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Hi guys,

I'am planning to build a windows server 2012 server for 50 users. They will use applications such ms office, outlook (exchange), web and some other apps. The hard drive will be ssd. So my question is, should i use raid ? If yes, software or hardware raid ? Cache or no cache ? Please help. Thanks.



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Depends on your budget really. 


to be blunt, a very large SSD will serve you much better than a RAID array.  However, RAID does have the benefit of redundancy. Meaning that if one disk fails, the system will stay up.  (but you should ABSOLUTELY have backups, as well). 


Especially given the workload (Exchange), IOPS is going to matter, and you're not going to beat SSDs when it comes to IOPS. The downside is that the price/GB is much higher. 

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I agree with Drashna, its entirely budget dependent. Go with SSD"s if you can afford them and definitely RAID is the best bet for uptime and redundancy but as Drashna said do not mistake this for backups, RAID is not a backup strategy. If the Exchange is on premises and on the same server I hope you are utilising VM's and have a good antispam/virus system as this is or rather was not included last I was utilising exchange (2010).


Also be aware that normal office licences are not meant to be utlised on a TS implementation.


Hardware RAID vs Software will depend on your hardware partly and your desire for caching (I have had excellent speed increases on cached vs non-cached, using Storage Spaces) the new DELL PERC Cards that we purchased this year for instance no longer support SSD cache :( leaving the only option to be software if I wanted to utilise Caching 

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Having been in the spot I think you are now in ...

... I would give a company offering server design and support a small contract to get you off the ground, give you a bit of training on best practices and review things once in a while until you are completely comfortable.


Other thoughts:

- why only 1 server?

- have a look at https://tinkertry.com/

Edited by JackoUK
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