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Server Configuration

Hi we are a small business and we are at the point where we are writing the specs for a new server. This server will primaliy be dedicated to SQL server 2000. It will be running on SBS2003. AS of right now, we have few databases – some very small, and some of them are 20Gb,30GB and the biggest we have is a 70GB database. And they all add upto 200GB.
We dont really use them all at the same time. We get raw data and we populate the databases initially and run queries on them and manipulate tables or read couple of million rows. This work is really random. IT doesnt happen all the time, and sometimes the server can be sitting idle doing nothing for days. And some days there are big queries running for days. And more importantly, we will have ONE user, if not two at the most. And indexing is done often and then dropped again once we insert more data. So we do need good indexing. Where should we be looking to spend more money on? – RAM?
– Processor Speed ( Dual Vs Single )
– SCSI drives or SATA/ATA
– which RAID configuration? Any suggestions will be very appreciated. Thanks
Kode All those things you mention are important to helping SQL Server perform better and, becuase cost is always the limitation, you tend to have to go for ‘Value For Money’. The more you can get in all those areas the better your server will perform. I tend to take the approach of getting a budget for my server and finding the best out there for the budget. In general terms RAID is better than not – try to go for RAID 5 as it has optimal Read/Write (you will need 3 disks minimum)
SCSI is better than ATA – although you can still do RAID with those if you get the right controller
2 GB of RAM is the maximum you need as Windows cannot address any more than that for a standard 32-bit app
On the processor side, get as much bang for you buck as you can I’m not an expert on these matters but I do get asked to spec servers fairly frequently. I’d get a second opinion on whatever I recommend here. Hope this helps. Regards
In order to configurate you server, first look what kind of SBS do you have to know maximun capacities. I will go with RAID 10 instead RAID 5 (of course is more money), but if conditions change with time, RAID 10 is faster to write than RAID 5. Luis Martin
Moderator All postings are provided “AS IS” with no warranties for accuracy.
Thank you Tim and Louis. I am looking at Dell 2650. It is a Dual Xeons 2.8Ghz/512MB/533Mhz Bus
Is it better to get a 3.2Ghz/1MB cache/ 800 FSB in my case instead of the
2 processors. I am thinking this because we will have only ONE user or 2 at
the most, and also, I read in the forums here that it is better to go with
the largest cache possible. Another thing is the RAID array. For my particular case, I am debating
whether to go with a single array or two arrays RAID 5 – 3 75GB 10K SCSI disks or RAID 1 – OS & Server Executables
RAID 5 – Data Files Any performance differences between these 2 configurations.
As far as I can see right now, our read/writes are all random. I would safely
assume 50/50 read writes. Our system is not a mission critical server, but used by ONE user, and 2 at the most on some occasions – manipulating tables, and querying a couple of million rows sometimes, populating databases from Raw data etc.
Thanks again
I also have the 2650 server and and wondered how best to tackle SQL on a bow with 5 drive bays – not my choice but hey, sometimes we have to work with what we have [<img src=’/community/emoticons/emotion-5.gif’ alt=’;)‘ />]<br /><br />My plan is to do a RAID 5 for the OS and data and a RAID 1 for the logs.<br /><br />I will split the RAID 5 into 3 partitions, 1 for OS, 1 for databases and 1 for backups – this isn’t for anything other than to ensure a ‘common’ build across my servers e.g.<br /><br />C drive – OS<br />I drive – databases<br />T drive – Logs<br />Z drive – backups (enough space for 1 set of backups)<br /><br />If the client then adds on an external array they simply give it the appropriate drive letter and move the data.<br /><br />Just make sure you buy big enough discs – you dont want your partitions to be too small. My feeling is that be splitting the RAID 5 you also guarantee enough space for everything – as long as you have factored in growth. If you do one big array then if something eats your disc space – say a log file – you could have no space left to take a backup of your db….<br /><br />well there are 100’s of ways to skin a cat but this is the way I tend to do things [<img src=’/community/emoticons/emotion-2.gif’ alt=’:D‘ />]
Because one or two users, agree with your RAID configuration.
Anyway, you have chance to change if I/O is a problem in the future.
I suggest to put log file on RAID 1. Luis Martin
Moderator All postings are provided “AS IS” with no warranties for accuracy.
This is what I am going with: DELL
poweredge 2650 Dual Xeon 2.8 512K 533 Mhz
On board PERC3D/I RAID controller
RAID 5 – 3 X 73 GB SCSI drives I will have to go with one RAID array for everything. Budget constraint do not permit 2 more hard disks to have RAID1 for OS. Any comments on the server specs or RAID config?

Because Budget, I’m afraid no. Luis Martin
Moderator All postings are provided “AS IS” with no warranties for accuracy.
So if I decide to do RAID5 array across those 3 73GB disks,
I have a disk space of approximately 170GB. From what I have been reading, for my server hardware configuration and needs, this is what I am thinking of doing. 2 partitions: C: 12 GB – OS and SQL server installations
D: DATA drive for databases & some storage of 25GB. Ideally I should have 2 more disks with RAID 1 and have the OS on it,but that may not happen right now. So with this 1 RAID5 array w/2 partition configuration, are there any issues that you guys see – primarily,anything that I can do right now to make this system good. I want to do it right the first time, so I am not caught with my pants down later when we need to accomodate more databases. Right now, I have atleast 120GB of space for databases. That is good enough right now, but I wouldnt be surprised if we need more space. For that, I amthinking if we could add another 73Gb disk in maybe 6 months, I can accomodate more databases. Am I doing it right planning for future growth in terms of hard disk space? Please remember that the users we are gona have on this system at themost are 2 people running lots of long queries and manipulating tables at random times. SO at times, the system could be doing nothing. And we have a Compaq DLT backup tape machine that we intend to use for backing up databases. Can I hook this up directly with the server and use Veritas to do the backup?
Or is there a better way? Thanks again for all your advice!