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Exchange 2007 and Hyper-V Coexisting on the same PHYSICAL box

I currently have an HP DL380 G5 server with dual QUAD Core E5440 2.83Ghz processors and 8GB of RAM.  This server is running Server 2008 STD 64-Bit with Exchange 2007.  I am in the process of moving my company toward virtualization.  I will be purchasing an EMC AX4 iSCSI SAN to solve some hard drive space issues on a couple servers and provide disk space for my future VM's.  My question is can I run Hyper-V on the server described above?  It will be running side by side with Exchange 2007.  I know this is not best practice by any means, but we are a small company of 65 users in one location.  I have been benchmarking the CPU utilization and it is currently averaging at 3% with a peak of 8% over the course of 2 days.  I have the ability to purchase another server for VM's if necessary, but I will need to be able to justify the purchase, and the CPU testing is not exactly going in my favor.
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pnunez72
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pnunez72
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2 Solutions
 
Darius GhassemCommented:
When you install the Hyper-V service you should have a base install of 2008 64-bit server there shouldn't be any other services running the host server all services should be run within a VM.
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pnunez72Author Commented:
Ok, but is that "Best Practice", or an absolute?  The reason why I ask is because I have a colleague that has Windows 2003 SBS with SQL and Exchange 2003 running on it.  He then installed Virtual Server 2005 afterward and is running a few non-critical VM's on it.  Is the difference in the Hyper-V?  Is there a possibility I will break my Exchange 2007 installation?
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Darius GhassemCommented:
Vitrual Server is a Application which is installed on top of the OS. Hyper-V is a service that is integrated within the OS which actual operates under the OS. I can't tell you for sure that your Exchange will break or it will not. I have personally installed Hyper-V on a couple of servers that were running other services but they weren't Exchange. This is best practice not absolute. But you can virtualize the current server.

Virtual Server is a lot different then Hyper-V.
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tigermattCommented:

It's purely best practice. Microsoft suggest that the only role running on the base Operating System is the Hypervisor (Hyper-V or VMWare) itself, for performance reasons. It's better to consolidate the roles into Virtual Machines, since this gives much more granular control over the resources accessible by each role, and there's no risk of services operating in the host OS from locking up and causing issues with the Virtual Machines.

SBS boxes are under a lot of load themselves, without needing Virtual Server running. That is a configuration I would avoid, particularly as SBS 2003 is a 32-bit system and can therefore address no more than 4GB of RAM. Once Exchange and SQL Server are factored in, the RAM usage would be very tight and this could cause performance issues. Virtual Server is also not a Hypervisor product per se, so won't have the same performance control settings as Hyper-V or VMWare offer. By all means virtualise an SBS within a Hypervisor, and then run the other VMs alongside the SBS, but I wouldn't suggest virtualising machines within an SBS instance.

You won't break anything by installing Hyper-V on the Exchange Server; however, it isn't recommended to do so.

What you do need to consider is that you do not hit any licensing restrictions. If you are making use of the "Virtual" licenses of Server 2008 Standard or Enterprise, whereby you can run 2 instances (for Standard) or 5 instances (for Enterprise) of the software under the same license, 1 as a physical machine and the rest as Virtual machines, then you need to be careful. If you choose to use all the instances, the only role which can legally be installed in the host instance is the role suitable for performing the virtualisation, and no other.

-Matt
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pnunez72Author Commented:
What are your thoughts on Virtualizing the Exchange 2007 server if it is running ALL of the Exchange roles (with the exception of UM role) plus it is a domain controller and running GFI MailArchiver?
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tigermattCommented:

Virtualising Exchange alongside the other VMs is something I would recommend. Just ensure you allocate enough RAM to the virtual instance as Exchange needs to operate successfully. The other consideration to take into account is Exchange will still need to be spread across the correct storage sub-system (RAID 10 for databases, RAID 1 for Transaction Logs). Ideally you could place this on two LUNs of your SAN drive, and use iSCSI to connect it directly to the Exchange Server instance.

If you are going through the process of virtualising Exchange, I'd split the Domain Controller role off to another Virtual Machine. It's a very low intensity role which could easily run in a VM with 1GB, or even 512MB RAM, allocated to it. The point to be careful on is you need to migrate Exchange off and uninstall it fully from the host instance prior to running dcpromo to demote the host instance.

-Matt
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Darius GhassemCommented:
I agree.
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