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Exchange 2010 virtual design question

According to MS and other articles that I have read they recommend that you have 2 VM's if you are going to Virtualize Exchange.  One server for the Mailbox role and one for the CAS and Hub Transport server.  We are a small shop with 20 users.  We can split the setup if need be but I am wondering if it is nessacary with so few users.  We have a Dell R710 with Dual Procs and 36gb of Ram running 2008 R2 Core so it is plenty powerfull enough.  Any thoughts??
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hamel01
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hamel01
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2 Solutions
 
Andy KeeneyCommented:
you can get by with only one VM, but more importantly you need to watch the I/O coming out of your SAN.  Exchange log files (like all email log files) have a tendency to constantly read and write ramping up the need for a physical drive
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Andy KeeneyCommented:
sorry the I/O coming out of your exchange server and hitting your SAN disks.  this can cause serious degredation of speed and reliability from your VM environment.  it is recommended a physical disk, or at least a partition linked to a physical disk to offset this issue.
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hamel01Author Commented:
We do not have a SAN so all Disks are internal to the Host box so that should not bee too big of an issue.
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Andy KeeneyCommented:
a small company should not have any problem running only one VM for exchange.  im talking less than 50 users and the Exchange server takes priorities over any other VM on the physical host.
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kevinhsiehCommented:
I would use a single VM for Exchange. As for disks I recommend RAID 10 using 4 SAS drives. You can go to 6 drives if you need the capacity. Do a single array and then use 60 GB partition for the host OS and put all of the VHD files for the VMs on the second partition. Don't partition VHD drives for your VMs. Use multiple VHDs instead.
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hamel01Author Commented:
Does it make sense to use seperate VHD's for log files and other things or do we just do one VHD for the entire exchange box?  Otherwise our setup is exactly as stated above.
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Andy KeeneyCommented:
no because your I/O is still hitting the same raid configuration. so it would be a waste of time.  
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kevinhsiehCommented:
Separating the logs and databases won't make much of a difference from a performance perspective because you will be hitting the same physical disks either way. That said, I like to separate databases from log files for management reasons. Disk performance shouldn't be a problem for Exchange 2010 according to the Exchange Team blog. They claim that SATA JBOD is sufficient because of the reduction in required IOPS.
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