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Virtualizing Exchange 2010\Hyper-V

Posted on 2011-09-13
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Need some Advice.
I have a new 12 core 24 gig  ram 1TB local HD server that I have installed Windows 2008 Enterprise R2  and enabled Hyper-V.   I have seen the best parctices for virtualizing Exchange.  I dont understand what is meant by this statement that Microsoft suggests      "Storage used by Exchange should be hosted in disk spindles that are separate from the storage that hosts the guest virtual machine's operating system"  How can I do what MS are suggusting in Hyper V.   Is this something that has to be done during the the install.  
I current have installed the main Exchange that I am planning on Mailbox and CAS rolls on.  The guest OS is installed on the IDE drive and the storage on a Virtual Scsi disk VHD.  This is in Hyper-V manager.
So on the root server which is raid 5 I have a G partion that has TB HD.  I have create a Exchange folder  and in there is the Exchange Guest OS VHD and the Exchange Strorage VHD.

Here are the steps that I am working on in my planning for Exchange 2010 deployment.
We are a small organization with 150 users 1 domain.

I was planning on installing the CAS and Mailbox rolls on one VM and Hub transport server roll on another VM.

Please advice to if I am even in the ballpark with my implementation of Hyper V and Exchange Virtualization



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Question by:jared_goff
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12 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:Acosta Technology Services
ID: 36531324
Microsoft is recommending you have a seperate RAID array for the Exchange data.  If the OS is on the C: drive, and Exchange is installed on D (or D & E, etc); it's recommended to have at least 2 raid arrays.  Using Hyper-V, this would mean creating VHD's for the OS and the Exchange data drives, and then seperating them on 2 physical RAID arrays on your server.  It sounds like you currently only have 1 array on physical server.  If possible, I would recommend creating a new array with 10K (speed) drives at a minimum for the Exchange data.
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Author Comment

by:jared_goff
ID: 36531370
Is this something that I have to reinstall to do?  
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Expert Comment

by:Acosta Technology Services
ID: 36531379
No, the Exchange IS and logs can be moved in the Exchange Management Console.  Do you have the ability to add another RAID array to the physical server?
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Author Comment

by:jared_goff
ID: 36531402
I have one PERC s300 controller for 4 hard drives and that is already running a raid 5.
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Author Comment

by:jared_goff
ID: 36531411
I havent install any Exchange roles yet I am just working on gettting the VM's configured first.
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Expert Comment

by:Acosta Technology Services
ID: 36531417
With only 4 available drives, your only option (if you choose to seperate the arrays) is the create 2 X Raid 1 arrays.  This would require a reinstall of both your host and all VM's.
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Author Comment

by:jared_goff
ID: 36531564
I have a identical server to the one that I mentioned above.  If installed the Mailbox roll onto a VM on a seperate root server would the work?
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Expert Comment

by:giladhecht
ID: 36535175
Did you consider adding an external storage? something like iomega 4TB storage with dual-Gigabit lan and ISCSI,then connecting LUNs to the main server? it will solve all your problems.
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Expert Comment

by:kevinhsieh
ID: 36536451
What kind of drives do you have on the host? I don't think that the reasoning for the best practice applies as much for a smaller organization of your size. The VHD holding the OS of your VM won't generate many IOPS once the VM has booted, and if you removed disks from the databases so you could have them for the OS you would actually hurt performance.

Exchange 2010 has significantly reduced IOPS requirements, so you should be fine running the 2 VMs and the host on a 4 drive RAID 5, even on SATA.

Are you planning on running anything else on the host? I ask because you will have a lot of idle CPU cores. Your mailbox server should get AT MOST 2 vCPU, hub transport VM 1 vCPU, which leaves 9+ cores left for your host. I say this from experience running a CAS VM, hub transport/mailbox VM, and Blackberry VM on a single quad core for 700 users that was using less than 10% CPU. If it was easy to do I would suggest removing a CPU, because you second CPU is just going to cost you hundreds of dollars in power and cooling over the years.
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Author Comment

by:jared_goff
ID: 36536500
I have, that is not in the budget this year.
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Author Comment

by:jared_goff
ID: 36537297
Kevinhsieh
I actually have 3 600GB 15K SA SCSI 6Gbps cabled HDs.  I was thinking that I might be able to get a application server VM on there as well. Maybe even doing some virtual desktop for some of my users at some point.

So you think that I would be good moving forward with getting exchange installed on the single array?


Right now I just need to install CAS, Hub, and Mailbox ser rolls.  I dont need the Edge or the Unified Messenging roll.
Thanks Jared

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Accepted Solution

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kevinhsieh earned 250 total points
ID: 36539428
You should have IOPS with a 3 drive 15K SAS RAID 5 for the Exchange workloads.
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