• RSS
  • Twitter
  • FaceBook

Exchange Server Forums

Forums | Register | Login | My Profile | Inbox | RSS RSS icon | My Subscription | My Forums | Address Book | Member List | Search | FAQ | Ticket List | Log Out

Advice For An Exchange n00b

Users viewing this topic: none

Logged in as: Guest
  Printable Version
All Forums >> [Microsoft Exchange 2003] >> Installation >> Advice For An Exchange n00b Page: [1]
Login
Message << Older Topic   Newer Topic >>
Advice For An Exchange n00b - 19.Dec.2006 6:31:20 PM   
accesslist7

 

Posts: 4
Joined: 19.Dec.2006
Status: offline
Hello,

Before I ask my question, I just thought I'd mention that this is a really nice Exchange community you guys have here :)

I am primarily a network admin who has found himself in charge of our organization's two Exchange servers, Server A and Server B we shall call them.

Server A is on a crusty ancient piece of hardware that looks like it might die any day now. I need to buy and configure the new hardware and am looking for some advice.

Both servers are running Windows Server 2003 / Exchange 2003 Standard w SP2. They are not in a front/back end configuration.

Each server has approx 50 users on it. Server A also runs OWA and ActiveSync. Server A receives on average 822 emails per day, and sends out approx the same amount. The database size is currently 24GB (edb + STM). Checking the DB file size history before I came into the picture, it appears that this mail DB grows by about 2GB per year.

Checking the current disk configuration, it looks like this. Three disks on RAID5, split into three partitions C,D,E. OS lives on C, Exchange program,logs, and DB on E.

I've read through the whole forum here trying to get an idea for how the new server should be laid out. It has been suggested that it should look something like this:

RAID 1 - OS and Exchange program files
RAID 1 - Transaction logs
RAID 5 - Exchange DB

I have priced out a new server and have come up with this:

Dell 2950
2x Xeon 5110
4GB RAM
2x 36GB SAS
4X 73GB SAS

I am not sure why the transaction logs need to be on their own physical drives. Being the paranoid admin I am, I use NTBackup nightly to backup the Exchange database, which clears out all the transaction logs. I never really have more than 30 of them on the server at a time. In addition, I backup nightly with Backup Exec (the Exchange DB + the NTBackup of the Exchange DB).

I was going to setup the drives as such

RAID 1 - 2x 36GB - Partitioned into a C and D drive. C for the OS, D for the logs.
RAID 5 - 3X 73GB - Exchange DB (lots of room for my meager little 24GB DB)
1x 73GB Hot Spare for RAID 5 array

Does this seem like an acceptable config for a server of this volume? Am I setting myself up for failure? Any advice you could pass on to an old n00b would be greatly appreciated :)

Let me know if I've left out any pertinent information.

Thanks.
Post #: 1
RE: Advice For An Exchange n00b - 21.Dec.2006 6:14:14 AM   
mark@mvps.org

 

Posts: 6811
Joined: 9.Jun.2004
From: Philadelphia PA
Status: offline
Transaction logs need to be on different disks from the stores because if you lose the store disks you will need yesterdays store backup and todays logs. Since todays logs are on disks that didn't die you will be able to recover. If stores and logs were on the same disks the best you could recover would be up to last nights backup.

You don't need two servers. Can you just run with one? Exchange 2003 Standard gives you 75GB of email. It's a big waste of server and licence money. A decent server can run several thousand users, 100 is a pittance, even if there does seem to be quite a lot of email for so few users.

If you do need new hardware then yes, the kit you've specified is fine. I wouldn't necessarily go with RAID5 for the stores though, RAID1 would be perfectly good. Three RAID1 arrays (os, logs, stores) gives you maximum disk resiliency.

Biggest questions I have for you are:
Do you need two?
Is server B a decent box with enough storage or can it be upgraded efficiently?
Do you have any Event ID 1221 messages? That tells you about spare space and I'd want to make sure that your stores are being automatically maintained each night.
Check the "Maintenance Schedule" and see if the nightly backup is trampling all over the maintenance (which will stop when the backup wants to run)

_____________________________

Mark Arnold (Exchange MVP)
List Moderator

(in reply to accesslist7)
Post #: 2
RE: Advice For An Exchange n00b - 21.Dec.2006 6:27:02 PM   
accesslist7

 

Posts: 4
Joined: 19.Dec.2006
Status: offline
Thanks for your reply, Mark.

The new Dell box is on it's way. The old server was a dual Pentium III. The drives are whining loudly and there have been some mysterious reboots as of late.

Before just diving in, I've monitored the two servers for the last two months and made note of each server's hardware/software configuration.

Do I need two servers? Not sure. Like I said, I've just inherited these things. Not sure why there are two to start with. Server B's Exchange DB is about 32GB in size. Our users receive large attachments on a regular basis, so I could see this store growing larger in a year or two. I'm sure I'm not the only person to receive stiff resistance from end users regarding archiving -- or deleting items from the Sent/Deleted folders :)

I see Event ID 1221 in the Event Viewer. Doesn't report any errors, just the amount of free space in the db. The NTBackups are running at a different time than the nightly Exchange maintenance.

Server B is a semi-OK server. Single processor Xeon. 1GB RAM. It can be re-purposed.

Thanks for your help. Now that new hardware is on the way, I can think about possibly moving all mailboxes onto the new server and freeing up Server B .

(in reply to mark@mvps.org)
Post #: 3
RE: Advice For An Exchange n00b - 22.Dec.2006 7:13:44 AM   
mark@mvps.org

 

Posts: 6811
Joined: 9.Jun.2004
From: Philadelphia PA
Status: offline
Bring up the new server.
Switch the other server to be a Front End.
You'll be in good shape there with Best Practices and all.

_____________________________

Mark Arnold (Exchange MVP)
List Moderator

(in reply to accesslist7)
Post #: 4
RE: Advice For An Exchange n00b - 29.Dec.2006 2:38:17 PM   
accesslist7

 

Posts: 4
Joined: 19.Dec.2006
Status: offline
Mark, you got me thinking about needing only one Exchange server.

I have the new server up and running. I'll refer to it as Server C. My thoughts are to create two storage groups on Server C, move all mailboxes from Server A and Server B to Server C.

Server A happens to be the first Exchange server, so I'll follow the tutorial posted here at msexchange.org for Decommissioning the First Exchange Server and decommission Server A.

What is the advantage of keeping Server B and making it a Front End server versus running everything (SMTP, OWA, Store) on Server C? Is it just a matter of offloading the HTTP tasks and spam filtering from the back-end server? As you said, 100 users is a pittance :)

Thanks!

(in reply to mark@mvps.org)
Post #: 5
RE: Advice For An Exchange n00b - 29.Dec.2006 2:44:34 PM   
uemurad

 

Posts: 8232
Joined: 7.Jan.2004
From: California, USA
Status: offline
Unless you are going to upgrade to Exchange Enterprise, you'll be limited to a single Storage Group/Mailbox Store.

_____________________________

Regards,

Dean T. Uemura
Microsoft MVP - Exchange (2007-2011)
exchangeguy.blogspot.com
uemurad@yahoo.com

(in reply to accesslist7)
Post #: 6
RE: Advice For An Exchange n00b - 29.Dec.2006 8:02:37 PM   
accesslist7

 

Posts: 4
Joined: 19.Dec.2006
Status: offline
Well, you got me on that one! Standard does have that limit :(

I'll amend my statement and say "My thoughts are to move all mailboxes from Server A and Server B to Server C".

(in reply to uemurad)
Post #: 7

Page:   [1] << Older Topic    Newer Topic >>
All Forums >> [Microsoft Exchange 2003] >> Installation >> Advice For An Exchange n00b Page: [1]
Jump to:

New Messages No New Messages
Hot Topic w/ New Messages Hot Topic w/o New Messages
Locked w/ New Messages Locked w/o New Messages
 Post New Thread
 Reply to Message
 Post New Poll
 Submit Vote
 Delete My Own Post
 Delete My Own Thread
 Rate Posts


Follow TechGenix on Twitter