Hardware load balancing vs. software for Exchange

Does it make sense to create a hardware load balancing for Exchange CAS/HUB servers?  Hardware solutions like Barracuda?  I heard MS recommends a hardware solutions vs.  software.  

Please advice.
Thanks
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Tiras25Asked:
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AustinComputerLabsCommented:
From: http://itproafrica.com/technology/exchange/load-balancing-exchange-2010-how-to-find-a-supportedcertified-load-balancer/

This page lists 8 hardware and 4 software manufactures at the time of writing, including favourites such as Kemp, Barracuda, F5 and more. Most of them list the deployment guide on the same page, and after having had some recent pain, I can assure you that simpler and cheaper can often save you over that rare feature required for a corner case deployment. I can confidently saw that with the number of manufacturers listed, that one or more of them will have representation, no matter where you may live, at a fairly decent cost too.

Before you think that this lists only hardware load balancers scroll down, Kemp, F5, Citrix and A10 all offer software equivalents of their load balancing solution, some of which run both on Hyper-V, VMware and others.
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Tiras25Author Commented:
So looking into all these seems that hardware slutions are better than software.  What do you think?
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kevinhsiehCommented:
I read the article talking about Kemp for a HW load balancer and it seemed to me that a load balancer is only needed if you plan on running the CAS and mailbox roles on the same servers, and that the mailbox role is clustered. I virtualize everything and I have Windows Datacenter licenses, so it seems that in my case that it's cheaper to pay Microsoft for the Exchange Server licenses for separate CAS servers and use NLB vs. a 3rd party load balancer. Does anyone see why this wouldn't work for Tiras25?
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AkhaterCommented:
A hardware/dedicated solution is always "better" not only for load balancing but also for RAID/IPSec/SSL/ etc...

the question is always do you need to "extra benefits/performance" vs the extra money ?

This is what you should really be thinking of.

for most organizations Software Load balancing will fulfill all the needs and I am not just talking about small organization, the main advantage in Exchange 2010 to go for a hardware load balancer is that you can then have your DAG and CAS on the same servers so let me give you the scenarios

if you want a fully redundant system

A. With software load balancing you will need: 2 Exchange Mailbox 2 Exchange CAS/HUB so a total of 4 windows and 4 exchange servers and 4 servers (terms of hardware cost and licenses)

B. With a hardware load balacning you will need: 2 Exchange Servers and 2 windows and 1 Hardware load balancing


Chances are that solution A will still be cheaper than B in the above case however when you invest in a hardware load balancer you can use it for other services as well.

Still most my customer prefer to go for A
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AustinComputerLabsCommented:
Yes, I agree with you (hardware solutions are better than software) and with Akhater.
If you need load balancing hardware is better but as Akhater mentions is the benefit in your enviroment worth the cost?
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