What size partition should I use for SBS 2011 Standard?

This is becoming a common question for people thinking about deploying SBS 2011 Standard.  With SBS 2008 I always used a 80GB partition for the C: drive, ad then created additional partitions for Exchange databases and the Users data.  Many people are unsure of what size to make the C: drive on their SBS 2011 servers.  The issue however is not just what size to make the C: drive, but also how the rest of the partition structure should be allocated across the disks.

SBS 2011 Standard is basically a later version of SBS 2008 and includes Exchange 2010.  Exchange 2010 changes the way it deals with the hard drives and can survive on lower spec hard drives than SBS 2008 could.  This means you do not need to be as worried about having specific drive sets for the Exchange databases just to get good performance from it.

In addition to that something else to consider is the evolution of applications that run on the server.  Applications such as Trend Micro Worry Free Business Security 7.0 uses some cool technology called SmartScan.  This SmartScan technology minimises the load on deployment of full pattern or signature files to it’s clients by maintaining a database on the server and having the clients check against that database.  As a result the SmartScan server database goes through a lot of change every hour and having it on a separate partition provides for benefits for backup software such as Windows Backup or ShadowProtect which do faster, smaller incrementals.

Ok – so… taking these things into account, here are my recommendations for partitioning on SBS 2011.

C: Drive – this will hold the main SBS 2011 installation.  Following installation I recommend using the move data wizards to relocate all 5 options (Exchange, WSUS, Users Shared Folders and Companyweb) over to other partitions.  I also recommend installing your Antivirus application such as WFBS onto a separate partitions as mentioned above.  I recommend setting this partition to no less than 80GB but potentially up to 120GB.  Given this also contains your ActiveDirectory databases and the servers operating system you will want to ensure that this is backed up on a very regular basis – potentially hourly

D: Drive – this will be your DVD drive – I never change this as it is one constant across all installations along with the C: drive.

E: Drive – this will be where you use the SBS wizard to move your Exchange database files to.  This will contain both the database and log files for Exchange and needs to be sized to cater for around 4 x the customers current databases – this gives plenty of room not only for growth of the database, but also if you need to run integrity checks against the database.  For my personal SBS 2011 server, I’m making this 100GB as my database is currently 25GB in size.  This will be backed up on a very regular basis – potentially hourly

F: Drive – this is the additional partition for server side applications such as WSUS, and Antivirus etc including TrendMicro WFBS.  This partition does not need to be backed up as often as the other partitions and is not AS critical to the servers recovery as other items.  I recommend making this 70 to 100GB.  This will be backed up daily only.

G: Drive – this is where all user data will be stored.  This is likely to be the largest partition on your system.  You will have not only users data shares here, but you will also use the SBS 2011 Move Data wizards to relocate the CompanyWeb, and Users Shared Folders to this location.  This will be backed up on a very regular basis – potentially hourly


Ok – so that’s my recommendations for partition sizing for your SBS 2011 server – every case will vary and I’m sure that some people will want more partitions and of different sizes.  I’m keen to know your thoughts so please feel free to comment below.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, February 3rd, 2011 at 9:00 pm and is filed under FAQs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “What size partition should I use for SBS 2011 Standard?”

  1. Chris Timm Says:

    February 3rd, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Excellent comments, I have been looking at exactly this for a customer and will help a lot.


    Chris (Twitter- Tegwin)

  2. Tweets that mention What size partition should I use for SBS 2011 Standard? -- Topsy.com Says:

    February 3rd, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeff Alexander, Wayne Small. Wayne Small said: What size partition should I use for SBS 2011 Standard? http://goo.gl/fb/eB9sX [...]

  3. Nathan Says:

    February 12th, 2011 at 11:14 am

    great info.

    Thanks Wayne

  4. Donald Says:

    July 12th, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Do you have a recommendation for SBS 2001 Essentials partition sizes? Thank you.

  5. Chris Says:

    September 28th, 2011 at 8:35 am

    I’m not so sure you need more than two partitions. One for C: drive and one for everything else. (Exchange, WSUS, User Data, everything else)
    I’m curious to know why is it you create a separate partition for Exchange, and then for antivirus and WSUS? Are you using separate physical disks for each partition to get better performance? (Using the same physical disks with multiple partitions does not give you better disk performance). Or maybe are you concerned with Snapshot performance and that’s why you separate it all out? The ability to back up partitions at a different schedule from each other?

    Very curious here. Thanks,

  6. dom Says:

    October 7th, 2011 at 6:59 am

    I believe he gives the reasons for AV and WSUS, in that it helps with backups (and indeed shadow copies). For Exchange, it’s a big help to have DB and logs off the main partition with regards to recovery if needed.


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