Exchange 2010 Lab

I need to setup a lab for exchange 2010,
CAS,Hub,Mailbox, Edge server.
Can someone tell me how many computers (physical and/or virtual) do I need to simulate a real environment?

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That depends on what you want to test.

You can combine CAS, Hub and mailbox onto a single server. This can also be a domain controller, not recommended but OK for test setups. Note that you cannot implement clustering etc if you only use one server - for that you need separate servers.

The Edge role needs to be set up on a separate server.

You probably also require a client (XP, Vista or 7) with Outlook/IE/OutlookExpress although this can also be installed locally.

Conclusion: at least two (one with everything except Edge, one with Edge). If you wish to go a bit more extreme, you'll need 10: 2 MBX, 2 HUB, 2 CAS, 2 Edge, 1 DC, 1 client.

All of these can either be physical or virtual. I use a single PC with 6GB RAM and VMware Server, and that's enough for most scenario's.

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I would recommend at least 2 servers, virtual or physical, that can hold the Mailbox role.  That way you can take advantage of and see in action the Database Availability Group feature.  It makes life a little more worry-free to know that such a feature is available and working correctly.

Just my $.02 worth.

Have fun.  Exchange 2010 is nice to work with and seems to be pretty solid in my experience.

jskfanAuthor Commented:
I know that the outstanding feature of EXCH2010 is DAG. How many servers (physical or/and virtual) do I need to experiment the DAG in the LAB.?
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2 servers for DAG, then you put CAS and HUB on the same one, and take a 4th server for Active Directory, Outlook, IE8, and Outlook Express. All of them can be physical or virtual.

Depending on the tool you use there are docs on how to set up clusters within VMs, this saves you some hardware costs.
jskfanAuthor Commented:
If I create 2 virtual w2008 servers, one will have EXHC2010 Mailbox, CAS,HUB Roles and the other one will have Active Directory, EXCH2010 Mailbox Role.
I will also create one windows 2008 virtual for EDGE transport role.
My physical computer will have Outlook.
would that be enough ???
If I need to install email scanning and filtering , would that be in the EDGE server?
I also would like to know the difference between SMTP gateway and EDGE server role?

If you wish to test DAG, you can only install the mailbox role on a server and not combine it with CAS or Hub. You can combine it with AD as long as it's a lab.
So you'll need 2 VMs with the mailbox role (one of which runs AD), 1 VM with Hub and CAS, 1 VM with Edge, and your physical host with Outlook (although you can also add Outlook to one or more of the VMs).

Email scanning and filtering is indeed done on the Edge server. Limited functionality is also provided by the Hub for companies that don't deploy an Edge.

Edge is used for filtering, security, compliancy etc primarily for incoming mail, while a gateway is used for outgoing mail. It's not one of the installable roles but more like a general name. Compare it with a LAN gateway which is in fact a router, to allow IP traffic to reach another subnet (on the LAN, the WAN, or the Internet).
jskfanAuthor Commented:
thanks guys
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