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Exchange 2010 Virtual or Hardware?

quickslvr
quickslvr asked
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we are migrating from exchange 2003 to 2010 SP1.

I am wondering what is the "better" idea: to virtualize all roles or to mix it up,expecially the mailbox server role. We have about 100 users.
My idea is to have the CAS/HT virtualized and the MB server (which will be a 2 Server DAG)

Any suggestion,thoughts and best practices? Useful info is appreciated
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Rajith EnchiparambilOffice 365 & Exchange Architect

Commented:
For 100 users, you can just have 2 servers with all 3 roles and have a hardware loadbalancer.

HLB are cheap, check Kemp Technologies LoadMaster. They are like £1000.

Author

Commented:
we are slowly expanding,which means we will have maybe 20-30 more users by the end of next year.

i prefer to have CAS/HT virtualized.

can you provide me with more info regarding the NLB?
BusbarSolutions Architect

Commented:
even if you got to 1000, you can still have it virtual I have customers who virtualized their Exchange with even 10000 users.

for the HW load balancer you can go with Kemp it is the best HW for Exchange with the best price
Rajith EnchiparambilOffice 365 & Exchange Architect

Commented:
As mentioned previously, having all three roles in two servers (virtual or physical) with a kemp load balancer will be ideal for the user base you have.
kevinhsiehNetwork Engineer
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
I have virtualized Exchange since we went to Exchange 2003 running on Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 many years ago. Over 600 users, and over 300 BlackBerry users now. I would certainly recommend virtualizing. Kemp also has a software appliance version of their load balancer, for those of us who hate to rack and power another piece of equipment.  

Author

Commented:
thanks for the interesting inputs.

wouldnt the windows server 2088 R2 load balancer be enough? does VM support this?
Network Engineer
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Commented:

Exchange Team no longer recommend Windows NLB for Client Access Server Load Balancing

http://www.stevieg.org/2010/11/exchange-team-no-longer-recommend-windows-nlb-for-client-access-server-load-balancing/

You also can't use NLB with failover cluster, to the mailbox role would need to be separate fro the CAS/HUB roles.
BusbarSolutions Architect

Commented:
regardless that the recommendations is big implementation, for only 2 nodes you cannot use WNLB because you cannot install it on the clustering services.

Author

Commented:
so,whats the quintessence of all this then?

I understand that for 50 users +/-  all server roles can be placed within one server or is a 2 server DAG a better solution?

Our exchange will be accessed from "outside" a lot by our sales and tech people,so it must be available at any time.

Author

Commented:
so, all in one server or a 2 server DAG?
BusbarSolutions Architect

Commented:
2 servers are needed for DAG and will provide HA, 1 server is fine but the HA part is yours and it is up to you to figure out if HA is needed or not

Author

Commented:
im very much interested in Kemp software appliance version of their load balancer.

could someone place some URL here pls?
kevinhsiehNetwork Engineer
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Commented:
(Simple Google search...)

http://www.kemptechnologies.com/us/server-load-balancing-appliances/virtual-loadbalancer/vlm-overview.html

The 'virtual appliance' (software) version of the award-winning LoadMaster family of advanced server load balancing and application delivery optimization appliances.
 
Virtual LoadMaster installs and runs as a hardened, 'Guest' operating OS/Application on a dedicated virtual machine. It provides the same features of the LoadMaster appliance including L4 load balancing, L7 content switching, SSL Offload, Server and Application Health Checking, IP and L7 Persistence, Caching, Compression, IPS and much more. It also supports stateful Active/Hot-standby configuration between two VLMs for redundancy and high-availability. All controlled by the same intuitive, easy-to-use Web User Interface as the hardware-appliance version of the LoadMaster.

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