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Posted on 2008-10-11
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Hello EEs..I am going to be put in charge of managing and monitoring Exchnge 2003 servers on clusters with VM ware and I am new to this..Are tehre any layman terms I need to know and any study guides that I can learn from that youy may know of?

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Question by:lazik
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Best practices of VMWare under Exchange 2003

http://www.vmware.com/resources/techresources/701

and for performance explanation:

http://msmvps.com/blogs/ehlo/archive/2007/07/10/1013555.aspx
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This is a good overview of how VMWare works: http://www.itidiots.com/content/view/65/67/
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The main thing to know is that VMware is simply the technology to take a physical hardware server (or desktop) and make it virtual.  Beyond that, the server (as in your case, the Exchange Server) is a server on standard virtualized hardware that can be migrated from one physical ESX host server (typically placed on a blade server to maximize the virtual environment) to another in real time with only one ping drop via VMotion or "Cold State Migration" when done while the guest OS is powered off.  The main difference between the two is that "Cold State Migration" moves your data as well as the processing of that data to a different datastore.

Accessing VMware servers is typically done via RDP, as many (if not most) physical servers in a datacenter environment are, though it is also possible to use a console within the "VMware Infrastructure Client".  Your server will operate the same way in "VMland" as it does in the physical.

A word of caution if you will use snapshots within the VI client... you can take snapshots of your Exchange servers when doing updates or anything "risky" that you may want to "rollback", but if you do not remove the snapshots (and thus "Commit" them) within a short period of time, you could run into problems later.  When you create a snapshot, the new changes that you make to the system are added into the datastore where your configuration file for that particular virtual machine resides.  We ran into this in our environment where we took snapshots of a heavy traffic server which had several virtual disks tied to it (which we had on different datastores).  The outcome was that no matter how much we cleaned off the virtual disks, we were still choking ourselves in storage because we were running off of the snapshot files all residing on the one datastore.

Here is a good place to start looking at VMware ESX and using VMware Infrastructure:  http://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/vi_pages/vi_pubs_35.html
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