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SBS 2008 with BES in a Virtual Environment - Which Virtual Environment is best?

Posted on 2009-04-29
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I 'm building a new SBS 2008 Server to migrate a domain to. They are currently running a SBS 2003 box with full use of Exchange 2003 and have a BES 4.1 sitting on top of it (localy).

The domain is small enough and the old build not worh saving (10 users), so I am building the new doamin from scratch (most of the client PCs are going to be replaced with new at the same time anyway and all profiles are "roaming"). I've done 4 Exchange 2003 to 2007 migrations already and plan to just break up the stores into PST files with ESEUTIL and move them piecemeal. The data, shares and profiles are a no-brainer for this network.

SITUATION: I plan to run the BES server in a virtual environment. I'm going to stick with a virtualized  x86 Server 2003 Standard with SQL Express 2005 because of licensing we already own & because of the lack of support for BES on SBS 2008 as of now.

QUESTION: Has anyone out there run this configuration before? Because I would like to know if there are any advantages to using VMWare, MS Virtual Server or Hyper-V

I have 3 servers running host to Hyper-V environments right now (all virtualized Term Servers running x86 Server 2008 over x64 Server 2008 hosts). I like the hardware support and ease of administration with Hyper-V. But the more I read about the configurations of Hyper-V in SBS 2008, the more I don't want to fall into the pit of Microsoft's liscensing obfuscation ( http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd239208.aspx ) or an untennable configuration with issues of USB and FAX support ( http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd239204.aspx ).

So, is anyone running BES in Hyper-V or VMWare on a SBS 2008 box? And how's the stability? Administration? I'm looking for a lot of feedback on all the options.

Thanks,
-MP

**Also, yea I know I can just bur the SBS 2003 box and turn into a Server 2003 standard for the BES - but what fun would that be? The new server has more than enough juice to support everything in the environment  - 2x Quad Core 2.6 procs w/ 16GB of RAM and a TB of storage. I'd rather manage one box, which is the point of virtualization. And thanks again.
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Question by:mojopojo
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Expert Comment

by:jdera
ID: 24265879
Hyper-V does not support BES, so that option is a no.  I would stay away from Hyper-V all together.  Your best bet is to use VMware with 2 ESX servers for redundancy and a third for the VCenter piece.

http://supportforums.blackberry.com/rim/board/message?board.id=BlackBerryEnterpriseSolution&thread.id=4896
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by:jdera
ID: 24265900
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by:Mestha
ID: 24265957
I have three sites using a combination of VMWARE ESXi for the host, SBS 2008 as host one and BES in host two. On two of those I also have another machine running Windows XP for testing purposes and to run the VMWARE management tool (I rdp to the WINXP machine, then run it from there). Works fine.

While the hardware is a little picky for VMWARE, it can be made to run on most things. I have a Shuttle PC running in my mother's study as a backup machine with VMWARE ESXi on it and it runs fine.

Three VMWARE hardware servers is a bit of an overkill for an SBS 2008 environment. The free ESXi is fine if the hardware is up to it and you can use a RAID environment.

Simon.
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by:Mestha
ID: 24265961
Oops, late night posting strikes again.
That should be SBS 2008 is VM 1, and BES is VM 2, not host 1 and host 2.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:mojopojo
ID: 24265966
Yea, so it looks like I can run a virtual Sever 2003 Box in Hyper-V on the SBS 2008 server, then install the BES on the vm Server 2003, and point it at the Exchange 2007 (SBS 2008) server.

But, having gone over using Hyper-V in SBS 2008, it apears needlesly coplicaterd in oposition to using VM Ware.

My issue with Hyper-V with SBS 2008 is that the SBS 2008 box cannot be the host/parent partition. You have to first install SBS 2008 with the Hyper-V role, reboot - which leaves you with a bare-bones Server 2008 Hyper-V box. Then you create the SBS 2008 instalation in a virtual environment on the child partition. After that (creating the domain that you can not join the parent server to) you can add virtual servers to run SQL, Sever 2003 with BES, etc... Here's a MS map of the configuration I would have to use - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd239200.aspx

All I need to do is virtualize BES. VM Ware looks better and better when using SBS 2008.
Server 2008 Hyper-V is not nearly as convolulted...

That's too bad.

I am going through all of the VM Ware docs right now. But looks like you might be right, using VM Ware as my best option.
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by:mojopojo
ID: 24265985
I cannot run the SBS 2008 machine in Hyper-V because they rely heavily on the FAX service - which Hyper-V will not support.

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by:jdera
ID: 24266115
Not to bash Hyper-V, but you will find VMware more complicated because it years ahead of H-V.  In the long run, you will probably end up dismantling those hyper-v that you have and switching to vmware.
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by:Gary Cutri
ID: 24267507
Hi, I have a few sites starting to use Hyper-V to run BES (they are running BES 4.1 SP5 with MR5) but it is officially not supported by RIM at the moment (but it does work).  To assist you with setting up BES with Exchange you can review my guide below:

Exchange 2007 BES Install Guide
http://www.blackberryforums.com.au/forums/microsoft-exchange/687-exchange-2007-bes-install-guide.html

Also if you are planning on migrating the database I have written the following guide:

Moving BlackBerry Enterprise Server for Exchange to a New Server
http://www.blackberryforums.com.au/forums/microsoft-exchange/3073-bes-4-0-x-4-1-6-upgrade-plan.html#post10021

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by:mojopojo
ID: 24270541
garycutri - First of all, your step-by-step on the BES install over Exch2007 is wonderfull and is going to seal the deal on this build and configuration.

I have a question though. What host server are you running (Server 2008 Standard/Premium or SBS 2008) and whas OS did you virtualize to run the BES on top of (Server 2003)?

My complexity issue is with Hyper-V on SBS 2008 since that's where Exchg 2007 will reside. Could you give me a general idea of the topography of your domains running the Hyper-V BES? It would help me concepualize and plan this build.

My thoughs were that if I go with VMWare I could just run a virtual Server 2003/BES in a dedicated partition on the SBS 2008 server. BUT if I use Hyper-V I would have to virtualize both the SBS 2008 DC & a seperate Server 2003/BES VM with the limitations of Hyper-V then cast on the SBS 2008 VM. Having those limitations on the SBS 2008 machine is what I am trying to avoid. THat and the added/usless complexity.

Thoughts?
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Gary Cutri earned 2000 total points
ID: 24271171
I wouldn't put Hyper-V on a SBS 2008 if you can avoid it as anything that runs that many combined service needs all the RAM/resources it can get.  All the sites I look after have setup dedicated Hyper-V servers running on top of Server 2008 x64.  If I was in your situation I would just backup the BlackBerry database and once everything is migrated from SBS03 to SBS08 I would format the old SBS03 box.  Then just install Server 2003 Standard on the old SBS box and restore the database and install BES.
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by:mojopojo
ID: 24271328
I think, in the end that is what I may do - use the decomissioned SBS 2003 box for BES.

Understaning that my decision in using Hyper-V or VM Ware ESXI as full Hypervisors agains VM Ware Server as a hosted virtualization solution, my main worry with SBS 2008 is overhead and preformance.

Given that server I've been offered is a monster for the size of the domain (10 users/ 2x Quad core 2.6Ghz procs and a 16GB of RAM) I don't think I would bottom out with the VM Server hosted solution. But it is SBS running Exchange/SharePoint and Remote Work Place/OWA, plus AD and SQL.

The full Hypervisor solutions ( Hyper-V & ESXi ) are overkill for what I am doing and needlesly complicated.

But after this run, and the research that went into it, I plan on doing  a lot more work virtualizing some of my environments.

Thanks everyone.
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Author Comment

by:mojopojo
ID: 24874924
For the record, we were able to run a VMWare Server 2003 Standard with BES on the SBS 2008 server. I've had more issues with the Exchange 2007 instalation that I have the VMWare. We added some more RAM and the domain is small but it consolidated resources and has worked out well. If anyone is interested I will keep them up to date.

-MP
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