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I work for a small contracting company, and we typically work inside existing farms with existing IT infrastructure to do high level overhauls of bad SharePoint work.

We've been hired to build an application from the ground up, and we're ALL developers. I've never had to spec a server farm before.

The site will have about 10,000 users, from all around the world, so traffic will be steady, but fairly light.

The work load per user will be fairly robust, with some analytics going on for the list items they are accessing.

How do I calculate hardware need? I'm thinking to start two servers. One web front end, one database server, each with 12 GB memory. Does this sound reasonable?

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To begin with, I would recommend to have a Small Farm Topology with two tier similar to what you have suggested. But I would insist having the database server on a fail-over cluster mode, for much more availability. These recommendations should be good enough for a user base upto 10,000 users.

At a later stage, I think it would be wise to calculate how many concurrent users that would be accessing your site.

If the user base approaches above 10,000 to 20,000 users, the Farm can be added up with additional Web Front End servers with load balancing. Again adding an Application server in between the two tiers would improve the performance to a much better state, making it a Medium Farm Topology.

Please also visit these sites for detailed information on how topologies are designed for SharePoint Server 2010 - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/ff601871.aspx http://prabathf.blogspot.in/2010/11/sharepoint-2010-farm-topologies.html

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Check out the SharePoint Best Practices series at Technet - Capacity Planning and Deployment. There is information on Extranet topologies that can help you gauge your requirements.

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Considering it is a global service maintenance might be especially tricky if you only have one WFE and one SQL. Consider having load balanced WFEs and SQL Server cluster to add fault tolerance, if possible.

I would suggest at least 16 GB RAM if you're proceeding with 1+1 configuration. RAM is cheap, except when you add it to existing servers.

By having 1+1 servers might not be that much more cheaper in the end compared to 2+2 as you will need to have more powerful single servers compared to average power duplicate servers.

Will you be indexing a lot of content using SharePoint Search?

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