SME Server:Documentation:Administration Manual:Chapter4

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Hardware Requirements of the SME Server

Warning.png Warning:
Version 8.0 of SME Server is based on CentOS 5, version 9 is based on CentOS 6.5. CentOS 5 does not support i586 architecture and as such SME server 8 and SME server 9 are not compatible with i586 architecture.

The hardware requirements of the SME Server are modest compared with other server software available today. However, because of its critical role in your office, selecting an appropriate host computer is important. The hardware requirements of the host computer depend on such things as the number of users on your network, whether you plan to use the proxy server on the server, and the speed of your Internet connection.

When you consider the requirements, please be aware of the following notes:

  • The server ships with the remote access services disabled by default. Enabling webmail will increase the resource requirements of your server, in particular the memory requirement. Other remote access services, such as SSH and PPTP, are also processor-intensive. You should consider a fast processor speed if you intend to make significant use of these services.
  • The server should work with any i686 compatible CPU that can run Centos 5 for SME Server 8 or Centos 6 for Sme Server 9
  • The amount of available RAM is one of the most important considerations for server performance as it reduces the load on the disks. If a tradeoff is required, extra RAM will usually be more beneficial than a faster CPU.
  • For a dedicated connection in server and gateway mode, your server requires two ethernet adapters (also called network adapters or network interface cards). For a dialup connection or server-only mode, one ethernet adapter is needed.


Important.png Note:
Version 8.0 of SME Server is based on CentOS 5, Version 9.0 of SME Server is based on CentOS 6 and use the 2.6 series Linux kernel. This combination supports a wide variety of hardware, but it is important that any hardware chosen for the server has been tested for compatibility before deployment. We expect that all hardware which is marked as "Certified" or "Compatible" for RedHat Enterprise Linux Update 5 and RedHat Enterprise Linux Update 6 on the RedHat Hardware Compatibility web site, located at: RHEL5 and RHEL6, will function correctly with SME Server 8.0 and 9.0. We do not recommend the use of server hardware which is not listed as "Certified" or "Compatible".

4.1. Minimum Hardware Requirements

The following information outlines what we consider the bare minimum system that will function as a basic file/print server and network gateway. Note that we do not believe such a system will provide satisfactory performance for features such as webmail, remote access via PPTP, Virus and Spam Scanners, which are cpu intensive will not perform well on this platform. To utilize all the features of SME Server 9.0, please have a look at the 'Recommended' Hardware Requirements.

Table 4.1 Minimum Hardware Requirements
Category Specifications
Architecture PCI-based i686 compatible processor
Processor speed 1800 MHz
RAM 512 MB
Hard Drive SATA/PATA or SCSI - at least 10/20GB (or 2 TB disk)
SCSI adapter SCSI adapter must appear on the supported list (only necessary for SCSI systems)
Ethernet adapter(s) The ethernet adapters installed on your server must appear on the supported list.
Modem (for dialup only) Only modems that are Linux-compatible may be used. WinModems are not supported.
CD-ROM drive SATA, ATAPI or SCSI
Monitor any
Graphics card any


4.2. Recommended Hardware Requirements

The following information is what we would suggest is the recommended minimum to utilize all the features of SME Server 9.0. How many users this configuration will support depends on how heavily the server will be utilized, but should be sufficient for at least 25 users.


Table 4.2. Recommended Hardware Requirement
Category Specifications
Architecture PCI-based i686 compatible processor
Processor speed dual Core 2GHz
RAM 1 GB (or more with Sme Server 9 64 bit)
Hard Drive One or more SATA/PATA or SCSI - at least 40 GB and more with the space needed by your data (or 2 TB disk)
SCSI adapter SCSI adapter must appear on the supported list (only necessary for SCSI systems)
Ethernet adapter(s) The ethernet adapters installed on your server must appear on the supported list.
Modem (for dialup only) Only modems that are Linux-compatible may be used. WinModems are not supported.
CD-ROM drive SATA,ATAPI or SCSI
Monitor any
Graphics card any

4.3. Hard Drive Configuration

  • SME Server 8 introduces a new feature - Automatic configuration of Software RAID 1, 5 or 6. RAID is a way of storing data on more than one hard drive at once, so that if one drive fails, the system will still function. In the case of RAID 6, two drives can fail and the system will still function. We highly recommend that at a minimum you utilize 2 identical drives in your system to take advantage of the redundancy provided by the RAID configuration.

Your server will be automatically configured as follows:

  • 1 Drive - Software RAID 1 (ready to accept a second drive).
  • 2 Drives - Software RAID 1
  • 3 Drives - Software RAID 1 + 1 Hot-spare
  • 4-6 Drives - Software RAID 5 + 1 Hot-spare
  • 7+ Drives - Software RAID 6 + 1 Hot-spare


Important.png Note:
SME Server 9 differs from SME server 8.1 in that the default install will only configure a Raid 1 configuration regardless of the number of hard drives available. There are selectable install options for other Raid configurations available from the install menu when sufficient hard drives are installed to support that Raid config

4.4. Supported Ethernet or SCSI Adapters, or Tape Drives

Either one ethernet adapter (in the case of dialup connectivity or server-only mode) or two ethernet adapters (for dedicated connections in server and gateway mode) must be installed on your SME Server. Your ethernet adapters must be supported by Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5/6.

If the computer you plan to use for your server has a SCSI hard disk, your SCSI adapter must be supported by Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5/6.

If you intend to use the tape backup capabilities of the SME Server, you must have a tape drive that is supported by Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5/6.

4.5. Virtualisation requirements

  • Virtualbox

You can virtualize the Sme Server on any computer when your processor have amd-v or vtx instructions. You need this instructions for using more than one core in the virtualised guest. The amount of memory is near of 1GB for the guest to be comfortable, and at least 2 GB with a lot of contribs installed, or more.

For more detailed information on a virtualized SME Server, please see the Virtual_SME_Server page.