I am looking at setting up my first server at a colocation.

I've no idea what I should really be going for, or what I need for adequate redundancy RAID 0 or RAID 1 etc.

The server will have Windows Server 2008 x64 installed on it.

It shall be used with many low traffic client websites some of which use Sql to store images etc.

The server will have to:

  1. run IIS7
  2. run as a windows domain nameserver
  3. run SQL 2008
  4. run Exchange 2010

I have done some research and found a HP ProLiant DL120 that seems good but costly.

Link: to spec for Hp ProLiant DL 120

Not sure if this would be overkill for my needs or just right considering the server will be utilised for a number of tasks.

The server comes with a hard drive but will I need a second for RAID 1? How does that work?

Anything aditional I need to add to this.. more memory etc?

Your help is much appreciated.



First, to address the specific questions/issues raised.

1- I think the hardware is sufficient, although it is hard to extrapolate a load from the question. I would get the best server I can afford.

2- Yes, get a second (identical) drive for RAID1; I would buy it with the server. How it works depends on the RAID controller; most likely there is a program you run in the BIOS to manage it.
--> Note to all: Let's not start the religious war about RAID. The OP said RAID1 and the on-board controller supports it.

3- I would up the memory to 4GB, and I would do if in such a way that more can be added easily.

Second, additional thoughts.

a- You will very likely have trouble with the software configuration you mention. Exchange does not like to share a server with other applications.

  • If the reason for Exchange is to allow the web sites to send mail, there is an SMTP service built into IIS for just this purpose.
  • If you need to actually run mail service, I recommend you do it on a separate server. If cost is an issue, use something other than Exchange .. several other options mentioned here.
  • SQL Server and IIS play fine together; Exchange should be on it's own server. Separate virtual on same hardware is fine.

b- There is a lot involved in setting up IIS and SQL Server in a "hosting" configuration. If you don't know how to do it, get help.

c- Don't forget backup (and testing of the recovery). You need to be able to recover the sites in a reasonable amount of time if the server fails. My take on backup is here. It includes links to other questions that discuss options for backing up a Windows server. Running the server in a VM and saving the VM is one good option, although it can get hairy if the Windows/IIS/SQL install goes bad.

d- If by "windows name server" you mean an Active Directory domain controller, this should also be on a separate server/VM. I believe it is required for Exchange. If you mean running DNS, can do on the SQL/IIS system.

  • Does the second drive need to be exactly the same, i think? Are there other options than exchange then? As I do need some sort of mail client. Do you mean data backups or make it a VM and backup that? – asn187 Nov 19 '09 at 8:02
  • I think I added more info about all these items! – tomjedrz Nov 19 '09 at 15:49

Would virtualizing the server into 3 VMs as follows work?

  1. Sql
  2. Exchange
  3. IIS

Would this be a good idea?

  • Will update my answer. Suggest that you should update the question instead of adding an answer. – tomjedrz Nov 19 '09 at 18:48

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