I'm planning to buy a Dell PowerEdge R710 2 x Intel® Xeon® E5620 2.4Ghz, 12M Cache,Turbo, HT 16 GB RAM Windows Server 2008 R2 Exchange 2010 150 Exchange CALs

PERC 6/i SAS RAID Controller, 2x4 Connectors, Internal, PCIe,256MB Cache,x6 I'm not sure how many hard drives I'll buy or how I'll configure the arrays

The environment in question will only have a maximum of 150 users for the next few years, and their usage is light to average. Many of the users aren't allowed to receive or send email outside the domain. The environment is a production environment but extreme high performance and extreme high availability isn't necessary I'm just looking for something that works well. For reference the current Exchange 2003 server which is being replaced is a 5 year old single core 2 MB RAM server with a single 250 GB hard disk which is still meeting everyone's performance expectations.

The documentation I've read recommends I put the OS and Software on one RAID array, the log files on another RAID array, and the mailboxes on another RAID array, etc.

Arrays: 1. Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange 2010 2. Logs 3. Mailboxes

Is this environment too small to warrant setting up multiple RAID arrays like above? Should I just set up the server with a single RAID 10 array and put the OS, Software, Logs, Mailboxes, i.e. everything on the single array?

Should I set it up some other way? Three RAID 1 arrays perhaps for the three separate items listed above for instance?

The RAID isn't intended as backup. Acronis will be used for backup.


What about ONE array, RAID 10? One partition or two. Will not make ANY difference in IO capacity with the load you run. Keep things simple.

  • IMO the bare minimum is to split off into 2 drives, across 2 arrays. 'System' for the OS, and 'Data' for the app install, logs, and information store. Keeping the page file seperate from the logs & store is definitely a good idea IMO. Also, you can do 2 disk array for the OS, and a 4-to-6 disk array for the data... nice and fast, and still simple! – Chris Thorpe Jul 13 '10 at 7:56
  • Whta for? Do not get me wront, but the OS does not a lot, and the IOPS budget for the drives do simply not change - you get random patterns ANYWAY. – TomTom Jul 13 '10 at 8:06
  • What do you mean by the IOPS budget for the drives doesn't change? What do I gain in comparing a RAID 10 array with one partition versus a RAID 10 array with 2 partitions? If the partitions are on the same RAID array I don't gain any spindle speed right? I only gain separating where files are stored and where fragmentation happens? Are there other gains? Thanks – caleban Jul 13 '10 at 14:22
  • A drive has n IOPS load it can handle. This does not change with any RAID level- The RAID level may "loose" IOPS (like RAID 5 which needs many operations for a write). Having one or two partitions does not change the IOPS limits of the drive - the drive can still physically only handle X operations per second of random reads/writes. Having 2 partitions or 1 on a disc will not change that. – TomTom Jul 13 '10 at 15:23

Based on your server size 3 RAID 1 arrays should be fine.

Exchange 2010 is much less IO intensive than prior Exchange versions. With only 150 users you really don't need a really hard code server.

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