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I'm thinking of getting my own dedicated server with the following stats:

Processor: Celeron 440 2.0 GHz Memory: 1 GB Primary Hard Drive : 160 GB SATA II

This will be running Windows. I have some experience with my local IIS and playing around with servers, but I have never set one up (at least a Windows one) and I've never dealt with DNS/backup/security issues.

My question has two parts:

  1. Will this server be able to run Windows 2008, SQL Server 2008, and possible Exchange on it without trouble. I'm worried about the processor and RAM.

  2. Are there any guides/tutorials that talk about how to admin a windows server from start to finish. (I'm looking for something like the FAQs slicehost has for *nix based servers).

Thanks.

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Could you add your purpose for this box. Production or just playing around? –  Chris Lively May 26 '09 at 19:44

7 Answers 7

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You should be able to run Server 2008 on this ok, and you may be ok with Exchange 2003, although you may be pushing it a bit if you have alot of users. Exchange 2007, however, is not something I would run on this. Exchange 2007 needs alot of memory, it struggles with 2GB, with minimal users, I would reccomend at least 4GB if you have multiple users of Exchange, it also requires a 64bit CPU and a 64bit version of Windows.

As for administration guides, theres lots of resources on the internet, you may find some useful videos in the free videos section at CBT Nuggets.

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Is this a server for you to play with and test things out on, or is it going to be a production server?

If the latter, I strongly suggest two servers. SQL and Exchange do not get along well together. They're both memory hogs, they can both use the disk heavily.

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Please consider that this processor is a single-core, 64-bit-capable chip that cannot hardware-enabled virtualisation and may be limited by the amount of memory that can be added. I'm sure you'll be able to get the code list you mention running on the box but I wouldn't expect it to be particularly fast.

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I would actually recommend 8GB and running 64 bit version of OS- both Exchange and SQL should be provided with a good amount of RAM. If you are only going to load them and never really use them, 4GB might work, but IMHO there is no reason to put less than 8GB on a server now with the price of RAM.

As far as admin guides, IIS, Exchange, and SQL are really their own topics and you are probably going to have to get separate manuals for the latter two at least. Don't expect to learn how to administer them from a FAQ.

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From the stats, this looks like a second hand box, so I'm guessing you don't plan on upgrading the hardware. The setup will run fine, but along with the rest of the commenters, it's only really a test box. If you're planning on using it in any kind of production capacity you need something a bit beefier. Another caveat - Windows 2008 will run, but I believe Windows 2008 R2 is 64-bit only so you will need a different machine if you want to run that.

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You're correct on Win 2008 R2. 64 bit only. –  GilaMonster May 12 '09 at 13:23

One of our clients used to run a busy website (500,000 visitors a month) with a busy forum (an average day a little under 1,000 posts with 5 years of history) on SQL Server 2000 and Windows 2003. The hardware was only a celeron and it was never under 75% CPU usage, and a few times a month would max out at 100% leaving the website painfully slow to use.

Granted, the O/S and SQL Server are older versions than you're looking at, but since we took over and moved the website onto a dual Xeon server they haven't had a slow website (occasionally, the CPU spikes at around 25%, but only for a second - they're still running SQL2000 and Win2003, but we did upgrade the forums software which is a lot more efficient. The databases on the server are about 0.5GB). As others are saying, it should be fine for testing or if only used by a few users.

We also have a Small Business Server 2003 running Exchange on a P4 2.4Ghz with 1GB RAM. It's hosted in a data-centre and supports 8 users/mailboxes just fine. It's very noticeable when I remote desktop onto it how slow it is compared to our other servers, but for accessing webmail or email via Outlook/other clients it's not noticeable.

I've never run both SQL and Exchange on the same box.

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Memory: 1 GB

Upgrade that to 4GB. RAM is cheap.

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4 GB are too much as well, enough 2 GB. But sure based on stuff running on the server. –  Amr ElGarhy May 12 '09 at 12:19
    
If he wants to use Exchange 2007, 2GB is the bare minimum –  Sam May 12 '09 at 12:21
    
as well as 64bit Windows. A Celeron will be weaksauce in any scenario. –  p.campbell May 12 '09 at 13:43
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@Amr: 2x1GB DDR2-800 is 28€. No reason whatsoever, not to buy it. –  vartec May 12 '09 at 14:35
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@vartec: if he is renting the server from a host, then upgrading ram can be costly. My host charges $15 - $25 per gb per month for ram upgrades. –  Chance Jun 8 '09 at 4:02

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