Welcome!

.NET Authors: Liz McMillan, Jaynesh Shah, Blue Box Blog, Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: .NET, Virtualization, Search, Silverlight, Web 2.0, Cloud Expo

.NET: Blog Post

Best Practices for Virtualizing Microsoft Exchange in Private Clouds

Resource-intensive scale-out nature of heavy duty workload requires special planning

In my Private Cloud talks with IT Pros, how best to virtualize Microsoft Exchange workloads, regardless of underlying hypervisor, has been a recurring hot topic area of discussion.  At Microsoft Tech Ed 2012, Jeff Mealiffe, Senior Program Manager on the Exchange team and responsible for Exchange virtualization guidance, delivered a great session on "Best Practices for Virtualizing Microsoft Exchange Server 2010".  This is a great resource to study when planning virtualized Exchange deployments! Below, I've included the following items to help you get started with virtualizing Exchange:

  • The recorded session video
  • A link to the downloadable slide deck
  • An indexed recap of my session notes
  • Links to additional tools and resources that I've personally found helpful

I'm definitely looking forward to building my next virtualized deployment of Exchange 2010 on Windows Server 2012 RTM when it releases on Sept 4th!  The increased VM resource densities in Hyper-V v3 of up to 64 virtual processors and 1TB RAM per virtual machine will be a big boost to virtualizing mission critical heavy-duty workloads like Exchange mailbox server roles and multi-role servers.

Download a copy of the session slide deck.

Session Notes with Video Index

  • Supported Exchange Virtualization Scenarios [ 4:00 ]
    • Exchange 2010 SP1 or later
    • Hyper-V or any hypervisor in the Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP) - link provided below.
  • Items Not Supported when Virtualizing Exchange [ 7:00 ]
    • Hypervisor snapshots
    • Differencing / Delta disks
    • CPU oversubscription in a ratio > 2:1
    • Applications running on the parent / root partition
    • VSS backups of VMs from root
    • NAS storage of virtual disk files
  • JetStress Support in Virtualized Environments [ 12:10 ]
    • Supported in VMs on Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 or later
    • Supported in VMs on Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 or later
    • Supported in VMs on VMware ESX 4.1 or later
    • More Info - http://bit.ly/HP8G0f
  • Big Problems to Avoid for Production Exchange VMs [ 17:53 ]
    • Dynamic Memory / Memory Overcommit  [ 18:00 ]
    • VM Snapshots [ 31:57 ]
    • CPU Oversubscription [ 35:05 ]
  • Overview of Best Practices [ 38:05 ]
    • Hypervisor adds CPU overhead - 10-12% in our Exchange 2010 tests [ 39:22 ]
    • Size for physical and provide those resources to each VM [ 40:31 ]
    • Exchange is architected for scale-out scenarios, avoid "all eggs in one basket" [ 40:48 ]
  • Resource Sizing [ 43:16 ]
    • Start with physical sizing process - use calculator (listed below)
    • Account for virtualization overhead (10-12%)
    • Determine VM placement to account for HA
    • Size root servers, storage and network infrastructure
  • Guest VM sizing [ 47:18 ]
    • Size Mailbox role first - other role sizes factored from Mailbox server requirements
    • Considerations for use of Multi-role servers - Mailbox, Hub and CAS roles on single VM
  • Unified Messaging Sizing [ 49:08 ]
    • Min 4 Virtual Processors (VP)
    • VM with 4VP & 16GB memory can handle 40 concurrent calls with Voice Mail Preview (65 calls without)
  • Storage Decisions [ 52:47 ]
    • Exchange storage separate from Guest OS virtual disk physical storage
    • Must be fixed virtual disk, SCSI pass-through (RDM) or iSCSI (terminated at host or guest)
    • SCSI pass-through (RDM) recommended to host queues, DBs and logfile streams unless using Hyper-V Live Migration where CSV is recommended
    • Must be block-level storage - NAS volumes not supported
  • Virtual Processors [ 56:04 ]
    • Prefer smaller number of multi-core VMs vs many single-core VMs
    • Don't assume that a hyperthreaded (SMT) CPU is a full CPU core
  • Private Cloud [ 57:08 ]
    • Good model for providing virtual infrastructure resources to Exchange, but be careful with "dynamic" cloud capabilities
    • Be prepared to apply different resource management policies to Exchange VMs
  • Host-based Failover Clustering [ 59:41 ]
    • Not an "Exchange Aware" HA Solution - Does not provide HA in the event of storage failure / data corruption
    • If using, combine with DAG when possible to provide maximum HA - Admin can re-balance DAG after failover to redistribute
  • VM Live Migration and Exchange [ 01:04:50 ]
    • DAG does not need to be dynamically re-balanced
    • Use CSV rather than pass-through LUNS for all Mailbox VM storage
    • Consider relaxing cluster heartbeat timeouts (5 seconds = default, 30 seconds = max recommended)
    • Size network appropriately for Live Migration
  • VM Placement [ 01:08:26 ]
    • Don't co-locate DAG database copies on same physical hosts
    • Distribute VMs running same roles to different physical hosts
    • If not using multi-role VM's, consider isolating mailbox and hub role VMs on separate physical hosts if possible

Additional Tools and Resources

Build Your Lab! Build Your Lab! Download Windows Server 2012
Build Your Lab in the Cloud! Don’t Have a Lab? Build Your Lab in the Cloud with Windows Azure Virtual Machines
Join our "Early Experts" study group! Want to Get Certified? Join our Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Study Group
Like IT Pros ROCK! Do IT Pros ROCK? Please VOTE for us!

More Stories By Keith Mayer

Keith Mayer is a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft focused on Windows Infrastructure, Data Center Virtualization, Systems Management and Private Cloud. Keith has over 17 years of experience as a technical leader of complex IT projects, in diverse roles, such as Network Engineer, IT Manager, Technical Instructor and Consultant. He has consulted and trained thousands of IT professionals worldwide on the design and implementation of enterprise technology solutions.

Keith is currently certified on several Microsoft technologies, including System Center, Hyper-V, Windows, Windows Server, SharePoint and Exchange. He also holds other industry certifications from IBM, Cisco, Citrix, HP, CheckPoint, CompTIA and Interwoven.

Keith is the author of the IT Pros ROCK! Blog on Microsoft TechNet, voted as one of the Top 50 "Must Read" IT Blogs.

Keith also manages the Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Challenge - a FREE online study group for IT Pros interested in studying and preparing for certification on Windows Server 2012. Join us and become the next "Early Expert"!

@ThingsExpo Stories
The recent trends like cloud computing, social, mobile and Internet of Things are forcing enterprises to modernize in order to compete in the competitive globalized markets. However, enterprises are approaching newer technologies with a more silo-ed way, gaining only sub optimal benefits. The Modern Enterprise model is presented as a newer way to think of enterprise IT, which takes a more holistic approach to embracing modern technologies.
What exactly is a cognitive application? In her session at 16th Cloud Expo, Ashley Hathaway, Product Manager at IBM Watson, will look at the services being offered by the IBM Watson Developer Cloud and what that means for developers and Big Data. She'll explore how IBM Watson and its partnerships will continue to grow and help define what it means to be a cognitive service, as well as take a look at the offerings on Bluemix. She will also check out how Watson and the Alchemy API team up to offer disruptive APIs to developers.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Site24x7, the cloud infrastructure monitoring service, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Site24x7 is a cloud infrastructure monitoring service that helps monitor the uptime and performance of websites, online applications, servers, mobile websites and custom APIs. The monitoring is done from 50+ locations across the world and from various wireless carriers, thus providing a global perspective of the end-user experience. Site24x7 supports monitoring H...
The Workspace-as-a-Service (WaaS) market will grow to $6.4B by 2018. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Seth Bostock, CEO of IndependenceIT, will begin by walking the audience through the evolution of Workspace as-a-Service, where it is now vs. where it going. To look beyond the desktop we must understand exactly what WaaS is, who the users are, and where it is going in the future. IT departments, ISVs and service providers must look to workflow and automation capabilities to adapt to growing demand and the rapidly changing workspace model.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SafeLogic has been named “Bag Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. SafeLogic provides security products for applications in mobile and server/appliance environments. SafeLogic’s flagship product CryptoComply is a FIPS 140-2 validated cryptographic engine designed to secure data on servers, workstations, appliances, mobile devices, and in the Cloud.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Akana, formerly SOA Software, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Akana’s comprehensive suite of API Management, API Security, Integrated SOA Governance, and Cloud Integration solutions helps businesses accelerate digital transformation by securely extending their reach across multiple channels – mobile, cloud and Internet of Things. Akana enables enterprises to share data as APIs, connect and integrate applications, drive part...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Open Data Centers (ODC), a carrier-neutral colocation provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Open Data Centers is a carrier-neutral data center operator in New Jersey and New York City offering alternative connectivity options for carriers, service providers and enterprise customers.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet conditions, Dyn ensures traffic gets delivered faster, safer, and more reliably than ever.
DevOps tends to focus on the relationship between Dev and Ops, putting an emphasis on the ops and application infrastructure. But that’s changing with microservices architectures. In her session at DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, Evangelist for F5 Networks, will focus on how microservices are changing the underlying architectures needed to scale, secure and deliver applications based on highly distributed (micro) services and why that means an expansion into “the network” for DevOps.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vicom Computer Services, Inc., a provider of technology and service solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. They are located at booth #427. Vicom Computer Services, Inc. is a progressive leader in the technology industry for over 30 years. Headquartered in the NY Metropolitan area. Vicom provides products and services based on today’s requirements around Unified Networks, Cloud Computing strategies, Virtualization around Software defined Data Ce...
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo – to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – is now accepting Hackathon proposals. Hackathon sponsorship benefits include general brand exposure and increasing engagement with the developer ecosystem. At Cloud Expo 2014 Silicon Valley, IBM held the Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held the DevOps Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
SYS-CON Events announced today that AIC, a leading provider of OEM/ODM server and storage solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. AIC is a leading provider of both standard OTS, off-the-shelf, and OEM/ODM server and storage solutions. With expert in-house design capabilities, validation, manufacturing and production, AIC's broad selection of products are highly flexible and are configurable to any form factor or custom configuration. AIC leads the industry with nearly 20 years of ...
We heard for many years how developing nations would be able to develop mobile-phone networks quickly, perhaps even leapfrog developed nations, because their lack of traditional, wired networks would not inhibit them from deploying the new technology. Now there is talk of history repeating itself with the Industrial Internet--a key aspect of the emerging Internet of Things. For example, Guo Ping, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Chinese electronics giant Huawei, said in a recent report from the World Economic Forum, "The Industrial Internet will afford emerging markets a unique opportunity ...
Avnet, Inc. has announced that it ranked No. 4 on the InformationWeek Elite 100 – a list of the top business technology innovators in the U.S. Avnet was recognized for the development of an innovative cloud-based training system that serves as the foundation for Avnet Academy – the company’s education and training organization focused on technical training around top IT vendor technologies. The development of this system allowed Avnet to quickly expand its IT-related training capabilities around the world, while creating a new service that Avnet and its IT solution providers can offer to their...
Ayla Networks, whose agile Internet of Things (IoT) platform makes it easy for manufacturers to deliver secure, connected products, today announced it has been included in the list of "Cool Vendors" in the Internet of Things report by Gartner, Inc. “Gartner knows how important it is that manufacturers of all kinds of products have the right IoT solution to help turn their products into connected ‘things,’” said David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks. “The market for Ayla’s IoT platform has accelerated dramatically this year compared to last year. Today’s largest manufacturers ar...
SYS-CON Events announced today that B2Cloud, a provider of enterprise resource planning software, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. B2cloud develops the software you need. They have the ideal tools to help you work with your clients. B2Cloud’s main solutions include AGIS – ERP, CLOHC, AGIS – Invoice, and IZUM
The Internet of Things Maturity Model (IoTMM) is a qualitative method to gauge the growth and increasing impact of IoT capabilities in an IT environment from both a business and technology perspective. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan will first scan the IoT landscape and investigate the major challenges and barriers. The key areas of consideration are identified to get started with IoT journey. He will then pinpoint the need of a tool for effective IoT adoption and implementation, which leads to IoTMM in which five maturity levels are defined: Advanced, Dynamic, Optimized, Primitive,...
There is no doubt that Big Data is here and getting bigger every day. Building a Big Data infrastructure today is no easy task. There are an enormous number of choices for database engines and technologies. To make things even more challenging, requirements are getting more sophisticated, and the standard paradigm of supporting historical analytics queries is often just one facet of what is needed. As Big Data growth continues, organizations are demanding real-time access to data, allowing immediate and actionable interpretation of events as they happen. Another aspect concerns how to deliver ...