Tag Archive: Servers


There are nine server roles you can install on Server Core:

  1. AD DS – Active Directory Domain Services
  2. AD LDS – Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services
  3. DNS – Domain Name System
  4. DHCP – Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol
  5. File Services
  6. Print Services
  7. Streaming Media Services
  8. Web Server (IIS)
  9. Hyper-V

Server Core is built solely to run only these nine server roles.  Nothing else.

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RAID Configuration Best Practices

Throughout my career, I have seen many different practices on which levels of RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) to use.  This post is referring to the traditional RAID form as there are now a few new forms of RAID that I believe in the future will supplant the original type.  Here are my recommendations and best practices that have served me well through the years.

  • RAID 0 – fastest performance, but also highest chance of failure.  With one drive failure, you will lose the entire array.  Best used as a scratch disk and data that can be lost.
  • RAID 1 – optimal for operating system (OS) installation with 2 drives.
  • RAID 5 – not recommended for any arrays larger than a couple terabytes because of the high chance of an unrecoverable read error (URE) and tolerance of only 1 drive failure.  I have seen too many UREs with RAID 5 that prevent a successful rebuild.  A URE happens when there is corrupt data in the array preventing a successful recovery from a degraded state.  Requires a minimum of 3 drives.
  • RAID 6 – recommended for data stores where reads are more important than writes.  Tolerates 2 drive failures and significantly less chance of experiencing a URE.  Requires a minimum of 4 drives.
  • RAID 10 – most expensive, but has the best performance and resiliency.  Requires a minimum of 4 disks.  It is striped (for performance) and mirrored (for redundancy).

NOTE: RAID is not a replacement for backups.  A good backup strategy that involves testing the backup is a necessity for a production environment.

Also, do yourself a favor and never use RAID 5.  I’ve seen too many failures, headaches and trouble caused by its usage.

Another type of RAID that I recommend and is my first recommendation is using a ZFS file system that has similar options, but better performance and resiliency with background data scrubbing.  The generic name for that type of RAID is called RAIDZ.  I’ll touch on examples and further explanations of this new state-of-the-art form of RAID in another post.

There are two different versions of Exchange Server 2010 that are available for purchase: Standard and Enterprise.

Exchange Server 2010 Standard Edition

Exchange Server 2010 Enterprise Edition

  • Hosts up to 100 databases

Simply put use Standard Edition for all Client Access, Hub Transport, Edge Transport, and Unified Messaging servers.

Mailbox servers that are members of a Database Availability Group need to count each passive copy of a database counts as a database on the server.  For example, if a Mailbox server has 3 active mailbox databases and another 3 passive copies, it will need to run Enterprise because the total is 6 over the 5 limit of Standard.

Exchange Server Enterprise Edition is not required for DAG members that host a total of 5 or fewer active and passive databases.  However, DAG members must run Windows Server editions with Failover Cluster feature (i.e. Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise or Windows Server 2012 Standard).  Note: Windows Server 2012 has been simplified into 2 editions, Standard and Datacenter.  Both editions include all features and roles of one another, the only difference is virtualization licensing rights.  Standard includes licenses for 2 VMs and Datacenter includes unlimited licenses for VMs.

The edition of Exchange Server 2010 is determined solely by the product key that is entered after the server is installed.  A server can be upgraded to Enterprise Edition conveniently by entering the new product key.

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