Hoping for your thoughts and insights regarding a new server config.

Currently, we're running everything on one server, which seems to run fine. No complaints of speed issues. This includes, MailEnable, DNS, a single Web Application a few small websites and SQL Server 2005. It's 5 years old and for a number of reasons we want to upgrade it. In addition, we're looking to add an additional web application. Both currently see about 300-500 users per day. Ideally, the new one would grow to thousands per day within a year.

So, for the purpose of scoping, lets put it at:

  • a few very small & low-traffic info only static websites
  • Mailenable with maybe 20 accounts, 5 domains.
  • 2 web apps - highly database driven, with SQL server 2008 backend. One with 500 users/day. The other with 5000 /day.
  • DNS for the 2 web apps and small websites.
  • SQL Server 2008.

So, assuming we only need to cope as this for a maximum for the next year or 2, would the following hardware be enough to support it:

» Processor: AMD x6 1055T HEXA Core » RAM: 8GB DDR SDRAM » HD1: 2 x 250GB SATA RAID 1 (+250 GB 7200 RPM SATA hard drive) » HD2: SATA Backup Drive (+250 GB SATA (7,200 rpm)) » Bandwidth: 6000GB Monthly Transfer

It's a challenge to try to find a balance, so really looking forward to all your feedback.



You'll have to be careful with SQL Server, because it's designed to use as much RAM as is available, not to mention thrashing the drive (though you're not clear on how BUSY those 5000 users per day will be. One transaction per second will be easily handled, for example).

Based purely on that, I'd sooner run the DB on a separate box. If you're not expecting much database traffic (e.g. caching of certain requests, etc.), your hardware could probably handle it.

  • Thanks Randolph. Good point on SQL Server. If I were to run a seperate database server, still considering this scenario, how much hardware you think would be appropriate? – user49529 Jul 28 '10 at 5:40
  • Honestly, I'd run the webaps on a second server and use this one for the DB. Unless those webaps are pretty CPU intensive, a quad core will handle it very simply (possibly a dual). The caching requirements may push RAM up but 3-4GB should suffice. – sysadmin1138 Jul 28 '10 at 5:47
  • hmm... yeah, there's not a lot of caching going on, so heaps of db access. Applications themselves are fairly low impact. One of them accesses quite a bit of media potentially though (images/video) – user49529 Jul 28 '10 at 5:51
  • @sysadmin1138 - I completely agree with your comment. @localman - see about improving caching and reducing the load on the DB for common stuff (I touched on that in my answer), and you'll be amazed at how that improves performance. Even on the same box. – user3914 Jul 28 '10 at 16:10

It's quite a few years after the fact, but Cloud Computing has come a long way in recent years. Since you're running a Microsoft stack, I personally recommend Azure. They're priced right, and you can run separate instances for DNS, Mail, Web, SQL, etc.

It's a really cost effective way to distribute your critical infrastructure across multiple instances of Windows. The way I see it, Azure allows for an easy way to backup and restore your VM's, gives you dedicated resources, and is super easy to setup and configure.

I'd also take it a step further and setup WebSitePanel across all of your VM's so that you can create hosted spaces with ease. WSP is free and very powerful to use.

note: Azure runs Ubuntu Linux as well

Azure WebSitePanel

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