GB), 1333MHz, Dual Rank UDIMMs

I am planning to install MYOB enterprise to run on the server. The server will be using terminal services. At the most there will be around 5 TS users using MYOB simultaneously.

The server will also be a Domain controller running AD, DHCP, DNS. About 10 users will connect to it on the physical site.

I am also planning to install Exchange 2010 onto this server. There will be about 15 users using the web interface, as well as regular imap to fetch their emails to pcs, phones, etc.

I am currently on a 1mbit upstream ADSL connection. The line will be shared by the 10 pc's in the office and the server (the 5 terminal services people, and the approx. 15 exchange users). All the PC's also use dropbox to store their files.

The company is set to expand in the next couple of years.

Is this a good idea? Is this plan future proof? Would it be better to outsource the exchange management? There company in question does not really have an IT department, so would rely on external contractors to manage the server in case anything needs updating or changing.

What would be your bandwidth recommendations for this setup?

Thank you, and kind regards, James

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closed as too localized by Mark Henderson Jan 16 '12 at 3:19

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Unfortunately, what your users are actually doing with the server will make a bigger difference than the number users you're forcasting. One user who likes to shuttle around big file attachments in email could make the server unbearable to use for everybody else. Assuming HTTP compression and RDP client settings for lower bandwidth you can get a lot of mileage out of 1Mb/sec upstream bandwidth, but one "greedy" user could ruin it for everybody. PCs on the LAN using the "Dropbox" service to store files will also be contending for upstream bandwidth when they're uploading files.

Using a router with some semblence of per-session rate limiting QoS functionality might be able to help matters, since you main bottleneck is upstream bandwidth. (Doing QoS on what you send is much easier than trying to do QoS on what you receive!)

Outsourcing Exchange will get that traffic off the ADSL connection (the remote users accessing Exchange). Presumably that would free up some upstream bandwidth, however it's unclear without real-world numbers what kind of "hit" your upstream bandwidth is going to take from the LAN users, who would still consume upstream bandwidth to access an outsourced Exchange offering.

My assessment would be something like: You're probably safe to try it and see, but I think you're going to find that upstream bandwidth to be a big constraint if users are pushing around significant quantities of data.

As an aside: I have one of those particular servers, personally. It's a nice little machine.

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I agree with Evan (I often find it is silly not to). Your users are going to determine whether or not this is a good fit.

With that being said, I think you have some minor rooms for improvement if you can fit them into the budget. Number 1, you'll probably want more memory. Exchange 2010 is a memory hog. 8GB is the minimum supported amount of memory for it (Source). If you add in AD and whatever programs people are going to run in TS, you're probably going to end up short.

I'd also recommend looking into virtualizing your setup. A copy of Windows Server Enterprise will give you 4 VMs to play with as well as 25 CALs included. This will definately help with the stability, security, and scalability of your entire system. You'd gain stability by having your major roles seperate (AD/DNS/DHCP on 1 VM, RDS on another, and Exchange on another). You'd gain security by not having users logon to the domain controller (which is generally considered a security no no). You'll gain scalability by having the option of moving the VMs to larger machines as the company grows. In 2 years time, if you find out the company has grown to the point where your server can't handle the load, buy another server and a windows license and just move the Exchange VHDs over to that server. It'd be minimal downtime.

So, my recommendations: double the memory. Get Server Enterprise. Assign 2GB to DC, 10 GB to Exchange, 4 GB to RDS, and 2 GB for overhead on the Hyper V.

Again, this is all assuming you can get the extra budget. It should be fairly easy to make a business case for it though.

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+1 Virtualize. Though I'd cut it a bit differently, DC 1GB, 8-10GB Exchange, Hyper-V 1GB, RDS 1GB/user (depending on the apps, this might still be light). –  Chris S Aug 20 '10 at 13:12

This is a starting point. You will find that as the company grows, so will the understanding that your services need to spread over more hardware, and if you do a lot of communication with folks outside the main building, your management will hopefully also understand that they need to upgrade their Internet link. Depending on where you are, this might be cheaper than you think.

But for starters, that box should do (given the contraints outlined by Evan).

One thing to be mindful of is the fact that MS Exchange Server is not particularly well suited for IMAP users. Messages inside Exchange Server are stored in MAPI format, but the IMAP protocol requires them to be transferred in MIME format. Therefore every single transfer of a message to a client triggers a conversion process, which uses disk based temporary files. This can get quite heavy and (especially for larger messages) can eat up quite a bit of performance. You can compensate for that to some degree by using 15krpm drives. There are also KB articles on how to configure Exchange for this situation.

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