Solved RAID Configuration for a Domain Controller

April 8, 2014 at 07:20:52
Specs: Windows Server 2012
I am getting ready to setup a domain controller for a small business, less than 75 people. I am just curious to know the best RAID configuration for a small business? We have a spare server that we could use as a separate file server, but I was also wondering if it would be ok to run one server, since the business is so small?

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#1
April 8, 2014 at 07:24:19
I would highly recommend that you run at least two DCs in any Active Directory network, however small it is. This provides far better redundancy than RAID ever can.

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#2
April 8, 2014 at 07:29:14
So setup a primary domain server that controls AD, DNS, etc., and have a secondary DC as a file server?

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#3
April 8, 2014 at 07:43:05
✔ Best Answer
There are no such things as primary and secondary DCs in in AD domain. They are all just DCs and are (with very limited exceptions) all equal. I would set both servers as DNS servers and DHCP servers (obviously with non-overlapping ranges) so that everything would just keep working in the event of one server failing. I'd use both of them as file servers, thus halving the impact of any failure.

You wouldn't want to duplicate things like shares, unless your requirements are modest or you have lots of money to throw around, as users can tolerate a few hours without access to some documents far better than a few hours with no access to the network.
Apart from redundancy dual DCs spreads the load. Logging on can be quite resource intensive, especially when everyone is logging on at the same time first thing in the morning.

message edited by ijack


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#4
April 8, 2014 at 07:46:38
Ok, thank you for the information! I've never configured this before, so every bit of information helps. As far as a RAID configuration goes on both servers, what is the best practice to allocate all of the disks?

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#5
April 8, 2014 at 08:18:45
RAID 5, but I'm honestly significantly more worried about your backup plan.

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#6
April 8, 2014 at 08:39:48
Yes, I'd go for RAID 5 assuming 4 disks per server. Backup is something that needs to be considered separately - RAID is not a substitute for good backups.

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#7
April 8, 2014 at 08:43:37
Thanks Razor and ijack. We do have a separate backup server in house with a lot of space that I can back these up to. Again, as a first timer, I have read so many different articles and opinions on RAID options, I let it confuse the heck out of me. :) I appreciate the time and answers.

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#8
April 8, 2014 at 08:56:55
I'd suggest some sort of off-site backup for critical data. Otherwise, you're one good fire/theft away from being out of business. Cloud storage is cheap. There's no excuse not to keep a copy off-site. Remember, if it's not backed up, it doesn't exist. If the backup's untested, it doesn't exist.

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#9
April 8, 2014 at 10:18:57
We do have an offsite backup solution as well to keep us covered. Thanks for your advice and time once again!! :D

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