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Exchange 2010 install ESXi 4 U2

cbsykes used Ask the Experts™
I am planning for a transition of Exchange 2003 on a physical box to Exchange 2010 on vSphere.  I have about 35 mailboxes and will not have more than that for a while.  What is a recommended approach as far as role installs are concerned?  I have two Dell hosts configured with dual quads and 32GB of RAM and a MD3000i iscsi SAN.  Should I perform a typical install and place all roles on one VM(Windows Server 2008 r2) with 4 vCPUs and 8GB of RAM or split the roles onto two VMs?  Also, should I create a separate data store on the SAN with RAID 10 for best performance or will RAID 5 suffice?    Anyone have a setup like this for small business?  Any advice is appreciated!  
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Top Expert 2010
You have such a small org, having 1 VM for all roles is fine; you obviously can't run Edge on the same VM if you use that role (we actually don't, but use ISA2K6 in our DMZ). I also recommend not using more than 2 vCPUs as allocating more than what is needed can degregate VM performance. Your RAM allocation should be fine. RAID10 will give you best performance, but in my opinion...again...with the size org you have...it's just not needed. I have 2K7, 250users, and run on RAID5 with absolutely no performance issues at all.

Paul SolovyovskySenior IT Advisor
Top Expert 2008

I would recommend that you also license ESXi with vSphere Essentails and standup vCenter on XP system or a spare physical or virtual machine.  

The cost is $500 for 3 ESX/ESXi licenses and vCenter.  It will provide proactive reporting on your vmware environment that you don't get with ESXi standalone or free.  In addition it will allow you Update the ESX/ESXi host via update manager.


Thanks coolsport....
Top Expert 2010

Glad to help :)