Silverlight Authors: Steven Mandel, Gerardo A Dada, Srinivasan Sundara Rajan, Yeshim Deniz, Greg O'Connor

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, API Journal, Silverlight, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo

Microsoft Cloud: 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
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
Established in 1998, Calsoft is a leading software product engineering Services Company specializing in Storage, Networking, Virtualization and Cloud business verticals. Calsoft provides End-to-End Product Development, Quality Assurance Sustenance, Solution Engineering and Professional Services expertise to assist customers in achieving their product development and business goals. The company's deep domain knowledge of Storage, Virtualization, Networking and Cloud verticals helps in delivering ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Arch...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, will discuss the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docke...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Coalfire will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Coalfire is the trusted leader in cybersecurity risk management and compliance services. Coalfire integrates advisory and technical assessments and recommendations to the corporate directors, executives, boards, and IT organizations for global brands and organizations in the technology, cloud, health...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MathFreeOn will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MathFreeOn is Software as a Service (SaaS) used in Engineering and Math education. Write scripts and solve math problems online. MathFreeOn provides online courses for beginners or amateurs who have difficulties in writing scripts. In accordance with various mathematical topics, there are more tha...
Cloud based infrastructure deployment is becoming more and more appealing to customers, from Fortune 500 companies to SMEs due to its pay-as-you-go model. Enterprise storage vendors are able to reach out to these customers by integrating in cloud based deployments; this needs adaptability and interoperability of the products confirming to cloud standards such as OpenStack, CloudStack, or Azure. As compared to off the shelf commodity storage, enterprise storages by its reliability, high-availabil...
In the next forty months – just over three years – businesses will undergo extraordinary changes. The exponential growth of digitization and machine learning will see a step function change in how businesses create value, satisfy customers, and outperform their competition. In the next forty months companies will take the actions that will see them get to the next level of the game called Capitalism. Or they won’t – game over. The winners of today and tomorrow think differently, follow different...
We all know the latest numbers: Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from last year, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. We're rapidly approaching a data production of 40 zettabytes a day – more than we can every physically store, and exabytes and yottabytes are just around the corner. For many that’s a good sign, as data has been proven to equal money – IF it’s ingested, integrated, and analyzed fast enough. Without real-tim...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Numerex Corp, a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT), will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Numerex Corp. (NASDAQ:NMRX) is a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The Company's solutions produce new revenue streams or create operating...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Transparent Cloud Computing (T-Cloud) Consortium will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Transparent Cloud Computing Consortium (T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data proces...
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it ...