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What to CHOOSE, SAS or SATA HD for Server, Im confused !?

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January 10, 2007 2:39:18 PM

Hi, I haven't decide yet what type of hard disks I am going to use for two servers that I'm setting up, its very confuse because in one side SATA seems to be "OK" and its cheap, but the other side SCSI is well known by its performance but alot more expensive, and for the number of users we've got, I may be well with SATA.

Situation:
I work for a Architects company, currently we've got 80 users, I have been ask to setup two servers, one is the file server and the other the email server. ATM we're using two old servers with SCSI U160 and its fine for the practice needs.

Initial Idea:
I have orders already two servers, both from Intel including SAS Controller (Hardware RAID), but not ordered the hard disks because I haven't made my mind yet.

My initial idea for the file server (Domain Controller/ Win2K3 64bit):
2x Maxtor Atlas 10K SAS - For O.S. and Homedirs
2x WD RE2 500GB SATA-300 - For file sharing (AutoCAD files, Photos and Videos)

Initial idea for the email server (Win2K3 64BIT / Exchange2K7 / SharePoint):
2x WD RAPTOR 74GB 10K SATA-300 - For O.S.
2x WD RE2 500GB 7.2K SATA-300 - For Exchange2K7 Database

All in RAID0

If it helps, I have ordered the following motherboard:
S5000PSLROMB + Activation Key for Hardware RAID + Battery SAS

Can you please help me make my mind!? Thanks
January 10, 2007 3:18:38 PM

I have done many new VMware and Exchange implementations with both SAS and SATA drives. It seems to me that both have an equal performance over standard copper networks. However, for heavy I|O instructions on a server I would definitely go with SAS drives, plus if I was managing the the product from a PM standpoint: SATA drive would work nice if you plan to come in under your budget. Of course from the Engineer standpoint, SAS all around :) 
January 10, 2007 3:49:33 PM

Quote:
My initial idea for the file server (Domain Controller/ Win2K3 64bit):
2x Maxtor Atlas 10K SAS - For O.S. and Homedirs
2x WD RE2 500GB SATA-300 - For file sharing (AutoCAD files, Photos and Videos)

Initial idea for the email server (Win2K3 64BIT / Exchange2K7 / SharePoint):
2x WD RAPTOR 74GB 10K SATA-300 - For O.S.
2x WD RE2 500GB 7.2K SATA-300 - For Exchange2K7 Database

All in RAID0


I would highly discourage RAID 0 on any server.

Your OS drives should probably be in RAID 1. The data drives can be RAID 1 or RAID 5 (if more capacity is desired and you have the room for the minimum 3 drives necessary).

For light data requirements, you may not need a separate RAID array for the data. On my Exchange server, I use 2x 74GB SCSI drives in a RAID 1. On it, I have 2 partitions, a 20GB C: for OS, and a 50GB D: holding the Exchange data. You may be able to do something similar, especially if you use larger drives for the RAID 1.

Further, if you're building these servers yourself (it sounds like you are), I would look at Seagate Barracuda NL35 drives, or the WD RE2 drives, they're highly reliable and designed for RAID applications.
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January 10, 2007 4:06:09 PM

Quote:
My initial idea for the file server (Domain Controller/ Win2K3 64bit):
2x Maxtor Atlas 10K SAS - For O.S. and Homedirs
2x WD RE2 500GB SATA-300 - For file sharing (AutoCAD files, Photos and Videos)

Initial idea for the email server (Win2K3 64BIT / Exchange2K7 / SharePoint):
2x WD RAPTOR 74GB 10K SATA-300 - For O.S.
2x WD RE2 500GB 7.2K SATA-300 - For Exchange2K7 Database

All in RAID0


I would highly discourage RAID 0 on any server.

Your OS drives should probably be in RAID 1. The data drives can be RAID 1 or RAID 5 (if more capacity is desired and you have the room for the minimum 3 drives necessary).

For light data requirements, you may not need a separate RAID array for the data. On my Exchange server, I use 2x 74GB SCSI drives in a RAID 1. On it, I have 2 partitions, a 20GB C: for OS, and a 50GB D: holding the Exchange data. You may be able to do something similar, especially if you use larger drives for the RAID 1.

Further, if you're building these servers yourself (it sounds like you are), I would look at Seagate Barracuda NL35 drives, or the WD RE2 drives, they're highly reliable and designed for RAID applications.

Thanks for the reply, Its RAID1 not 0, my mistake.
I want high store for exchange database because each mailbox will have 2GB of space, 2GB * 75 Users will give me 175GB + additional users.

Yes, I am building the server by my own.
January 10, 2007 4:12:05 PM

Have you looked into a SAN for the Exchange MailStores?
January 10, 2007 4:17:24 PM

no, because is only for 75users.
January 10, 2007 4:24:27 PM

Ok..just a thought. You'd save in the long run as far as having storage for file shares. I'm a big fan of iSCSI.
January 10, 2007 5:01:57 PM

I just built and installed my first iSCSI SAN. The thing is way cool ... massive amounts of storage shared amongst however many servers need it.

Unfortunately, I could only afford a cheapie. I got a Promise VTrak M500i, put in 10x 750GB Seagate Barracuda NL35s. The unit works very nicely, but the performance isn't up there with some higher-end iSCSI stuff, and nowhere near fibre channel SAN units.

OP:

You could go with higher capacity drives in the RAID 1 and still meet your storage requirements for the Exchange server. 2x 400GB Seagate Barracuda ES SATA drives would work nicely. Going from 4 drives to 2 drives on the server would allow you to use a 1U chassis instead of a 2U (I don't know if you're rack mounting these or not, but it's a consideration).

For only 75 users I don't know if you would benefit from SAS drives vice SATA, but I would think not. Good SATA drives that support NCQ would probably show little if any performance decrease over SAS drives for that few users.
January 10, 2007 5:03:28 PM

We always used SCSI and Raid-5.

How critical are those server?
How often will they be accessed?
How long can you have a machine down?
Low performance under heavy load is acceptable?
What is your total budget?

For your Exchange Server, I believe your HD may start crying if under heavy load.

In a business, normally extra HD are stocked just in case one fail in the Raid-5. If the case, remove the failed and put the new one and the Raid card will rebuilt it (and don not forget to get a new one! :) )

Even SCSI drive are expensive, there prices has dropped a lot since SATA.

For you, I would start answering questions like mine at the beginning of my post. May be in your case, just one big machine with dual/quad core or CPU with Raid-5 could be enough? The budget can be a big constraint.

And for my opinion, I do not like any of your two configurations as of company' server, especially for 80 users. We always had bigger machine for less then that. In our case, we had Dell Server and they where great but big and heavy.

Do not forget the backup procedures!

Any suggestions/comments on my post?
January 10, 2007 5:19:11 PM

Quote:
I just built and installed my first iSCSI SAN. The thing is way cool ... massive amounts of storage shared amongst however many servers need it.

Unfortunately, I could only afford a cheapie. I got a Promise VTrak M500i, put in 10x 750GB Seagate Barracuda NL35s. The unit works very nicely, but the performance isn't up there with some higher-end iSCSI stuff, and nowhere near fibre channel SAN units.

OP:

You could go with higher capacity drives in the RAID 1 and still meet your storage requirements for the Exchange server. 2x 400GB Seagate Barracuda ES SATA drives would work nicely. Going from 4 drives to 2 drives on the server would allow you to use a 1U chassis instead of a 2U (I don't know if you're rack mounting these or not, but it's a consideration).

For only 75 users I don't know if you would benefit from SAS drives vice SATA, but I would think not. Good SATA drives that support NCQ would probably show little if any performance decrease over SAS drives for that few users.


...Yeah I agree especially over a copper network with a light amount of users. SATA should be a cost cutting benefit.

I'm lucky enough to work for a solutions provider, so I get to play with all sorts of technology. I'd have to say SANs are the best things going, especially for DR site and replication. Most new SANs can now be used in VMs. Now a 4 Proc server with 16GB of ram can run 14+ servers without IO interference on the local disk.
January 11, 2007 8:44:37 AM

hmmm, What do you guys think !?

FILE SERVER:
2x MAXTOR ATLAS 10K SAS 146GB (HARDWARE RAID1)- For OS, profiles and homedirs
3x BARRACUDA ES SATA-300 500GB (HARDWARE RAID5)- For CAD/VIDEO/AUDIO

EMAIL SERVER:
2x WD RAPTOR 74GB 10K SATA-300 (HARDWARE RAID1)- FOR OS
3x BARRACUDA ES SATA-300 400GB (HARDWARE RAID5)- For Exchange 2007 DB

Hardware:
1x DUAL CORE 5130 2.0GHZ FSB 1333MHZ
2GB DDR2-PC5300 (677MHZ) FB DIMMs Kingston (IF SATA HD, will upgrade to 4GB)

What would you do?
January 11, 2007 1:51:54 PM

Quote:
hmmm, What do you guys think !?

FILE SERVER:
2x MAXTOR ATLAS 10K SAS 146GB (HARDWARE RAID1)- For OS, profiles and homedirs
3x BARRACUDA ES SATA-300 500GB (HARDWARE RAID5)- For CAD/VIDEO/AUDIO

EMAIL SERVER:
2x WD RAPTOR 74GB 10K SATA-300 (HARDWARE RAID1)- FOR OS
3x BARRACUDA ES SATA-300 400GB (HARDWARE RAID5)- For Exchange 2007 DB

Hardware:
1x DUAL CORE 5130 2.0GHZ FSB 1333MHZ
2GB DDR2-PC5300 (677MHZ) FB DIMMs Kingston (IF SATA HD, will upgrade to 4GB)

What would you do?


Sounds like a great start.
!