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We are building a new server at work and I'm hoping to get ideas of how we should build it out for optimum performance and back-up capability. We have 6 drives and we need to have an OS (Windows Server 2008) and DB (SQL Server 2010). Everything is brand new, 6 x 146GB disk drives, 2 AMD 2.2Ghz Quad processors and 16GB of memory.

We have a program that continuously reads and writes to a SQL Database.

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    tell us more about the database. How big, how many users, how many transactions per second, etc.
    – mrdenny
    Nov 30 '11 at 4:36
  • "We have a program that continuously reads and writes to a SQL Database." says about as much as "We run a business that buys and sells things." Aug 5 '14 at 12:54
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The only option to think about is disk layout but you only have six of them.
This isn't enough for "optimum performance"

  • A RAID 1 volume with 2 disks will be around 135GB so if your database is 100GB+ you'd need RAID5/RAID 10 with 4 disks, but then you don't have enough for separate logs/OS/Tempdb volumes. As an aside, with 100GB+ DB why only 16GB RAM? (this will be 12GB for SQL Server cache)

  • If you have high write volumes then you'd need a separate log drive, again RAID 1.

  • Tempdb is best with it's own volumes too. And OS/binaries. And local backup unless you have a fast network to backup to.

But, with just 6 disks I'd go for a single RAID 10 using all 6 disks as per this question:
Help me choose a RAID level combination for a SQL Server 2008 instance

With more disks then you can consider something discussed here:
SQL Server configuration / specification recommendations and advice!

Note, these are not strict rules: it depends on your database load and sizes

Optimum and cheap don't go together when buying servers...

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So far (I'll update this as you provide more info).

2 disk RAID 1 for the OS, 2 disk RAID 1 for the data, 2 disk RAID 1 for the transaction logs.

These are the kinds of questions you should be asking before you purchase hardware.

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